Workers Compensation Insurer Pays $550,000 in Compensation Benefits to Injured Labourer

Published 22 Jun 2018

In previous articles from Gerard Malouf and Partners we have mentioned that workers compensation insurers generally pay high amounts in workers compensation claims. There is a misconception that compensation amounts in workers compensation claims are very limited and insignificant. However, at Gerard Malouf & Partners we realise that there is a number of various opportunities for compensation available to injured workers.  The combined payments of compensation will reach significant amounts.

This particular individual was not only able to receive a significant amount in compensation, he did so despite the fact that he did not necessarily have a great working track record and was not a high income earner. Further, he had a pre-existing right knee injury, which was the body region that was injured at work during the course of his employment when he fell off a ladder.

Despite the fact that he had a previous right knee injury, the aggravation was significant enough that the insurer had no obligation but to accept liability for all his statutory entitlements. The insurer paid all his related medical expenses and travelling expenses when attending medical appointments or examinations. They also paid for rehabilitation and contributed towards weekly compensation payments during his extensive period of incapacity. Added to that, the insurer also provided funding for our client to participate in a course as part of retraining. The cost of the retraining course was over $7,000 and upon completion it provided an opportunity for our client to re-enter the workforce in a different and more suitable role as a graphic designer.

In addition to these statutory entitlements of which our client had received, Gerard Malouf & Partners finalised an impairment lump sum claim, ensuring that our client receive further monetary compensation and this was in excess of $30,000.

As this labourer had satisfied the threshold requirement of 15% Whole Person Impairment (WPI) we were able at Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate a common law claim on his behalf. Of course, in common law proceedings we are required to prove that the employer was negligent, which had led to the injury. Although it appeared that our client’s own inattention contributed to his fall from the ladder, we pleaded that there should have been a safer system of work, which would have avoided this injury. Nevertheless, the insurer’s legal representative continued to defend the claim quite vigorously.

In order to have this matter resolved, a mediation had been organised and despite our best efforts, the claim did not settle at mediation.

Although the claim had not settled at mediation, the parties continued to negotiate. At GMP Lawyers we proceeded with ongoing negotiations with the defendant’s legal representative whilst at the same time providing our client with ongoing advice and seeking his instructions for exchanges of offers. Eventually, the common law claim resolved around $250,000, to the great satisfaction of our client.

Despite the fact that our client had not displayed a great work history and also despite that there was an arguable case that he was a big contributor to his own fall, the claim resolved for a significant amount as mentioned above.

The total compensation paid by the insurer was around $550,000.00. This included payments made to him, both in relation to his statutory workers compensation entitlements and common law rights.

The particular claim for this individual had various challenges. Firstly, the injury sustained was to his right knee where there was a pre-existing problem. Further, it was arguable that our client’s own inattention contributed partly to the fall from the ladder and finally pay records showed an inconsistent work history. Despite the deficiencies in the case, we at Gerard Malouf & Partners were able to reap the maximum compensation for him, including payments for a retraining course and also lump sum amounts for his impairment and common law rights. It all came down to proper understanding of the processes and astute preparation.