The Queensland workers compensation system is a tale of two systems.The statutory scheme prescribed under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the WCRA) and the common law damages system as regulated by the WCRA. The statutory scheme is a no fault system, and provided you are a ‘worker’ and have sustained an ‘injury’.
The system is complicated and it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice. You will have a statutory entitlement to benefits (wages, medicals, rehabilitation etc) subject to the exceptions set out for psychological claims and overseas workers. In order for you to have any entitlement to seek common law damages, you must be able to prove that your employer was negligently responsible for causing your personal injury.
A common law damages claim can only be accessed by rejecting a lump sum offer for an injury of less than 20% WRI (work-related impairment), but if assessed at 20% WRI or above you can accept the lump sum and in addition sue your employer for damages.
Damages in a common law claim is an ‘injured workers only’ means of obtaining appropriate compensation which will go any way towards compensating for your loss.
Unlike the statutory scheme, a damages claim is aimed at compensating you for the losses sustained as a consequence of your work related injury.
Entitlement for compensation may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of superannuation contributions
- Assistance provided free of charge
- Future assistance or commercial paid assistance
- Future medical/rehabilitation expenses
- Future loss of wages
- Future loss of superannuation contributions
A review of the circumstances of your injury is also necessary.
You may not have entitlement to claim damages unless you can prove that your injury/ies resulted from the negligent conduct of your employer.
It is very important to seek advice in relation to these matters prior to making any decision about your lump sum offer from WorkCover Queensland or the insurer of your employer.
Many cases may appear to be similar.
At Gouldson Legal we understand every case is unique. Speak to a lawyer for a free; no obligation assessment of your claim.