Canberra Worker’s Compensation Lawyers and Solicitors
Worker’s Compensation Claim. What are you going to get?
First of all, make no mistake, it’s all about the money. We don’t mean to sound like greedy lawyers when we say that. If your body’s been injured, we can’t give the injured parts back. We can’t give parts of your life back. We can’t make you better. All we can do is get you money.
That money can pay for treatment. It can pay for rehabilitation. It can give you some financial security. It can buy you a house. It can make your life easier and better. But it is all about the money, that’s all we can get.
When it comes to the money, we call it “damages” or in other cases “compensation”.
When lawyers talk to you about how much you’re going to get, it’s made up of several different parts. We’ll try to give you a rundown of the most common parts, components, or what we call “heads of damages”. They are pretty much as follows:
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“The Workers Compensation Act 1951 (the Act) aims to provide timely, safe and durable return to work through effective injury management and income support to injured workers.”
Access Canberra is the government agency responsible for administering and regulating worker’s compensation legislation in the ACT. Learn more about Access Canberra’s role here
Non-economic Loss, General Damages, Pain and Suffering.
This is a part of the damages that is meant to compensate you for the damages for the pain and suffering and inconvenience that you have been through. In modern days it’s called “non-economic loss”.
The reason we call it “non-economic loss” is that it’s not capable of being mathematically calculated or attributed to some specific loss of money that has been incurred as the result of, for example, loss of wages, medical expenses, or other expenses that you may incur. You can imagine because of the very imprecise nature of those damages that it is very hard to work out.
Often we get people talking about the pain they’re in and saying they want $1 million or some huge sum for it. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way and it does vary from State to State and case to case as to how much you can get.
For example, generally if you get non-economic loss in New South Wales (there’s a lot of rules and regulations and restrictions about whether you can get that in New South Wales), you get a higher payment than what you’d get for example in the ACT. In another State again, in Queensland, it’s even lower. It varies depending upon the nature of your injuries. A person for example who has had a back operation is going to get significantly more than somebody who’s got a more minor neck injury.
We’ve had a huge amount of experience in looking at different cases and are armed with knowledge of what similar cases or similar injuries on people of different ages and the effects they’ve had convert to the amount of money that the Courts have given in those types of cases in the past.
The money you get for non-economic loss is only one component or part of your claim and often not the biggest component. If you read more about the other parts of the claim below, you’ll see how it all fits together.
Economic Loss, Loss of Earning Capacity
The first thing to know about this part or component of your claim is it is not a claim for wage loss. Often lawyers make the mistake of trying to look purely to see whether or not there is any claim for wage loss. The claim is actually one for loss of earning capacity. That is very much different from whether or not you’ve just suffered a wage loss. Whilst it is true that many people suffer a loss that can be measured by the amount of wages they’ve lost, there are many other types of loss of earning capacity.
Sometimes people are going to have to retire early and the doctors are fairly clear about that. At other times, the type of work that people can engage in or the number of hours that they can get engaged for are reduced and as a result there’s a loss of earning capacity.
Take for example a heavy labourer. He might be able to go and get a job (insurance companies are very good at using their imagination at the range of unrealistic jobs that such a person can do) but realistically a person might be able to get a job working in a service station or a call centre or some other lower paying job.
This can result in a direct comparison between his former wage and the wage that he’d earn in such a lower paying or part time job.
Other people might be injured but be able to return to work. The nature of their injuries however might recur or flare up and result in them losing work from time to time. Yet others still might find that they’re going to be out of work from time to time because they lose their job simply because they can’t tum up to work.
Our skill is to try and present a.s best we can how your injuries are going to impact upon your earning capacity. This is one of the biggest components of any claim. It’s broken up into the past loss of earning capacity and the future loss of earning capacity.
Given that in most cases the loss of earning capacity will run to age 67, then for anybody who is either young or middle aged, the loss of earning capacity will accumulate over a number of years and result in a very large figure.
You can take it we spend a huge amount of time trying to work out how your injuries can affect you and how we can best argue if there is a loss of earning capacity, how it’s going to affect you, to try and get you the best result possible. Indeed, we’ve got a number of experts to help in that regard. We ask very specific questions of doctors and have a range of professionals that can assist us in trying to work it out.
No stone will be left unturned when we come to consider your loss of earning capacity claim.