Victoria and New South Wales have some well-developed compensation schemes in place for injured people. The most basic of these cover medical, hospital and associated expenses, some loss of income  – however, many people don’t know what they may also be entitled to beyond the basics, or how to claim these entitlements. In this circumstance, it’s best to chat with an expert. In today’s blog, Mark Ryan from the Legal GP details what an injured person can claim, and how they can best achieve these entitlements with the help of a handy checklist. Read on!

Who funds these compensation schemes?

A majority of compensation schemes – including medical and associated expenses and loss of income – are funded by TAC and Worksafe (Victoria) or SIRA and Safework (NSW). These are the funding bodies regardless of whose ‘fault’ caused the injury. Most people can pursue these claims themselves, by completing an application form via the relevant authority (as above) or an employer. If hospitalised, the hospital will almost certainly complete this to ensure that it gets paid, but always check before being discharged. These basic entitlements are not available for public liability injuries unless there is fault by somebody other than you.

What can I claim and where?

In cases where an injury is caused by somebody else’s fault, you may be entitled to a lump sum damages claim. If so, the entitlement is based on ‘negligence’, usually referred to as a common law claim. Such claims become available if – after all accessible medical treatment is complete – you are left with permanent damage or an impairment that is determined to be a ‘serious injury’ or a level of ‘most extreme case’. These are determined by applicable legal thresholds or hurdles and based on percentages. Therefore, such claims are not available for relatively minor injuries resulting in minimal or no residual disability. In other words, you ‘get better’. To pursue a common law claim you will need a lawyer.

Is there a timeframe in which I need to submit my claim?

In Victoria and NSW, court action for negligence in road and work accidents must be filed within six years and other negligence claims must be filed within three years.

Ideally, claims should be filed as soon as practically possible after sustaining an injury. When this period begins to run from, varies according to the circumstances and nature of the injury. Provisions for extensions do exist for special circumstances, however timely claims are strongly advised.

Compensation claim checklist:

The records and evidence that you’re able to gather post-injury may be critical to the eventual success of your claim.

Below is a checklist identifying the actions an injured person should take as soon as possible (or if unable due to your injury, arrange a friend to do it for you), and the areas in which records should be kept.

  1. Seek medical treatment and ensure records are kept.
  2. Notify relevant bodies (police, site owner, employer) and ensure records are kept.
  3. Gather the contact details of any witnesses, colleagues or bystanders who were involved.
  4. Take photos that may help to illustrate how the injury occurred.
  5. Engage a personal injury lawyer that you trust.

Next steps?

It’s common for clients to feel a loss of control when they suffer an injury. There can be an overwhelming amount of information to consider, including which medical specialists, support systems and professionals to engage. During your first meeting with the Legal GP, Mark Ryan will help you to take back control and guide you through the next steps of your compensation claim. Find Mark Ryan and the Legal GP here.