NSW man fights contributory negligence argument to receive injury compensation

Date: Mar 24, 2014

A recent injury compensation case heard by the District Court of New South Wales may be of some interest to people thinking about making personal disability claims of their own.

In December 2012, Mr M brought a claim against his employer, seeking compensation for a work-related injury he suffered 10 years earlier.

Mr M’s employer had denied liability for his injury and argued that it was not a case of all-out negligence, but rather contributory negligence. In other words, Mr M was partly to blame for the injury he suffered, and therefore was not eligible to receive additional compensation.

The employer also said that Mr M had failed to bring his case before the District Court of New South Wales within the time allocated by the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

In addition to this, Mr M had already been granted $65,135.02 under the Workers Compensation Act 1987, which his employer also used to poke holes in his case.

Ordinarily, anyone who is entitled to claim injury compensation under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 must initiate court proceedings within three years of receiving their injury, otherwise they revoke their eligibility.

This is for a number of reasons, but mainly because relevant evidence can be lost if too many years are permitted to pass before a case is made, and the District Court regards it as “oppressive to the defendant” if proceedings are allowed be instigated long after the injury has taken place.

There are cases, however, where the District Court will allow a case brought after this amount of time to proceed. Mr M’s just happened to be one of them.

Mr M received a severe hand injury while cutting wood using a circular saw. The plaintiff managed to arrange photo evidence of his injury while in hospital, so the District Court was left in no doubt as to the severity of his condition.

The employer claimed that Mr M was well-trained in using the equipment that caused his injury, and should have known to switch the circular saw off as soon as it became jammed.

However, Mr M replied the accident had all happened so quickly that he didn’t have time to prevent the hand injury from occurring. The judge ruled in his favour, stating that Mr M’s ability to work was “substantially diminished” by his injury. He will be granted $656,275.00.

If you need to make work-related injury or TPD claims, get in touch with compensation lawyers today.

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