Working to Resolve Workplace Disputes Quickly

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 15 September 2012

If you have an accident at work, you can make a claim for your medical expenses and time off work through Australia’s no-fault Workers Compensation scheme. If your claim is denied, however, or disputed by your employer, you will need to seek representation by a compensation lawyer in order to pursue your claim in court.

Even if your claim is not disputed, you should seek legal advice, as you may be entitled to a lump sum payment for your injury that the insurance company has not told you about. If there was negligence on the part of your employer that resulted in the accident, you can also pursue a negligence claim under common law.

There are strict time limits associated with all types of personal injury claims, so hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best way to ensure your case comes before the court within the time frame allowed by law. A personal injury lawyer will expedite matters considerably by:

  • Preparing all the necessary supporting documentation to present the strongest possible case for your claim. This documentation can include details of the parties involved, relevant insurance companies, witnesses to the accident, doctor’s assessments, hospital reports, medical bills, police reports and quotes of future medical costs.
  • Negotiating directly with the insurer on your behalf to achieve the best possible settlement of your claim (not just accepting the first offer made, which is normally a token sum).
  • Providing witnesses as required, such as expert testimony from doctors and other evidence to support your case.
  • Bringing specialist knowledge of compensation law and the procedures that must be adhered to in order to pursue your case.
  • Acting on your behalf in court in the event that the claim is not settled out of court. (Representing yourself could jeopardise your claim if the correct formalities are not observed in the courtroom.)

If there is a question of negligence on the part of your employer or some other person that led to your injury, then this will need to be pursued under common law and you will definitely require legal representation, as negligence can be difficult to prove. Your personal injury lawyer will need to establish that:

  • Your employer had a duty of care
  • That duty of care was breached
  • An injury or loss resulted from the breach.
  • Negligence claims can be made for:
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income through time off work, both past and future
  • Lost compulsory employer superannuation contributions
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses, past and future
  • Domestic assistance resulting from not being able to perform household tasks
  • • Special needs expenses, such as any required modifications to your home or vehicle.

Time is of the essence in negligence claims, as it is with all personal injury claims, so hiring a compensation lawyer should be the very first thing you do. Many lawyers operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, so if you do not have the funds initially, you can still proceed with confidence in securing legal representation.