Worker in hospitality industry succeeds in a Work Injury Damages claim after being seriously assaulted at work

Published 04 Dec 2017

Our client was in the role of a monitoring patrons’ behaviour in a well renowned club when he was unceremoniously assaulted by youths. The assault had significant ramifications on our client’s financial wellbeing and social life.

Under the NSW Workers Compensation laws, a worker who has been involved in a physical injury at work must meet a threshold of at least 11% Whole Person Impairment (WPI) to be entitled to lump sum compensation. Safety from being assault is expected in most workplace environments and in particularly a large and popular club where this incident had occurred.  This assault should not have occurred.

Following the assault our client sustained multiple physical injuries.  As a result our client suffered a decline not only to his physical wellbeing but also his psychological state. He had lost self-esteem and developed fear being in crowded situations.

In assessing him for his lump sum claim, we had the option of pursuing a lump sum for either his physical or psychological injury (both primary) but we could not combine the assessment for both. We knew our client would meet the 11% WPI threshold for the physical injury as he had multiple injuries. We opted to have him assessed for a primary physical injury rather than his primary psychological injury, as the threshold required for a psychological injury (15%WPI) is higher and hence more difficult to achieve.

At GMP Lawyers we had our client assessed under multiple body systems and with that not only did we successfully reach a WPI rating of 11% WPI, the rating actually exceeded 15%WPI.  A claim was made for lump sum benefits and following several exchanges of offers with the insurer, the claim was eventually resolved.

Shortly after the finalisation of these proceedings, our client instructed our Blacktown office of Gerard Malouf & Partners to pursue a Work Injury Damages claim against his employer. This type of action entitles an injured worker the opportunity to make a claim for economic loss, both past and future. It is only available to those who have established a permanent impairment of at least 15%, as had occurred in this situation.

There were numerous attempts to settle the Work Injury Damages claim however the parties could not come to an agreement and the matter was listed for a 3-day court hearing. The residing Judge had allowed the parties further opportunity for settlement discussions at the morning of the first day of hearing. The parties took the opportunity in a positive manner and the claim eventually resolved prior to the commencement of the hearing.

The claim settled at an amount that the insurer had not previously offered. At Gerard Malouf and Partners we had prepared the matter for a hearing and did not shy away of running the case for the full 3 days. Appreciating our stern position, the insurer had then offered an amount that they had not been matched any time previous. In fact, there had been an overall increase in their offer at the hearing to the amount of an extra $50,000.00 from their previous best offer.

Here at Gerald Malouf and Partners we had worked tirelessly to place ourselves in the best position to settle the claim at the very maximum amount. If the claim was not going to settle at the maximum amount, we were prepared to have the matter heard by a Judge. Great preparation placed us in a great position to ensure a great outcome.