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Ask about our No Win No Fee OR Expenses fee policy
Injury can be an unfortunate part of our working lives. It can also have the most drastic consequences for your working life and as a result, on your personal life.
Our WorkCover lawyers are leaders within their fields and our WorkCover team is our largest department, boasting a proud track record of winning large compensation payouts for thousands of clients. Some of Victoria’s most important trade unions trust their member’s injury claims with us. That same level of case-toughened expertise is available to all our clients.
There are many obstacles that can stand between you and the WorkCover benefits you are entitled to. Just understanding how best to fill in an injury report can have far reaching consequences should your injury turn out to have complications in the longer run.
It is also sensible to recognise that the Victorian WorkCover Authority is not in the business of fighting for your rights to proper benefits. It is a government run insurance agency that has a vested interested in protecting the premiums it levies on companies and organisations in Victoria. Knowing how the system works is critical to claiming the full benefits and compensation that is available.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas also understands that most people wish to return to work as soon as possible if they are able to. Negotiating return to work plans and being sensitive to your broader working goals is a key part of understanding and experience.
Barb, a nurse, sustained an injury while lifting a heavy patient – accidentally twisting her knee while trying to protect her back. In this interview she discusses her experiences while trying to claim workers compensation for the injury.
WorkCover covers all injuries. It’s your first call for immediate benefits and income support. WorkCover may also pay you a lump sum for impairment, but this takes a little longer to obtain.
The courts can also decide injury claims. If your injury is serious and there has been employer negligence, you may pursue a compensation claim for loss of earnings and to compensate you for pain and suffering. Typically, these are larger payments, they take longer to decide and have to be fought for.
WorkCover will pay all your medical costs and weekly benefits. They may also pay you a lump sum. Remember, you may receive a lump sum payment while retaining your weekly benefits and medical costs.
WorkCover must pay for reasonable medical and related costs following your injury. This includes home maintenance help.
|Your first 13 weeks off work:||95% of your pre-injury wage.|
|After 13 weeks off work:||80% of your wage for up to 130 weeks, or longer if you continue to remain unfit for work.|
Allowances and overtime are payable for up to 52 weeks.
Your compensation amount will depend on your level of permanent impairment. The threshold level of injury to get compensation is low. These are sample payments, as of 1 July 2011.
|5% injury to spine:||$12,190|
|10% whole person injury:||$17,870|
|15% whole person injury:||$31,320|
|20% whole person injury:||$44,770|
|25% whole person injury:||$58,220|
|30% physical or psychiatric injury:||$71,670|
Common law claims are the other type of compensation payments. These can amount to very large payments, certainly larger than those paid by WorkCover, but have to be contested in the courts. Because negligence is a key factor in determining liability, along with the seriousness of the injury, a common law action is effectively the act of suing an employer.
Any matter that goes to court is expensive. That’s why we offer clients a No Win No Fee OR Expenses policy, should be accept that they have a strong case. The payments are large at least in part because they take into account the severe nature of the injury and the impairment, the level of medical and personal care that will likely be required, and the pain and suffering endured.
Cases can be prolonged, sometimes taking years to arrive at a result. You need to have seriously good lawyers practiced in common law fights to be confident in the result. Our record is second to none in winning large common law compensation payouts. You also need a legal team that understands what you are going through as will keep you informed, always ensuring that you make all the key decisions.
A 23-year-old man who worked as a machine operator suffered an injury to his lower back and was unable to continue working full time. His employer was found liable for breaching OH&S regulations. He was awarded compensation of $25,000 for pain and suffering and a further $810,941 for loss of income.
Crowe v Trevor Roller Shutter Services Pty Ltd – Victorian Supreme Court 2011
The first question that our common law compensation lawyers are asked is: “How large a sum will I get?” As these amounts are awarded in the courts, they are highly variable. Here, for your use, is a rough guide to some typical injuries and the payout range.
Note: these amounts are awarded for pain and suffering. Additional lump sums are often obtained for loss of earnings.
|Spinal Cord damage consisting of immobility in affected area (e.g. upper or lower limb):||$250,000 – to the maximum of $511,920|
|Spinal fusion surgery:||Good surgical result: $150,000 – $250,000
Poor surgical result: $250,000 – to the maximum of $511,920
|Discetomy surgery:||Good surgical result: $100,000 – $150,000
Poor surgical result: $150,000 – to the maxiumum of $511,920
|Laminectomy surgery:||Good surgical result: $100,000 – $200,000
Poor surgical result: $200,000 – to the maximum of $511,920
|Foraminectomy surgery:||Good surgical result: $150,000 – $200,000
Poor surgical result: $200,000 – to the maximum of $511,920
Common back conditions
|Non surgical back injury e.g. minor disc bulge or prolapse, with no nerve root impingement:||$100,000 – $200,000|
|Spinal Stenosis:||$100,000 – $300,000|
|Spondylolysis:||$100,000 – $300,000|
|Spondylotic Myelopathy:||$250,000 – to the maximum of $511,920|
|Cervical fusion:||Good surgical result: $150,000 – $250,000
Poor surgical result: $275,000 – to the maximum of $511,920
|Non surgical neck injury e.g. minor disc bulge or prolapse, with no nerve root impingement:||$100,000 – $200,000|
|Mesothelioma:||$250,000 – $400,000|
|Other respiratory conditions:||$80,000 – $400,000|
|Loss of sight in one eye:||$175,000 – $250,000|
|Psychiatric injury:||$100,000 – $200,000|
|Head injury:||$150,000 – $400,000|
|Shoulder injury:||$75,000 – $300,000|
|Paraplegia:||Likely to be the maximum of $511,920|
|Quadraplegia:||Likely to be the maximum of $511,920|
Facebook is becoming popular in a growing number of injury cases that go to court – for all the wrong reasons.
We are finding that lawyers opposing us are requesting access to a client's Facebook pages as part of the pre-trial access to relevant evidence. Although often this material is accessible to anyone who has some technical ability with the internet.
Those innocent photos you posted enjoying a BBQ with some friends could be turning up in court, as lawyers use the pictures to cast doubt on your testimony and on the seriousness of your injury.
We advise all our clients to immediately remove their Facebook profile entirely. If you do wish to continue using social media, we can advise you on how to do this without running an undue risk of having innocent content used against you in court.
If you'd like to make an enquiry about a legal matter, talk about a career at RCT, or perhaps have a suggestion on how we can improve our service or even our website, we'd like to hear from you.
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