In 2010, a woman was murdered by her business partner and de facto husband in the bedroom of the home where they both worked as a financial advisory business. A decade later, the case was at the center of a workers' compensation case in which her children were ultimately granted an award from the NSW Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer.
Specifically, the woman's children filed a suit in 2017, arguing that because his mother had been murdered in the home where she and her partner worked and that the incident had happened during business hours, her work had been a "substantial contributing factor" in her death, according to court filings. The victim, Michel Carroll, was murdered by her partner, who was later found not guilty by reason of mental illness; he suffered paranoid delusions.
At the time of her death, the older child was a teenager, but the younger was a newborn.
In late 2018, an arbitrator for the Workers Compensation Commission found that the workers' compensation filed by the children was correct – Carroll had died as a result of an injury arising from and in the course of her work. However, the Nominal Insurer brought that ruling to the Court of Appeal, arguing that Carroll's work environment had been "peaceful" and nothing there placed her at risk of the attack that caused her death, as well as the fact that her murderer, Steven Lesley Hill, were not related to their work.
However, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was possible the workplace had not been peaceful prior to the deadly attack and, in any case, was not peaceful on that day in 2010. Further, it added that there was sufficient evidence to suggest the delusions that led to the attack were at least partially related to the work itself, among other factors.
What it means for the children
As a consequence of the Court of Appeals upholding the prior ruling, Carroll's children will share a substantial lump-sum payment (greater than $450,000) on a workers' compensation claim, according to the Shepparton News. In addition, they will continue to receive a weekly allowance until they leave full-time schooling or turn 21 years old.
If you believe you may be eligible to make a workers' compensation claim on behalf of yourself or a family member, get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners. We will be able to walk you through your options with a free consultation and determine if you qualify for our No Win No Fee programme.