Case Study: Workers Compensation Negligence Claim

Find out what sort of step ladder costs the equivalent of four years’ salary?

Mr X, was a 56 year old cleaner.

He had been in the cleaning game all of his life. He had cleaned everything. Offices, houses, factories, sporting stadiums and even piggeries. He thoroughly enjoyed cleaning and often went about his work cheerily, combining it with his other great love, singing.

On this particular day, his employer sent him to clean a factory. Upon arrival he was informed that the cleaning job involved him cleaning some overhead pipes that had been gathering dust for years. The factory was being sold, so first impressions were going to be everything.

Mr X looked up at the pipes. They were nearly four metres off the ground.

Poor equipment can lead to Worker’s Compensation Claims…

He would need a very sturdy ladder. His employer had failed to give him one, so being the resourceful person he was, he made enquiries with the workers until they furnished him with a step ladder. It seemed sturdy enough to the untrained eye. Mr X was a cleaner, not an Australian Standards Engineer.

While Mr X was cleaning the pipes, the ladder buckled, one of the legs crumpling, and Mr X came crashing down to the ground along with his cleaning pail. A ten foot drop.

Most Worker’s Compensation claims arise from accidents that could have been prevented.

He had put his arm out to stabilise his fall and in doing so suffered significant injuries to his right wrist and forearm. Worse still, the metal cleaning bucket somehow ended up falling in such a way that when he came down his lower back landed right on top of the pail.

Mr X left work early that day – in an ambulance.

His employer filled out the appropriate WorkCover forms and Mr X spent some time trying to recover. In this time he was assessed by medical specialists as having suffered permanent impairment from his injury. As a result of his injuries, our client was unable to continue working as a cleaner. Since he had been doing it nearly all his life, he was not really fit for office work or other light duties. He had barely finished grade 10 at school, so higher education and retraining were out of the question in the short term. Cleaning was Mr X’s life.

Workers compensation offers need to be carefully analysed.

Mr X lodged a WorkCover Statutory Claim for the payment of wages and medical expenses. At the conclusion of his statutory claim he was offered about four months’ wages as lump sum compensation.

Mr X was bewildered. He could probably never work again, and if he did he would need significant time to retrain himself. Four months was simply not enough, and he needed a way to fund himself more adequately during his retraining and recuperation.

If in doubt about a Worker’s Compensation Claim, seek professional advice.

Mr X’s son had used a lawyer for a Motor Vehicle Accident claim so got the lawyer’s number off his son. When he was more fully informed on the law of negligence, Mr X then instructed the lawyer to pursue a claim for negligence against his employer and WorkCover at common law.

A Notice of Claim for Damages was lodged by the lawyers and the matter proceeded to a compulsory settlement conference and was settled for four years’ worth of salary – a hefty price for a ladder that did not meet Australian Safety Standards.

Workers compensation should provide for retraining injured workers.

Mr X now had the right amount of time to retrain himself. The time was right for him to undertake a three year TAFE course that allowed him to complete a Music Diploma. Mr X now runs his own singing school, and his life has moved on for the better.

Had he settled for four months’ pay instead of four years, Mr X might now be singing a totally different tune.

Workers compensation lawyers can be of great assistance in handling your claim.

Gouldson Legal represented Mr X in his workers compensation negligence claim. If you know of anyone with a similar story to Mr X , or anyone that has had to have significant time off work due to a workplace accident, then you should get a better understanding of the law of negligence before you accept something that is not all that it is cracked up to be.

The claims process can be confusing and stressful but the team at Gouldson exist to make it straightforward and seamless. If you have recently experienced an injury at work, reach out for a free case review and find out what you could potentially be eligible for.

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