Worker's compensation-What you really need to know

Workers Compensation -What you really need to know

There are different Workers’ Compensation Acts depending upon whether or not you are employed in the ACT private industry or by the ACT Government or Commonwealth Government. There are yet again different rights for workers in the private industry in New South Wales or the New South Wales Government. They vary significantly. You really would need to visit us so that we can work out who you work for to give you more detailed advice.

Workers’ compensation and work accidents – a general spiel

Probably one of the first things you need to know is somebody who’s actually been a worker. It might sound a bit funny. You’ve come for legal advice and you’ve been told that you need to know somebody who’s been a worker.

Most lawyers can give you advice about how to make a claim and the ins and outs of the claim process, but in order to make a successful workers’ comp claim, we’ve found so often it is really important to have an understanding of what happens on the work site. You see a lot of lawyers come from a background where they’ve never been real workers. Why is that important? Let us tell you.

Real knowledge of how things can go wrong and how people can be injured

Real knowledge of how things can go wrong and how people can be injured on work sites is often gained from actually having worked on different work sites. People that have worked in a large range of industries have a better understanding of how an accident can happen and hence how a successful claim can be made out. People who have not worked on a number of work sites often do not have down to earth knowledge of what actually goes on in the workplace.

It sounds simple in a way but you would be surprised how often lawyers simply miss out on very important matters that can make the difference between a claim succeeding and failing.

The two principals at United Legal, Pete and Rob, worked in a huge range of jobs while putting themselves through university.

Workplaces and jobs included:

  • builders’ labourers;
  • plumbers’ labourers;
  • truck driving;
  • packing groceries in supermarkets;
  • working as store men;
  • painting;
  • bars;
  • retail industry;
  • offices (no surprise there I suppose);
  • working on farms;
  • machinery;
  • working for the government;
  • Post Office;
  • working on fishing boats;
  • building fences;
  • heavy labouring work;
  • bricklaying work;
  • carpentry work;
  • office fit out work.

United Legal have taken on many workers compensation cases that other lawyers have said simply couldn’t be won. They won those cases they’d taken over. The reason for that was they were well grounded in their understanding of what happens in the workplace and were able to work out a strategy and formulate a claim.

Workers’ Compensation Rights

Workers Compensation Lawyers Canberra

There are different Workers’ Compensation Acts depending upon whether or not you are employed in the ACT private industry or by the ACT Government or Commonwealth Government. There are yet again different rights for workers in the private industry in New South Wales or the New South Wales Government. They vary significantly. You really would need to visit us so that we can work out who you work for to give you more detailed advice.

It is simplest form, workers’ compensation allows you to be paid for your time off work. The rates vary depending upon which category you fall in as set out above. You are also entitled to get your medical expenses paid. In addition, there are different smaller lump sum payments if you’ve suffered a permanent disability.

Common Law Rights

Common law rights are different to workers’ compensation rights. Most people just bandy around the terms “WorkCover” and “workers’ compensation”. We’ve told you above what your workers’ compensation rights are. Common law claims however are the claims where people receive many tens of thousands and often hundreds of thousands and at times millions of dollars, depending upon the severity of their injuries.

Making a Common Law Claim

In order to make a common law claim you need to prove that there was negligence on behalf of your employer. This is where United Legal’s knowledge really comes into play. Formulating a common law claim is much more effective if you’ve actually worked in the workforce and understand how things can go wrong.

The laws in relation to negligence were first established in England. Funnily enough the most important decision given by a judge was in fact given by an Australian judge, Lord Aitken. He was sitting as a judge in the House of Lords in England. There’s one for the Poms!

The case funnily enough involved a snail in a bottle of ginger beer. Mrs Donoghue had visited a café with a friend. The friend bought her a bottle of ginger beer. It had a snail in it. Not surprisingly, after she drank the bottle of ginger beer, she became ill. She wanted to sue the owner of the café. Traditionally she would only be able to sue in contract (another little surprise here, most contracts are in fact verbal). She had not however bought the bottle of ginger beer. She had to find another way to sue.

It was out of this case that the law of negligence evolved. In its simplest form, the Court held (the major judgment from Lord Aitken) that:

…a manufacturer of products, which he sells in such a form as to show that he intends them to reach the ultimate consumer in the form in which they left him with no reasonable possibility of intermediate examination, and with the knowledge that the absence of reasonable care in the preparation or putting up of the products will result in an injury to the consumer’s life or property, owes a duty to the consumer to take that reasonable care.

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562

          

Common Law Claims in the 21st Century

Since that finding, the whole law of negligence has evolved. It has been the basis for workers suing employers, people injured in motor vehicle accidents suing other negligent drivers, patients suing doctors, various other people suing professionals.

Again, your rights for suing for common law negligence vary depending upon who you are employed by and what State you are employed in. We have significant expertise in this area. Accordingly, we would need to sit down and talk to you more about your case.

If you would like us to provide you with a list of clients that you can go and speak to, we would be happy to oblige. Many of our clients have received million dollar and multi‑million dollar wins.

Above all, we pride ourselves on not taking on too many cases. Subsequently, we can really work hard on individual workers’ compensation and workplace accident cases and get better results.

For our legal support services Contact us at (02) 6295 2283


or visit us at

54-56 Townsville St, Fyshwick ACT 2609

Write a Reply or Comment