One question we get asked a lot as personal injury lawyers is “what happens if you need to claim against someone interstate?”
Our answer back is usually, “well, what do you mean by that?”
Claiming against someone interstate could refer to several unique situations, like:
- Claiming for a road accident outside of Queensland
- Claiming for a work-related incident outside of Queensland
- Claiming against someone in Queensland, who then moves interstate before the matter is resolved.
We’ll go through each of the above and outline what you should do if you ever find yourself in one of these situations.
Claiming for a road accident outside of Queensland
This is a very common question, especially around school holidays as countless Queenslanders take some time away interstate.
The golden rule is to simply follow the laws of whichever state you are in. For example, if you get in a crash in Tweed Heads, 200m from the Queensland border, you will have to follow New South Wales legal procedures.
The law regulating compensation claims varies between the states. In Queensland, your claim for damages is brought against the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of the at-fault vehicle. In each of the other states/territories of Australia you will need to bring your claim to the following:
- New South Wales – CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle
- Northern Territory – Territory Insurance Office
- Victoria – Transport Accident Commission
- Australian Capital Territory – CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle
- Tasmania – Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB)
- South Australia – CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle
- Western Australia – Insurance Commission of Western Australia
If you have recently returned to Queensland and still want to bring a claim forward interstate, you will need to seek out a specialist compensation firm in the relevant state. If you have trouble, please get in contact with us at Gouldson. We will be able to provide you a few suggestions of lawyers we trust outside of Queensland who’ll be able to assist you with the claim.
Claiming for a work-related accident outside of Queensland
Another question we get a from time to time is people working interstate, wondering what happens if they injure themselves while outside of Queensland; are they still covered by WorkCover Queensland?
If you are employed in Queensland and are injured while travelling for a work-related reason, you may be eligible for a journey claim through the Queensland Workers’ Compensation Insurer.
If, however, you are employed outside Queensland and spend your time working outside of Queensland, things will be different and you more than likely will not be covered by WorkCover Queensland or other Workers’ Compensation insurance in Queensland.
Generally, you only need to be insured in one state or territory, and that insurance will be co-ordinated and organised by your employer. This is what’s called your ‘state of connection’.
The steps to determining your state of connection are relatively straightforward. Simply ask yourself the following questions:
Note, always start with step one and only apply the next steps if the previous doesn’t give you a clear answer.
Step 1. Where do I usually work?
Taking into account:
- Terms of your contract
- Where you physically do your work
- Employment history and future arrangements with employer.
Step 2. Where am I based?
If the above does not provide a clear answer, consider where you are based.
If you usually do work in Queensland, Queensland is your state of connection and WorkCover Queensland should cover any work-related injuries in Australia.
If you can apply a location to any of the below, that location is your base:
- Are you provided with a place you’re expected to work from?
- Are you getting your day-to-day instructions and tasks from one main location?
- Do you visit a location to collect materials for your work?
- Do you report to a central place for administrative or other-job related issues or meetings?
Step 3. Where is the principal place of my business?
If you still cannot get a clear answer, use the location of your employer’s main base to help decide your state of connection. If your employer has one main place of business in Australia, that state or territory is your state of connection.
Therefore, any work-related injury claims should be lodged with your state of connection’s relevant compensation authority.
Below you can find links to the various workers’ compensation authorities across Australia.
Claiming against someone not in Queensland
You do not have to worry if you are claiming against someone who has recently moved interstate. Your claim will progress as normal and will commence in the state that the accident occurred, irrespective of where the respondent is based.
The location of the accident determines the jurisdiction of the claim, except in certain workers’ compensation claims, where the accident may occur elsewhere, but the system of work is determined in the state of employment.