Sometimes it may be difficult to find a personal injury lawyer who is willing to take on your workcover case, especially on a no win no fee basis. If you have not been successful to find a lawyer who wants to take on your case it’s generally because your case “sucks”. Let’s have a look at what this means…
We have written about it many times (see for example “Mitigation of Damages“), but perhaps it’s time to re-highlight that an injured person who makes a claim for compensation is actually required to take all reasonable steps to mitigate his or her loss. So what does this actually mean?
“How much is my workcover case worth?” Is a question we receive very often from seriously injured workers. It is a very difficult question to answer because the “commercial value” of your case depends of many factors, and each case is unique.
Any workcover issue can lead to disputes and/or litigation, and many do. If you have a particularly aggressive workcover insurer that loves nothing else but deny cases, benefits and settlements, it will often lead to legal hearings over adversarial decisions the workcover case manager made on the claim. Some workcover claims/cases which are in litigation are more complex than others, but all have one thing in common: they (generally) drag on forever. Let’s look at some of the factors involved that (may) lead to protracted litigation/settlement.
As we have discussed in a previous article, many seriously injured workers believe that a workcover settlement is a windfall, a welcome piece of good fortune or personal gain, and that it will compensate them for all that they feel they have lost and endured (and still will lose and endure in many cases); and will somehow offset the limitations they will have in the future.
what many seriously injured workers don’t understand or realise is that -of course- it does not and that later realisation is quite devastating, and can bring about what is called a second wave depression.
Do you, like Judy, read legal cases or stories involving considerable sums of compensation payouts to injured workers and wonder why it is that you did not receive any such compensation (payout) from workcover, even though you are badly injured and may never work again? If you do, read on as we’ll explain how this “compensation” works in Victoria and hope it all makes some sense.
If (or better yet, when) you hire/engage a workers’ compensation lawyer, help them help you obtain full treatment and benefits for your injuries. In order to fully maximise the amount of benefits the injured worker ultimately receives, lawyers depend on their clients (YOU) to provide them with the information they need to fully represent your case. There are several things you can do to help your lawyer in this effort, including watching what you do and say!
As we’ve mentioned yesterday, many lawyers (and law firms) enter into ‘no win‐no fee’ costs agreements with their clients, undertaking legal work on their behalf on what is sometimes called a ‘speculative’ basis ( because the lawyer agrees to take the risk that the case might lose)
The idea behind a ‘no win ‐ no fee’ cost agreement is that it gives people with limited finances access to justice…
In order to establish liability for a workcover claim, it is usually sufficient to demonstrate that an injury occurred at work. However in order to prove negligence and as such access common law damages, a seriously injured worker has also to be able to prove exactly how his/her injury occurred at his/her workplace. The following interesting District Court of WA judgement shows that workers in supervisory roles cannot place themselves in harm’s way or exceed their physical limitations and then claim negligence on the part of their employer if they subsequently become injured.
Further to some questions posted regarding action for damages in respect of injuries in Victoria, we thought it worthwhile to resummarise the process and restrictions on the ability of an injured worker to recover common law damages in Victoria.