Steel worker receives close to $280,000 in payout for burn injury

PUBLISHED 03 Oct 2019

During 2014 in the course of this man’s employment as a steelworker he sustained significant burns to the lower half of his right leg due to the negligence of his employer. His employer had failed to provide appropriate protective footwear. On the day of the injury a colleague who was pouring molten metal into a cast had suddenly lost balance and tipped this onto the workers right leg causing significant scarring, impairment, loss and damage.

The workers compensation insurer accepted liability for this injury and he was entitled to receive weekly compensation and medical benefits due to his incapacity to work. His weekly compensation was paid for by the insurer after a determination of his pre-injury average earnings, and he received all required medical treatment such as specialised treatment at the hospital burns unit.

After his injury had reached a point of maximum medical improvement we were able to have his significant scarring assessed for impairment by a plastic surgeon at no cost through funding from the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO). His injury was determined through the relevant medical assessments and his final whole person impairment was determined to be 22% whole person impairment (WPI) which entitled him to receive around $40,000 in compensation.

Further, as this assessment was above the statutory required level of 15%WPI this allowed us to lodge a common law, or Work Injury Damages (WID) claim on his employer through the workers compensation insurer. Commonly known as am employer negligence claim.

Usually, this type of claim is conducted on the basis of the worker being incapacitated to work until retirement age. Now in this case, although our client had sustained significant scarring he was still able to return to his pre-injury employment on modified duties fairly soon after the accident.

A WID, or negligence claim is limited to a claim for pure economic loss with the following components:

1) Income – claimed from the date of injury until retirement age.
2) Superannuation – claimed at 11%
3) Tax – Monies paid on tax on weekly compensation per the principles in Fox v Wood.

Given the client had been able to return to work, the future economic loss component was more difficult to determine and therefore a buffer was claimed to compensate him for future economic loss. Although he was able to return to work after his injury, it was unlikely he would reach the same position within the company in years to come, had he not been injured.

Through obtaining an experienced barristers’ advice as well as the opinion of an industrial safety expert we prepared a claim and lodged this on the insurer for their determination. After attendance at a compulsory mediation with the Defendant, we successfully managed to negotiate a settlement that saw our client receive close to $280,000 clear in his pocket despite still working and earning an income.

Our expert team here at Gerard Malouf & Partners offer a “no win, no fee” arrangement where the client does not have to pay any fees until their matter is successfully resolved.

Have you suffered a workplace injury? Or do you know someone who has?

Contact Gerard Malouf and Partners on 1800 205 909 for a complementary free consultation to assess your legal rights and to provide you with free advice.

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