Courts Side With Insurers in Inter-State Workers Compensation Case

Date: Feb 20, 2020

The Supreme Court of Queensland ruled against a delivery driver who had filed for workers compensation based on Queensland’s scheme, rather than that of New South Wales, where his employer was based.

Although the man reported to work in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, each morning he made up to 80% of his deliveries in Queensland. Organisationally, his employer’s Tweed Heads office was a part of Queensland operations, and as a result, the man worked on Queensland’s time zone schedule during daylight savings.

The man was badly injured in 2010 while delivering a hot water system to a construction work site in Goonellabah, New South Wales. Following the injury, the man sued his employer for workers compensation. When the company’s insurer, WorkCover Queensland, sought to cover damages under the New South Wales workers compensation scheme, the case went to court.

Ultimately, Queensland’s Supreme Court sided with the insurer. To decide the case, the court looked at both the place the employee usually worked and where they were based. The court defined the word “usually” to be nonexclusive to one place, so that an employee could “usually” work in both Queensland and New South Wales. The court defined the place that an employee is based as being where they start and finish each day. Since the delivery driver started and finished each workday at a warehouse in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, he was legally a New South Wales-based employee.

Different Compensation Schemes

Queensland and New South Wales each have different laws regulating workers compensation. In this particular case, the injured driver felt that Queensland’s laws were more favourable to his case. New South Wales law only allows for payment that covers past and future wage and superannuation loss. Queensland’s laws, meanwhile, offer a wider interpretation of workers compensation that can include future medical expenses, as well as provisions for “pain and suffering.”

Many other sections of New South Wales and Queensland workers compensation law overlap significantly, and both states follow all of the relevant national laws.

The Right Team For You

Whatever the specifics of your workers compensation case, call the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners to get the ball rolling. We offer free on-the-phone and face-to-face consultations and generally work on a no-win/no-fee basis. We recognise the importance of securing compensation for you and your family and have decades of experience taking on insurance companies and winning.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.