Mr Vaughan was operating a backhoe to clear a path to a power pole when he was bitten and died from the deadly Taipan venom.
The Taipan is regarded as Australia’s most dangerous species of snake. The deceased worker Andrew Vaughan was covered by worker’s compensation at the time of his accident.
Andrew’s family are eligible to receive death benefits under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld). Under Part 11 of the Act Section 200 there is a statutory lump sum death benefit left for dependent members of the worker’s family in the sum of $374,625.00. Further lump sums are payable for a dependent spouse and for children of the deceased worker. The compensation is payable to the legal personal representative of the deceased worker. Medical and funeral expenses are also recoverable under the Qld Workers Compensation Act.
In circumstances where the workplace death is preventable and there is a breach of a duty of care from the employer to the employee further damages are payable against the employer in the form of a dependency claim.
A dependency claim is not fettered by the statutory lump sum that is available under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
The case above serves as a timely reminder to anyone working outdoors in construction, forestry and on remote worksites that venomous snakes and spiders can give rise to statutory worker’s compensation claims and in other circumstances may give rise to actions at common law against the employer where the injury is preventable.
Anyone wishing to seek advice concerning workplace injuries or fatalities is urged to contact Attwood Marshall solicitors on 1800 621 071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.