Country farm worker receives over $250,000 in Common Law proceedings in addition to his workers compensation statutory entitlements

Published 16 May 2017

It seemed to be a difficult road of uncertainty for one of our lovely country clients. He had a serious injury and a young family to look after. Securing a job with an injury is difficult enough but even more so for those residing in the country regions where work availability is restricted and the work that is available are generally physically demanding.

On the day of his injury, our client had fallen heavily backwards, hitting his head and sustaining serious injuries to his neck and back. With these injuries he developed referring pain to both of his arms.

With the problems persevering his treating surgeon recommended spinal surgery. Our client agreed to this recommendation, so he proceeded to have spinal fusion in his neck almost two years after his accident. He then went through the demanding processes of rehabilitation and physiotherapy sessions following his surgery. He was constantly on pain relief medication and had been incapacitated from any type of work for around six months following his surgery.

Fortunately, despite the changes in workers compensation in New South Wales, injured workers do have respite under the Workers Compensation scheme. The benefits are not generally available for a claimants forever but they allow a person to get back on track and on the right path in life.

In this instance, we helped ensure that our client received his entitlements to:

  1. Medical and surgical expenses,
  2. Payments of weekly payments whilst he was off work as a result of the injury and;
  3. A lump sum claim for his permanent impairment.

In order to pursue a lump sum claim, we organised for our Client to see a medico-legal doctor for the purposes of obtaining an assessment on his Whole Person Impairment (WPI). Our client needed to satisfy a threshold of 11% WPI rating in order to receive a lump sum payment and 15%WPI to allow him to pursue a Work Injury Damages claim.

Our medico-legal assessor had provided a rating above 15%WPI, however this was rejected by the workers compensation insurer. As there was a dispute on the impairment rating, we then commenced proceedings in the Workers Compensation Commission for a final and binding decision to be made on impairment. The Commission appointed an Approved Medical Specialist (AMS) to provide an assessment report. Not surprisingly, the AMS gave an assessment similar to our own medico legal assessor. Following that, here at GMP lawyers had managed to resolve our Client’s Workers Compensation lump sum claim for an amount over $40,000.00.

From that point of time we realised at Gerard Malouf and Partners that this would be a viable Work Injury Damages claim, once we considered the factual circumstances of how the injury had occurred. The case had reasonable merits on negligence and a Common Law Negligent claim was pursued and this achieved a result in excess of $250,000.00 in damages.

Gerard Malouf and Partners are capable of leading you down the best path to success in your claim. Direction may be obscure but with assistance from an experienced team, you will be headed in the right direction.