Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents can be serious and leave people with a permanent impairment after encountering workplace injuries.

An important question you need to ask yourself is: “Was someone to blame for the workplace accident?”-  if the answer is “yes” then the workplace accident could have been prevented. If the workplace accident was preventable, an employer, employee (or other party i.e. another business) may have been negligent and you may be entitled to a make a negligence claim or common law claim but this will depend on where your injury happened (i.e. which State or Territory).

Even if you feel you were partly to blame for the workplace accident you may still have rights under common law and may be entitled to a common law claim which is another type of injury compensation claim this is known as contributory negligence.

Your rights to a common law claim will very much depend on where the workplace accident happened and all States and Territories have different laws relating to common law claims and there may be thresholds in place.

The law of negligence comes into play when someone else is to blame for the workplace accident, or even if steps were not taken to ensure a high standard of care this may still be considered negligence.

Here is one example: A pizza shop is robbed and an employee suffers workplace injuries resulting in a permanent injury. The workplace injuries sustained means he cannot return to work and cannot work again. The pizza shop had been robbed before and since then nothing had been done to improve the level of security to protect the workers. If security had been improved the workplace injuries may have been prevented and this is considered negligence. He may be awarded for past and future loss economic losses i.e. loss of earnings and expenses relating to his injury for the rest of his life, if he is young this could amount to a sufficient payout to help him financially through the years that follow.

If you have a work cover claim and your injury is permanent you may be offered a lump sum payment. Never sign or accept an offer of a lump sum payment until you have called the Australian Injury Helpline, an independent organisation who will provide you with the facts and offer a second opinion. If you sign without speaking to a helpline or law firm you may be signing away your future rights to a common law claim and this could potentially be hundreds and thousands of dollars to assist you in years to come.

A work compensationclaim (i.e. through work cover) will reimburse you for past losses and expenses and does not take into account any future losses. If your injury is severe you may require ongoing care and attention and your future losses may be substantial. A common law claim does consider future losses and this is why it is usually a much larger payout and will help you more.

If you are injured as a result of another company’s negligence you can claim under common law and this would be a public liability claim for a slip, trip or a fall.

Some States or Territories have different thresholds for common law claims and so the amounts awarded will vary. In one particular State negligence claims against employers are not allowed, but if injured whilst working by an employee of another company or another companys’ negligence can claim under common law. For more information call 1300 430 834.


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