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Understanding back injury payouts in Australia

Unfortunately, back injuries are quite common. No matter the severity of the incident, they should be handled with the utmost care to ensure the health and safety of the person who has sustained the injury. 

If you’ve experienced a workplace or public liability injury as a result of negligence, or motor vehicle accident that resulted in damage to your back, you may be eligible to file an injury compensation claim.

Here, we’ll answer all of your questions regarding back injuries and compensation payment, such as:

  • What are common types of back injuries and symptoms?
  • What schemes are available to you to file a claim under?
  • How do you know if you’re eligible to pursue a claim? 
  • How do you begin the filing process?
  • How long do you have to initiate a claim after sustaining a back injury?
  • Why is it important to involve professional personal injury lawyers to assist with your back injury claim?


We’ll also outline some integral next steps that you should take in order to ensure that your claim is lodged in a timely manner and that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Common back injury circumstances

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

Workplace back 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.
  • Less than ideal 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 waiting tables, nursing, warehousing or construction. Even desk work can cause lower back pain if you have poor posture while sitting. If you’ve experienced a work related 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.

Motor vehicle accident back injury

Back injuries are also common in cases of 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.

Public liability and slip and fall back injury

Through no fault of your own, public liability slip and fall injuries are often the culprit for breaks, sprains, bruising and fractures in the back. Public liability laws hold businesses and third parties accountable when an injury occurs on their property or premises as a result of negligence or failure to take reasonable care. Common places were 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.

Seeking medical attention

Most of these incidents, save for more devastating car accidents, commonly cause lower back pain and injury. Damage to the back often results in muscular strain, torn ligaments, a herniated disc and other ailments that can range in severity. In these cases, the distinction between pain and injury is an important one to make.

Minor pain should not be disregarded immediately as it could evolve into something serious. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and a doctor will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Common back injuries and symptoms

It’s important to assess the nature of your injury and situation so that it can be addressed appropriately. Thus, being aware of common injuries and their symptoms can help you make a better judgement in terms of 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 actually 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 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.
  • A fever after a fall.
  • Pain when you try to breathe, laugh, cough or sneeze, or any other movement.


It’s important to remember that after a fall, you should not be moved at all until medical professionals can help you. If the pain doesn’t subside after a few days, you should see a doctor and seek legal counsel as soon as reasonably 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 and that the injury doesn’t become any worse, the back injury claims professionals here at Gerard Malouf and Partners can provide expert legal advice on how to best proceed with your case.

There are a few different schemes available to injured persons:

  • Workers compensation. This scheme is for people who have been injured on the job, but it was not directly the fault of your employers. For example, a slip or a fall off a ladder.
  • Public liability and common law damages. This compensation scheme is for people who have suffered at least 15% whole body impairment. 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. This means not only getting sound medical advice, but also proving the negligent circumstances that the entity was operating under. Nevertheless, it’s best to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for expert legal advice on how best to proceed with your claim.

As a result of your back injury, whether it was sustained at work, by way of motor vehicle accident, negligence or public liability, you may be able to claim the following as economic loss:

  • 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.


And non economic losses for things such as:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of amenities.
  • And more.

How long you have to initiate the claims process for a back injury

Pertinent timelines vary by state, but in most cases you have up to three years to make a claim. Most of the time, this is measured from the date that the incident occurred, however, in some cases, it may be measured from the time 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.

At Gerard Malouf and Partners, we’ll make sure that you have all the necessary information required to file a claim and walk you through the process while explaining everything along the way.

How much a person can 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 claim, the average payout amount for serious work-related injuries, including back injuries, is $13,500 according to the most recently available statistics from Safe Work Australia.

Public liability common law cases due to an owner or occupier’s negligence in places such as shopping centres, everyday shops, other people’s housing or any public or private place can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How hiring a law firm can assist you in getting the best possible compensation

Any potentially debilitating injuries need to be taken seriously. Damage to your back can result in severe health consequences for the rest of your body that linger or get worse over time.

Engaging the back injury claims professionals at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Case study

Here’s how we helped a client of ours secure a $250,000 common law claim for their back injury at work:

In this case, 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 payment for both his impairment, pain and suffering under the Workers Compensation Scheme.

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.

The necessary impairment threshold to pursue a common law claim is 15% whole person impairment. As we were also able to 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, where the claim was resolved for $250,000.

Being relatively young and hard-working, our client certainly deserved this outcome. He continues to work full time and earn a living, making the expedient resolution and considerable amount a win-win for everyone.

As with all our claims, this was run expediently but it was done without compromising the value of our client’s compensation payout.

How Gerard Malouf and Partners can help

Your back injury claim lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners 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 we have the knowledge and expertise to file your back injury claim, no matter the cause. For more information or to set up a no-obligation consultation to receive legal advice about your back injury, from a motor vehicle accident or public liability slip and fall, contact the personal injury law professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners today.

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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