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Published: 18 March 2016
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas

Are you on WorkCover? 10 things you MUST know: #9

You have 6 years to sue for serious injury compo

If unfortunately you do not fully recover from injury, you may be able to bring a common law compensation claim against your employer, or any other negligent party, for pain and suffering and loss of income.

But, there is a deadline.

In Victoria, claims for common law compensation for workplace injuries must be brought within six years of your date of injury. As these claims take time to prepare, it is vital that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible.

A successful compensation claim must establish that you have sustained a “serious injury” and that your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence or the negligence of a third party.

How do I know if I have suffered a “serious injury”?

“Serious injury” is a legal test. You therefore should seek advice from your lawyers.

If for example you have a 30% whole person impairment, you are deemed to have a “serious injury”.

But even if your impairment is less than 30%, you may have a “serious injury” if you can show that you are no longer able to earn more than 60% of your pre injury wage or that your injury has had a very considerable impact on your life.

Examples of consequences that may satisfy the test of “serious injury” are:

  • Pain
  • Requirement for ongoing medication
  • Surgery
  • Inability to do pre injury job
  • Difficulty with household tasks
  • No longer being able to pursue recreational activities
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty sleeping

How do I know if my employer was negligent?

Once again, whether your employer was negligent is a legal test and therefore you should seek legal advice.

Examples of situations where an employer has been found to be negligent include:

  • Work is unreasonably heavy or repetitive
  • Proper manual handling training is not provided to workers
  • A machine does not have adequate guarding
  • A worker is subjected to bullying and harassment
  • Lifting devices are not made available where appropriate
  • Tools or machinery are faulty or not properly maintained

Remember, if you are seriously injured as a result of the negligence of another party, you have the right to seek compensation and should seek advice.

Previous: Injury not anyone else’s fault? You may still claim lump sum

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