If you have been injured at work you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits and further may be entitled to common law damages if the injury resulted from your employers or a co-worker’s negligence.
A work place injury will be covered by a statutory payment which will ensure you receive income whilst you are unable to work. Further if you are permanently impaired you will receive a lump sum payment. This will be paid to you whether there is fault or not on the employer’s part. Further you will likely be covered even if travelling to or from your place of work, when the injury occurs.
If there is fault involved on the employer’s or co-worker’s part, then you may be entitled to additional common law damages. With serious injuries you may be able to recover a lump sum for a permanent impairment under the statutory claim and then further claim common law damages. With less serious injuries however it will be necessary for you to make an election on whether you wish to take a statutory lump sum payment or issue a common law damages claim. Southside Legal can advise you fully in relation to your option and what would be the most sensible course of action to adopt. You should obtain legal advice before signing any documentation from the employer’s insurer. Otherwise you could possibly lose your right to claim common law damages. Southside Legal will guide you through the legal process and carefully explain the options available to you.
Damages in common law claims can be recovered for a range of items including general damages (pain and suffering), out-of-pocket expenses, economic loss both past and future, rehabilitation expenses, gratuitous services provided to you in certain circumstances and for various other items depending on the circumstances.
If you do decide to take action for damages you should note that all employers are required by law to have Workers Compensation Insurance. The effect of this is that if damages have to be paid it is the insurance company who pays the compensation to the employee. Further, if you do pursue a claim your employer is not entitled to treat you any differently and they could not discriminate against you at your work place.
On some occasions the employer’s insurer may dispute that your injury relates to your work place activities and in these circumstances it may be necessary to appeal to the Workers Compensation Regulator. Southside Legal can advise you of all your rights in this regard.
Claims for compensation for a work place injury can be complex and again you should contact Southside Legal as soon as possible as there are strict time limits for making a claim.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does a claim take very long?
In some instances, insurance companies will accept that their customer is at fault and will wish to settle the claim made as soon as possible. In those instances, claims can sometimes be finalised within a few months. However, if the defendant insurer wishes to defend the proceedings, the matter can take longer to finalise. We utilise mediation procedures as soon as possible in an effort to resolve matters as quickly as we can. However, if no agreement is reached and it is necessary to go to court, some cases can take a few years.
How can I afford to pay solicitors’ fees?
If we believe your prospects of success are good, there is a high probability we will agree to act on the basis that our professional costs are not paid until the successful conclusion of your matter. If in your first consultation we advise you that your prospects of success are not good and you did not want to proceed with the matter, we will not charge you for our time.
Will I win?
In most cases we can give you an answer on your prospects of success almost immediately. There are however some matters that are more complicated and further investigations are required.
How much can I recover?
Once we advise you that you have a good claim, you will need to wait for your injuries to stabilise before a proper assessment of likely damages you can recover can be made. The same injury to people in different occupations can result in a different outcome in damages. A broken leg may have a long term impact on a person involved in heavy physical work (ie prevent them from working in their trade) and a much less impact on a person involved in a sedentary job. Each matter needs to be individually considered.