$370,000 awarded to Castle Hill man due to unsafe system of work

Published 05 May 2016

Our client was awarded over $370,000.00 due to his unsafe system of work. This man was employed as a service technician, working on water towers, for a number of years. His work included climbing ladders whilst having to haul up pails of chemicals, often between 10-20 kilograms. At times, it would become too difficult to carry the pails, and he would be required to haul the chemicals up via rope. This system of work, and the nature of the employment, lead to our client sustaining serious back injuries.

As a result of the back injuries, this man was required to have multiple surgeries on his back. Following his recovery from his final surgery, he attended upon the solicitors at Gerard Malouf and Partners for advice in respect of his legal rights.

The workers compensation insurer had covered the costs of all surgeries and medical treatment expenses, and they had been covering his weekly payments. His only entitlement at this point in time was for a lump sum claim for his permanent impairment.

After seeing our medico-legal expert, this man was assessed with an impairment of greater than 20% and he settled his lump sum claim for approximately $70,000.00.

As he had received an impairment of 15% or greater, this client of ours was entitled to a Work Injury Damages claim, which was a claim against his employer for negligence.

In all Work Injury Damages claim, the solicitors at Gerard Malouf and Partners request the assistance of one of their expert barristers. The same occurred in his matter. The matter went to a mediation whereby a negotiation took place in attempt to settle the claim. At mediation the final offer from the insurer was $200,000.00. This amount was not one which our client wanted to settle for, and his solicitors agreed with this view.

Following mediation, court proceedings were commenced. A hearing date was set down and the negotiations continued in the meanwhile.

On the morning of hearing date, the barrister, solicitor and client were having ongoing negotiations with the insurer’s representative and managed to resolve the claim before the hearing commenced. It settled for $300,000.00, clear of any payback to the workers compensation insurer. This was $100,000.00 extra than was offered at mediation and when included with the previous lump sum claim, saw our client awarded over $370,000.00.

By keeping this claim going, and commencing proceedings in court, our client was able to gain an extra $100,000.00 than if he had settled at mediation.

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