Most people would know someone who has had the misfortune of being injured, at work or in a road accident, perhaps as the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. Many, however, may not fully understand their rights when it comes to the range of benefits and compensation that may be available.
Trying to navigate a complex system involving insurance claims officers, doctors and specialists is difficult for most people, especially when you may be struggling with significant physical or psychological injuries. It is important to fully understand what benefits and compensation you may be entitled to and which particular laws apply to your situation.
If you are injured whilst at work or in the course of your employment, or if you are injured in a transport accident, then there are range of entitlements that may be available under one of the relevant statutory schemes – being either the WorkCover scheme (administered by WorkSafe) or the Transport Accident scheme (administered by the Transport Accident Commission, TAC). Both schemes offer ‘no-fault’ benefits, which means you may be entitled to benefits even if you were at fault (although some restrictions do apply).
No-fault benefits available through TAC and WorkCover include payments of medical and related expenses, income support in the form of weekly benefits and possibly a lump sum payment of compensation if you are left with a permanent impairment.
Whether you are entitled to a lump sum impairment benefit is dependent on the level of impairment you are assessed as having, which would be determined upon examination by an independent doctor. There are minimum levels of impairment you must have in order to be entitled to a lump sum benefit, and what the relevant minimum injury level is depends on the type of injury you have sustained and when you were injured.
In addition to no-fault benefits you may be entitled to sue for damages, being compensation for pain and suffering and possibly economic loss. This is called bringing a common law claim. There is a common mistaken belief that every person who has been injured has the right to compensation for pain and suffering.
There are two requirements to be entitled to bring a common law claim: that your injury was caused by the negligence of another party; and that you have suffered a ‘serious injury’.
A ‘serious injury’ is where you have an impairment assessment of 30% or greater, or where you meet one of the definitions of serious injury under the relevant legislation, which are:
Whether you qualify under one of these definitions depends on your particular circumstances and the consequences of the injury. A right to bring a common law claim is in addition to your no-fault entitlements.
Aside from WorkCover and TAC, if you have been injured in a variety of other circumstances, such as in a public or private place, as the result of medical negligence or as the result of a criminal act, then you may also be entitled to benefits or compensation.
Strict time limits apply to be able to claim your entitlements; therefore getting legal advice early is critical. Contact our friendly staff at YourLawyer, for an obligation-free consultation and determine your entitlements today.