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Understanding back injury payouts in Australia

If you’ve experienced a back injury due to another person’s or entity’s negligence, you may have grounds to file an injury compensation claim.

This article covers what you need to know if you’re considering making a personal injury compensation claim for a back injury, including the eligibility criteria and typical compensation payout amounts.. For personalised advice, book a free, non-obligation consultation with a specialised compensation lawyer who can advise you on the optimal legal pathways forward.

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Back injury claims: am I eligible?

Back injuries can stem from various circumstances — from car crashes to a fall and even as a result of medical negligence. If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Did the person or institution responsible for my injury legally owe me a duty of care? This refers to their obligation to ensure your safety to the best of their ability. For instance, all doctors owe their patients a duty of care, requiring them to provide prudent, competent medical services. Similarly, all drivers owe other road users a duty of care, requiring them to drive responsibly and according to the relevant road laws.

2. Did they breach their duty of care? For a medical provider, a duty of care breach could be in the form of a misdiagnosis or surgical error. For a driver, it may be in the form of driving under the influence or speeding. For an owner of a public space, a breach may arise due to improper property maintenance or lack of necessary signage.

3. Did the breach of their duty of care directly result in the back injury? There needs to be a direct link between the negligence and your back injury. Here, the help of a medical and legal team becomes particularly useful, alongside evidence such as camera footage, communications records, and other documents that highlight the link.

If you believe that the negligence of another person or entity caused your injury, then trust the personal injury lawyers at GMP Law to prove this for you, ensuring that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.

Common back injury claims

The most common back injury claims are made as the result of the following:

Motor vehicle accident injury

Back injuries are also common following motor vehicle accidents. Intense, sudden shock and force can cause serious damage — especially to the back. If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident that has resulted in a back injury, we can help you understand your options and get you the compensation you deserve via a motor vehicle accident claim.

Slip and fall injury

Slips, trips and falls are often the culprit for breaks, sprains, bruising and fractures in the back. Public liability claims hold negligent businesses and individuals accountable when an injury occurs on their property or premises. Common places where people may sustain serious injury and hold a business publicly liable are:

  • Stairs
  • Escalators
  • Sidewalks
  • Parking lots
  • Shops
  • Shopping centres
  • Restaurants
  • Someone else’s housing
  • Any other public or private location

Workplace injury

Workplace back injuries are one of the most common types of injury reports. This can happen in a number of different ways, whether it’s a single event or the result of continuous and repetitive motions. Either of these situations may occur as the result of improper training, disregard for proper technique, or harmful working conditions.

Minor aches and soreness could be the result of a few different situations. To give you an idea, here are some examples of things that could result in minor back pain in the workplace:

  • Standing on your feet all day.
  • Doing repetitive motions without taking time to rest.
  • Not wearing proper footwear for the job.
  • Failing to heed best practices when lifting something off the ground.


Some professions place a significant demand on your back, such as nursing, warehousing or construction. Even desk work can cause lower back pain if you have poor posture while sitting. If you’ve experienced a workplace injury, you should notify your employer as soon as possible, as it will be up to them to initiate the worker’s compensation insurance process.

Common back injuries and symptoms

It’s important to assess the nature of your injury and situation so that it can be addressed appropriately. Being aware of common injuries and their symptoms can help you make a better judgement in seeking care and determining if you have grounds to take legal action.

While you do not have to be severely injured to file a claim, the amount of compensation you can receive will depend on how bad the injury is.

According to Health Direct, common back injuries include:

  • Herniated disks.
  • Fractured vertebrae.
  • Strains and sprains.


Symptoms of common and severe back injuries should be closely monitored, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following in the moments or days following your incident:

  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities.
  • Blood in your urine or stool.
  • Paralysis anywhere on the body.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fever.
  • Pain while breathing, laughing, coughing or sneezing, or any other movement.

If the pain doesn’t subside after a few days, you should see a doctor and seek legal counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options in pursuing an injury compensation claim.

Compensation for people with back injuries

Individuals who have sustained minor or severe back damage while at work, in a motor vehicle accident or as a result of negligence may have adequate grounds to pursue compensation. After you’ve visited a doctor to ensure your safety, the back injury claims professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners can provide expert legal advice on how to best proceed with your case.

There are different schemes available to injured persons, depending on the cause of the injury:

  • Workers compensation: This scheme is for people who have been injured while at work, but it was not directly the fault of your employers. For example, a slip or a fall off a ladder.
  • Common law damages: A claim for damages is for people who have suffered at least 15% whole-body impairment as a result of negligence. All places that are considered public, such as buildings and, in some cases, rental and other private properties, are required by law to have public liability insurance. If you suffer a slip and fall injury as a result of owner or occupier negligence, you may be eligible to pursue a public liability common law claim.


Common law damages require persons to prove that the employer or entity was at fault for the injury.

Whether your back injury was sustained at work, by way of a motor vehicle accident, or negligence in a public setting, you may be able to claim economic loss for:

  • Any medical expenses associated with treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages and superannuation.
  • Legal costs associated with your back injury claim.
  • Home modification i.e. a stair lift or new bed.


In addition, depending on your specific case, you may be able to receive compensation for the following non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering, or
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of amenities.
  • Psychological injury.

How long do I have to initiate the claims process for a back injury?

Pertinent timelines vary by state, but generally, you have up to three years to make a common law damages claim. Most of the time, this is measured from the date that the incident occurred, however, in some cases, it may be measured from when you realised that you had an injury.

Since regulations differ and depend on a number of factors, it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. We recommend making initial contact with back injury claims professionals no more than six months after you sustained your injury. We will be able to verify these important timelines and ensure that everything is in motion well before the state-set deadlines.

How much can I expect to receive from a back injury payout?

The nature of your unique situation will determine the injury compensation payout amount you’re entitled to, and it can vary greatly.

For workers who file a workers compensation scheme claim, the average payout amount for serious work-related injuries, including back injuries, is approximately $15,000 according to the most recently available statistics from Safe Work Australia.

If you are eligible to make a common law damages claim, your case can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Case summary: A workplace back injury leads to $250,000 in compensation

Our client was a young and very motivated worker who sustained a serious back injury during his employment. The injury was so significant he was required to undergo surgery. Even though his injury had not yet stabilised, he contacted our office for assistance nine months after the injury and only five months following surgery.

Our client was not stable enough for an assessment until about two years following the incident. At that time, an appointment was promptly organised and an injury assessment was completed by a reputable WorkCover Assessor. The assessment determined that our client had suffered 17% whole-person impairment, which allowed the worker to receive a lump sum compensation payment for both his impairment and the pain and suffering associated with the injury.

As we had all the relevant supportive medical evidence available, including the medico-legal assessment, the insurer felt obligated to accept our claim and the matter was resolved accordingly for a figure of close to $44,000. This amount represented his impairment and pain and suffering only. Since we could also prove through available evidence how the employer’s negligence contributed to the injury, we immediately commenced common law proceedings.

The matter progressed quickly and eventually led to a mediation settlement, where the claim was resolved for a lump sum compensation payment of $250,000.

How GMP Law can help

Your personal injury lawyers at GMP Law will not only help you organise your case and file a claim but can also assist you in obtaining any rehabilitation services you may need.

At GMP Law, our legal services are competent, committed and compassionate. We have the expertise necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Whether you’ve suffered from a work injury, medical negligence, car crash or other form of personal injury, our compensation law specialists are available to assess your case and provide you with free legal advice. To set up a no-obligation consultation, contact the personal injury law professionals at GMP Law today.

Case Summaries

Workers Compensation Claims

About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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