Can you establish a case for employer negligence?

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 29 March 2017

Not every case of a workplace injury or other health ailment is obviously the employer's fault. If your supervisor hits you with a vehicle or drops a heavy object on you, that case is clearly open-and-shut. In some situations, however, the employer is still responsible for an employee's health issue, but that responsibility is a little subtler and more difficult to prove.

Sometimes, it's a case of negligence. In other words, the company could have been more proactive in advance to keep an injury from happening, but they didn't take the necessary precautions. This sort of case is more difficult to prove than one in which an injury stemmed directly from someone's mistake, but it's still doable. Having the right legal minds by your side can be a huge help.

Negligence has a long-term impact

Negligence can be more difficult to expose than other types of employer liabilities because there isn't always a clear "smoking gun" that proves it - there's sometimes a more gradual impact that sets in over the long haul.

For example, according to the Geelong Advertiser, an 82-year-old man in Geelong is suing his former employer because for years, during the late 1960s and early '70s, he was exposed to asbestos. He is now seeking damages because nearly a half-century later, he is feeling the effects of asbestos poisoning.

These cases are actually pretty common in Australia today. Anyone who's able to provide evidence of damages may be entitled to compensation.

Has your employer breached a duty of care?

There's a tacit understanding that all employers in Australia are obligated to look after their employees' health - this is known as "duty of care." Diary of a Work Cover Victim notes, however, that this duty is often breached, and when it is, this is when you're entitled to seek justice.

If an injury or illness happens because your employer has neglected their responsibilities as a caregiver, it's time to take action. This means filing a claim form, getting medical treatment and talking to a lawyer about seeking the damages you're owed.

Negligence comes in all shapes and sizes

There are a lot of different definitions of negligence, and you may not even realise that your situation qualifies. For example, did your boss forget to warn you about a potential risk on your worksite? Something as simple as a neglected 5-minute conversation can make all the difference.

If you think you might be the victim of employer negligence, it's important to get legal help right away. Contact our team at Marshall Gibson Lawyers for a free case evaluation - that's the first step.