You may be able to sue your employer for your injuries
In addition to your Workers Compensation rights, you may be able to pursue your employer in a claim for negligence. This is if your injury at work has been caused or made worse by the consequences of:
- Your employer
- Your co-workers (your employer is responsible for them)
- Any other person
- Faulty machinery
- An unsafe workplace
- An unsafe system of work
- Poor medical treatment
Find out if you're eligible
You're generally only able to sue your employer if you have a ‘serious injury’. Under the WorkCover legislation this means any one of the following:
- Serious permanent impairment or loss of body function
- Permanent serious disfigurement
- Severe permanent mental or behavioural disturbance
- Loss of a foetus
- An injury that results in significant impairment under the relevant guides, usually the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
Whether or not you can sue for damages will also depend on:
- The date and seriousness of your injury.
- The existence and degree of negligence by any other person
- The place where the injury occurred
- Whether the negligence claim is against your employer or some other person
What is Whole Person Impairment (WPI)?
A Whole Person Impairment is a measure of the degree of impairment you have suffered as a result of your injury. It must be assessed by a medical specialist.
To undergo an assessment, your injury must have reached maximum medical improvement. This means your condition has 'stabilised' and is unlikely to change substantially in the next year with or without treatment. Once you've undergone this assessment, the specialist will inform you of your Whole Person Impairment assessment percentage.
A Whole Person Impairment assessment determines the amount of lump sum compensation you're entitled to.
If your injury has been caused by the negligence of your employer, damages may be payable for:
- lost income (both past and future)
- lost superannuation
- pain and suffering
There are strict time limits
When suing for damages, strict time limits can apply and complex applications must be prepared before the expiry of the following time limits.
If you were injured after 20/10/1999: You can claim damages for negligence within 6 years of the date of injury by filing a complex legal application.
If you were injured between 12/11/1997 and 19/10/1999 (inclusive) and are covered by WorkCover: You cannot generally claim damages against your employer or any other party.
If you were injured through the negligence of another person prior to 12/11/1997, and your incapacity becomes known after this date: You have three years from the date of becoming aware of the nature and severity of your medical condition to begin legal action, by filing a complex legal application.
Speak to us today
Our expert workplace lawyers have the experience and knowledge in handling a wide range of negligence cases and provide simple and clear communication, so you know where you stand. Our priority is to ensure you:
Feel supported through the entire process
Understand your rights and entitlements
Assist you with disputes which may arise with the workcover insurer
Maximise your compensation
Provide you with clear and accurate advice about your prospects of success
Meeting with a lawyer shouldn't be an overwhelming experience, to help you you can read more about what to expect when meeting your lawyer for the first time.
You should contact us if:
You have suffered an injury at work
You have suffered a flare-up of an existing injury or disease whilst at work
You have suffered a psychological injury at work
You want to know more about your potential to obtain lump sum compensation
Your employer is pressuring you to return to work
The insurer won't pay for a particular expense
You've never received advice about a workplace injury
You want to know where you stand within the law.