Workers Compensation Lawyers Queensland
If you’ve been injured at work in Queensland you may be entitled to workers’ compensation
Attwood Marshall Lawyers was establishedin 1946, and has locations on the Gold Coast, in Northern NSW, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
We provide a ‘No Win, No Fee’ legal service to our workers compensation law clients and can meet you at your home or hospital for a complimentary initial appointment to discuss your legal rights and to help you bring forward a compensation claim.
Call us on 1800 621 071 or fill in the form and we’ll get in touch.
Find out if you have a ‘No Win, No Fee’ claim today.
- Notify your employer of your injury (and how it occurred) as soon as possible. This usually involves completing an Incident Report Form.
- Go to your GP and get them to complete a QLD Workers Comp Medical Certificate.
- Lodge an Application for Compensation form online.
- Provide a copy of your Application for Compensation and Medical Certificate to your employer.
There are 2 types of workers’ compensation law claims
Statutory (no-fault) claims
All claims must initially be lodged as a statutory (no-fault) claim. A ‘no fault’ benefits claim entitles injured workers to apply for weekly benefits (ie. weekly income) and medical treatment costs. This provides an injured worker with access to an income and treatment costs while they are off work and recuperating from injury. The statutory claim is a temporary claim for benefits over time post-accident. If you are assessed as having suffered a permanent impairment as a result of your work injury, you will be offered a lump sum before your claim is finalised. Because statutory benefit claims are ‘no fault’ (ie not caused by negligence, an unsafe system of work, dangerous work place, faulty equipment etc) the benefits are temporary and are not designed to compensate an injured worker for future losses such as future treatment costs or future income loss, etc. To make a fault based claim (ie a “common law negligence claim”) see below.
Common law claims
In Queensland, injured workers have the right to sue their employer for negligence by way of a common law damages claim. The employer’s workers compensation insurer (usually Workcover Queensland) responds to the claim on the employer’s behalf. In order to bring a successful common law damages claim, an injured worker must prove that their injury was caused by the negligence of their employer (or co-worker). Common law claims are intended to compensate the injured worker for their past and future losses sustained as a result of the work injury (eg past and future treatment costs, past and future income loss, past and future care, general damages/pain and suffering) as a once off lump sum payment.
To enquire as to whether or not your work injury may have been caused or significantly contributed to by employer negligence/fault, please contact our office for free, no obligation advice.
Workers whose employers are self-insurers
Workers whose employers are self-insurers will need to contact their employer’s insurer to make a claim for workers’ compensation. While both WorkCover and self-insured employers must comply with the same legislative requirements for determining claims, self-insurers may have different processes or procedures they follow when determining claims.
Obtain legal advice early
If you have been injured at work, it is imperative that you seek advice from a good lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier you are informed about how the process works and your entitlements to claim, the better.
Do not let your employer talk you out of making a claim or obtaining legal advice. It is the workers’ comp insurance company that is liable to pay your ongoing workers’ comp benefits, not the employer.
For a statutory claim you can make a claim as soon as you have suffered a work injury so that you can obtain ongoing benefits.
For a common law claim you can usually only make a claim after you have completed the statutory benefits claim process and been provided with a Notice of Assessment.
It’s important to seek legal advice early to determine the most appropriate claim for you and the relevant timeframes.
Employers in Queensland are legally required to insure their employees with workers compensation insurance in case they suffer injury. You are entitled to claim workers compensation if you suffered injury out of, or in the course of your employment, where your employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury. Workers who may claim include:
- A casual or permanent employee;
- A full-time or part-time employee;
- A contractor or subcontractor, if the relationship with the employer is actually one of employment (often the case);
- A person deemed to be a worker – juniors, work experience students and some volunteers);
- A self-employed worker in some cases.
Additionally, the spouse and/or dependants of an injured worker may be entitled to claim benefits in the case of a workplace fatality.
If you are unsure as to whether you are entitled to claim workers compensation, it is critical you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Injuries covered by workers’ compensation
Injuries, illnesses or conditions that occur at work, or as a result of work, are usually covered by workers’ comp insurance – including aggravations of pre-existing injuries, illnesses or conditions.
You may make a claim for damages for the following:
- Physical injuries (eg. back strain, ligament injury, broken bones, head injury, lacerations, fractures, burns);
- Psychological/psychiatric injuries (eg. anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, etc);
- ‘Over a period of time’ injuries (eg. industrial deafness);
- Latent onset injuries (eg. asbestosis, mesothelioma);
- Illnesses (eg. contracting a disease such as Q fever);
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition (eg a back injury suffered by a worker with a prior back injury).
Injuries incurred while travelling to or from work, while on a break from work, or while working interstate or overseas, may also be covered.
Workers’ compensation generally doesn’t cover
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries caused by fighting or horseplay
- Injuries incurred while committing a crime, or while violating company policies
- Injuries that were caused elsewhere (ie. not caused by a work incident);
Applications for compensation should be lodged with the workers compensation insurer as soon as possible. They are to be filed within 6 months of the work incident (or first symptoms), although that can be extended depending on the circumstances.
There is a three year time limitation from the date of injury in which to either commence the claim in court, or to lodge a compliant Notice of Claim for Damages. If that has not occurred within 3 years, the claim may be statute-barred and you will be prevented from making a claim. If you have not received your Notice of Assessment from Workcover (to commence your common law claim) within the 3 years from date of injury, you can still lodge your Notice of Claim for Damages within 6 months of receiving the Notice of Assessment – failing which the claim may be statute-barred.
Each individual case is different and strict time limits apply. Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible after the injury or the onset of symptoms occur.
The time it takes for work injury compensation claim to finalise is primarily dictated by:
- The extent of the worker’s injuries and how long those injuries take to stabilise (often 6-12 months post accident or post surgery);
- How long the injured worker remains on statutory benefits (before commencing the common law claim);
- The number of defendants to the common law claim and their attitude towards settlement or proceeding to court (workers compensation claims usually settle);
- The legal steps required to progress your claim to settlement/court award.
Once you have commenced your common law negligence claim (by lodging a compliant Notice of Claim for Damages), the parties must attend a compulsory settlement conference within 9 months to attempt to resolve the claim out of court. Many workers compensation claims resolve at this compulsory conference stage.
Generally, the sooner you start your claim, the sooner you will receive a settlement.
The following types of compensation are recoverable in a personal injury compensation claim depending on the circumstances:
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life – “general damages”;
- Medical treatment, medication, and rehabilitation expenses;
- Travel costs;
- Return to work assistance;
- Past loss of wages/income, including interest and super;
- Future loss of wages/income, including super;
- Future medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses;
- Past and future commercial/paid care (eg cleaners, gardeners, home maintenance) incurred as a result of the injury;
- Home modifications (if applicable);
- In some cases, legal costs contribution.
Workers are often employed by one company but injured whilst working for that company on the premises/worksite of another company.
This can mean that the injured worker will have a workers compensation claim against their employer and also a public liability insurance claim against the other company.
- A plasterer works for “A Plasterers” who are contracted by “B Contractors” to work on the premises of B Contractors for two months.
- The plasterer is injured at work on the site of B Contractors;
- The plasterer’s injury was caused by a combination of faulty plastering stilts provided by A Plasterers and a dangerous workplace floor under the control of B Contractors.
In those circumstances, the plasterer could make a workers compensation claim against A Plasterers and a concurrent public liability claim against B Contractors. The injured worker essentially runs one claim that is answered by both defendant’s insurers at the same time (eg at the same settlement conference). The injured worker cannot be compensated twice for the same loss so liable insurers often share the cost of paying out the claim. Notably, the public liability insurer may be required to pay additional types of compensation than the workers compensation insurer.
In Queensland, there is a “50-50 Rule” that applies in speculative compensation claims. The 50-50 Rule is found in sections 345-347 of the Legal Profession Act 2007 and sets a cap on what lawyers can charge.
The 50-50 Rule does not apply to all claims. In fact, it is far more common that an injured claimant’s legal fees are not high enough for the 50-50 Rule to apply.
The 50-50 Rule is designed to apply in those cases where the value of the claim is modest but complications in the claim meant that incurred legal fees would not leave the injured claimant sufficient funds from the settlement/award. The 50-50 Rule ensures that no injured claimant can be left out of pocket upon their settlement/court award because of legal fees/evidence costs.
The rule applies as follows:
- Start with the amount of the settlement/judgment;
- Deduct any refunds the injured claimant owes (eg Medicare, Centrelink, etc);
- Deduct any paid evidence costs (eg doctors records, medicolegal reports)
- The legal fees (including GST) must not exceed 50% of what is remaining.
Again – the 50-50 Rule is not something that applies to most claims. It is to be used in rarer circumstances where the value of the claim is not high and the amount of legal work (and evidence costs) required to obtain the successful result was high. Generally speaking, the majority of injured claimants should not have legal fees high enough for the rule to apply.
If you have any questions about the 50-50 Rule, or legal fees generally, please contact Attwood Marshall Lawyers for some free, no obligation advice.
Our Compensation Law team will assist you with your claim and ensure you know about your rights and entitlements.
1. Get in touch
Tell us your story, we’re here to listen
Our expert legal team meet for the initial consultation
We will manage all discussions with the insurer
We will process your payment as soon as we receive it
What does ‘No Win, No Fee’ mean?
We cover all the costs of your claim, including all medical experts and Barristers, until it’s successful conclusion. At settlement, or when you have received a favourable judgment from the court, we will be paid a reasonable fee for our legal work.
This fee is in accordance to an agreement we make with you, prior to commencing your compensation law claim.
In the highly unlikely event that your case has been unsuccessful, or no compensation has been recovered from the opponent insurance company or self-insurer, you will not be required to pay us anything.
Need to switch to Attwood Marshall Lawyers?
Many clients seek out Attwood Marshall Lawyers after having already started a compensation claim with a different lawyer.
Typically, the cost to change lawyers is the fee of an initial consultation, however Attwood Marshall Lawyers provide a free initial consultation, so you do not need to worry about this fee.
As for fees already billed to you by your previous lawyer – the law is that you will be liable for those fees, only if you succeed in your compensation law claim with your new lawyer. Your new lawyer will help you to sign a ‘transfer authority’ to move your file, and an ‘undertaking’ for the fees already billed to be paid to the previous lawyer on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis.
If you’re wondering if you qualify for worker’s compensation then get in touch with us now. Just enter your details in the form below, and we’ll give you a call to book you in for your free consultation. We’ll then talk you through your situation, and determine what and how much you can claim.