Case brings questions about fatal injuries while on the clock
Such a case was presented to the Court of Appeal recently, when a man filed an appeal in accordance with the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 and the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The original case was regarding his wife’s death while on the job for the State of New South Wales, where she engaged in transport duties for the Home Care Services Division. While she was returning to the work site from dropping off three patients, she suffered a severe asthma attack which led to a fatal cardiac arrest.
The appellant is claiming that, under the acts cited, he deserves compensation because his wife’s death resulted from an injury that took place during the course of employment, as referred to in the Workers Compensation Act of 1987 s25. He also cited s4(b)(ii), which states that the employment was a contributing factor to the “aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation, or deterioration” of the injury. The question was then whether or not the deceased’s employment substantially contributed to the injury which led to her death.
The court found that the deceased had continued to drive the vehicle for 25-30 minutes after the onset of the asthma attack, and she only pulled the vehicle over when a passenger encouraged it. She had taken no action to mitigate the attack or prevent it from escalating, even though there were two nurses in the vehicle she was driving. She was also in possession of Ventolin, a drug used to treat asthma, which could have helped her attack had she administered it.
The arbitrator found no connection between the deceased’s injury and her employment, which may have been different had she taken action once she started experiencing the severe asthma attack. The appeal was dismissed.
If you have suffered an injury while on the job, you may be entitled to workers compensation. To find out if you are eligible to claim, contact us at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers right away.