If you have been injured in a work accident or an accident on your way to or from work or during a work break, you may be entitled to compensation or common law damages, or both.
We have won compensation for injured workers from many different industries for a wide range of work-related injuries. Some of the types of injuries we have helped secure compensation for clients include:
- Neck and back injuries;
- Whiplash injuries;
- Shoulder injuries;
- Upper and lower limb injuries;
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome;
- Electric shock injuries;
- Head injuries;
- Neurological injuries;
- Burn injuries;
- Soft tissue, strain and sprain injuries;
- Repetitive strain injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Hernia injury;
- Chemical and asbestos exposure;
- Industrial Deafness;
- Foreign body injuries;
- Eye injuries;
- Amputation injuries;
- Crush injuries;
- Psychiatric and psychological injuries;
- Dependancy claims in cases of fatal accidents.
Workplace injuries are not limited to just physical injuries
A work injury does not just mean suffering physical harm in the workplace. For example, a work injury can be stress-related whereby you are suffering symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleeplessness.
People sometimes think that because they have suffered what they consider to be a simple or minor injury, such as a whiplash or jarring injury which seems to improve in the weeks or months after the accident, that it is not worthwhile making a claim or there is no need to claim. Unfortunately, what often appears to be a simple whiplash injury or strain can end up being quite debilitating.
For instance, whiplash injuries to the cervical spine (neck) can result in recurrent headaches or migraines, recurrent muscle spasm and ongoing pain and restriction in the neck, upper back, shoulders and arms. Similarly, a whiplash or jarring injury to the back can result in long-term lower back issues, with problems sitting, standing or walking for extended periods and ongoing back pain and stiffness. What is thought at first to be a minor shoulder injury can result in the need for surgery, or frozen shoulder syndrome. Sometimes, the extent of the injury is not seen until many months or even years after the accident and can deteriorate over time. This can be very debilitating on everyday functioning and employment.
It is therefore important that you take steps to protect yourself if you have suffered any work accident injury, even if you consider it to be a simple or minor injury, as this may not be the case in the future. Plus, remember, time limits apply to your claim.
What sort of compensation are you entitled to?
If you have sustained a workplace injury you may be entitled to the following payments, irrespective of fault or responsibility:-
- Workers' Compensation Benefits (also known as Workcover Benefits or Statutory Benefits) including:
- Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses;
- Wage Benefits.
- Lump Sum Compensation;
- Common law damages for:
- Pain & Suffering
- Loss of past and future income
- Past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Paid care and assistance
- Loss of past and future superannuation benefits
You should also be aware that:
- If you have sustained an injury whilst travelling to or from your workplace then you may have rights to claim Workers' Compensation as well as other rights to compensation at law, ie. in negligence, trespass, motor vehicle accident claims, public liability claims etc.
- Even though you may be termed an independent contractor, contractor or sub-contractor by the party engaging your services when your work injury occurred, it may very well be the case that you have the right to claim Workers' Compensation Lump Sum Compensation or Common Law damages, or both, as a "worker" under workers' compensation legislation. See our article on who is considered a "worker" in Queensland workers' compensation claims, pursuant to recent legislative amendments: Worker v Independent Contractor
How much will you receive for your Common Law Claim?
Injuries affect everyone in different ways. A minor injury to some, may impact on another person to a much greater extent. The purpose of a Common Law damages payment in a personal injury claim is to compensate an injured party for the loss and damage suffered as a consequence of the injury. The more the injury or injuries impact upon your pre-accident lifestyle and employment, the more compensation you will receive.
Because of the subjective nature of compensation payments for personal injury claims in Queensland, it is not possible to state a specific compensation amount for a certain injury. It will depend on what loss and damage you suffer because of that injury.
Some of the more dominant factors that impact upon damages or compensation payments are the extent of the injury or injuries sustained as well as age, occupation, recreational interests and health of the injured party at the time of the accident occurring.
To give you an idea of what types of damages or compensation payments are being made in Common Law Claims for work injury in Queensland, we have obtained the following data from QComp or Workers' Compensation Regulator ("the Regulator") as it is now called, the body that regulates work injury claims in Queensland:-
- There were 2986 new Common Law claims brought by injured workers in Qld in the 2015 financial year (01/07/14 to 30/06/2015);
- Average gross damages payment per claim was around $200,600;
- Where injury was rated at 0% impairment by Workcover - Common law payments averaged around $160,000 to $260,000 (based on a cross-section of claims in the 2013 financial year);
- Where injury was rated at 5% to 10% impairment by Workcover - Common law payments averaged around $213,000 to $468,000 (based on a cross-section of claims in the 2013 financial year);
- The average claim duration during the 2015 financial year was around 13 months.
Please note that these are average damages payments only and every case is different. For example, The Personal Injury Lawyers case summary database provides the case where a worker achieved $1.052 million damages for an injury assessed by Workcover at 0% impairment - Austin v Parmalat Austraila Ltd (2013)QSC 227.
Of course, in cases of very serious injury and catastrophic injuries such as brain injury, paraplegia or amputation for example, compensation will be much higher than the figures discussed above, most likely resulting in compensation payments involving multi-milliions of dollars.
(Work injury claim data for impairment assessments at 0% and 5 to 10% referred to above was taken from a cross-section of claims published in the Regulator's 2015 Annual Report).
Catastrophic work injuries - entitlement to lifetime care and support under the NIIS
The National Injury Insurance Scheme or NIIS, kicks off in Queensland as at 1 July 2016. The purpose of the scheme is to meet the medical and care needs of those who suffer catastrophic injuries in accidents, whether through a motor vehicle accident, work accident, medical malpractice or some other form of accident.
What are considered catastrophic injuries under the NIIS? Such injuries as severe burns, serious spinal cord injury (mainly involving paraplegia and quadraplegia cases), multiple amputations, permanent blindness, and traumatic brain injury.
The scheme applies to workers who suffer catastrophic injury regardless of fault or age. The entitlements under the scheme include:
- Medical expenses;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Ambulance transportation;
- Prosthetics, aids and appliances;
- Care, including respite, attendant and domestic;
- Education and vocational training;
- Home and vehicle modifications.
There are legal procedures you must follow to protect your claim
To pursue your work injury claim and to ensure it is protected, you must comply with the procedural provisions as stipulated in the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. The Personal Injury Lawyers specialise in work injury claims. We can guide you through the legal processes that you must comply with in order for you to protect and pursue any compensation entitlements you may have under such legislation and at Common Law.
Under workers' compensation legislation in Queensland, if you have had a Workers' Compensation claim , and you wish to proceed with a Common Law claim for damages for your injury, you need to be very careful what steps you take when your workers' compensation claim is coming to an end. In Queensland, the majority of injured workers are required to make an election at the end of their workers' compensation claim as to whether they wish to proceed with a Common Law claim for damages. If you take the wrong step responding to this question, you could lose all rights to proceed with a Common Law claim and miss out on significant compensation. You need to ensure that you contact The Personal Injury Lawyers for legal advice prior to taking any steps in relation to your work injury so this does not happen to you.
Work injuries between 15 Oct 2013 and 30 January 2015 are subject to a 6% impairment threshold
Also, for those workers who suffered their work injury between the period 15 October 2013 to 30 January 2015, their entitlement to Common Law damages is not automatic once their workers' compensation claim ends. To achieve entitlement to claim Common Law damages, they must achieve a degree of permanent impairment for their work injury of at least 6%. Unless they achieve this impairment assessment they will have no right to pursue a claim for Common Law damages. If a worker does not achieve a degree of permanent impairment of at least 6% for their work injuries, then there are appeal avenues for the worker to try to increase their impairment assessment to reach the 6% impairment required. However, strict time limits apply in respect to those appeal rights and so it is very important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible after any impairment assessment by the workers' compensation insurer, or when you are advised that your injury is being assessed for degree of permanent impairment. To learn more about the 6% threshold required in work injury claims occurring during the period 15 October 2013 to 30 January 2015, go to the following article on our website: The 6% threshold in Qld work injury claims .
The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and associated Regulations govern the awards of damages in relation to work injury claims in Queensland. Navigating the provisions of this legislation can be quite complex and it is therefore important that you obtain legal advice with respect to what compensation entitlements you may have under such legislation. The Personal Injury Lawyers will be able to provide you with this advice.
If you have suffered an injury in the course of your work, and you are looking for a personal injury lawyer to assist you with your claim, The Personal Injury Lawyers have a team of personal injury solicitors, headed up by Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury Law, who specialise in such claims, and who can assist you with your enquiries all on a NO WIN NO FEE* basis. We will provide you with a free appraisal of your claim in a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION* with one of our personal injury lawyers specialising in work injury claims and your enquiry is totally obligation free and completely confidential.
The Personal Injury Lawyers have their head offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and have locations throughout Queensland including, the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Gympie, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Mt Isa, Longreach, Emerald and Cairns. But don't worry if your injury or your lifestyle makes it difficult for you to come to us. We can come to you, or alternatively, you may prefer to communicate with us via telephone, email or skype. The Personal Injury Lawyers are set up to meet all your communication needs.
Strict time limits apply on all personal injury claims
Under the law that regulates work injury claims in Queensland, STRICT TIME LIMITS APPLY in relation to bringing your claim for Compensation and for pursuing Common Law damages. If you fail to comply with such time constraints, it may very well result in you not being able to proceed with your claim. You should contact The Personal Injury Lawyers to see what compensation rights you do have in relation to your injury and how to protect such rights without delay.
For FREE LEGAL ADVICE* concerning whether you have a claim to pursue, contact our personal injury solicitors at The Personal Injury Lawyers on 1300 782 202 (available outside normal business hours) or submit this Free Appraisal Form.
If you would simply like to know more about work injury claims, you can request one of our free Claim Information Packs which will provide you with more information about your claim and what steps you need to take to protect and pursue your claim, by submitting your Request for Claim Information Pack.
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