From Accidents to Advocacy
Empowering Yourself in the Face of Personal Injury.
What is Personal Injury Compensation?
Most people have only a basic understanding of what constitutes a personal injury claim and what a personal injury lawyer does. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of injured in an accident, you may be left wondering ‘Do I have a claim?’
Steps to take after an accident:
- Identify what caused the accident.
- Take photos of the accident site and any contributing factors.
- Get the name and contact details of witnesses to the accident.
- Report the accident to those responsible for the space.
- Do not sign any document (especially a release) that may be given to you by those responsible.
- Seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
If you were injured through no fault of your own in any of the following scenarios, you may have a claim:
Road Accident Claims
Compensation for injuries and damages in road accidents is administered by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), meaning that if you are a victim of the following, you are entitled to TAC benefits:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorbike Accidents
- Tram, Train, and Bus Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents and Bicycle Accidents (provided a motor vehicle was involved)
Most TAC accident benefits are provided on a no-fault basis. You merely have to prove that your injuries stemmed from the operation of a motor vehicle, not that anyone else was at fault for the accident.
In cases of serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, you can pursue common law personal injury compensation through the TAC, covering loss of earnings, future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Injured on the job or suffer an illness related to your employment? You can lodge a claim for WorkCover benefits which are provided on a no-fault basis, meaning you do not have to prove that negligence was a factor. Reporting the injury to your employer is the first step, and needs to be done within 30 days of the incident.
WorkCover benefits for medical treatment expenses and wage replacement may be available for injuries such as:
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Psychological injuries including stress, anxiety, and depression
- Chronic illnesses including Asbestosis and Silicosis
An employee may also make a claim for common law personal injury damages if you can prove that someone else, including your employer, was responsible for your work injury and the harm you have suffered constitutes a ‘serious injury’.
Public Liability Claims
If you have been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own in a public space – and it didn’t involve a motor vehicle or a workplace incident – you may be entitled to claim compensation for your losses through a public liability claim.
Some common examples of accidents occurring in a public place include:
- Slips, trips and falls in shopping centres, retail centres, cinemas, hotels, or car parks.
- Dog bites.
- Balcony collapse accidents.
- Accidents occurring on footpaths or other public spaces.
- Accidents occurring at schools, parks or playgrounds.
- Boat and jet-ski accidents.
Victims of such accidents caused by negligence may be entitled to a range of compensation including the cover of hospital bills and other medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or the cost of hiring help for household tasks.
We all place a lot of faith in healthcare providers when we’re sick or injured, or when a friend or family member has to undergo a surgical procedure.
So, when medical treatment doesn’t go according to plan it can be traumatic. While medical negligence may not play a part in a poor outcome, if an error has been made and an accepted standard of care breached, you could beentitled to claim compensation.
In many ways a medical negligence claim follows the same process as a public liability claim. But with one major difference – it all comes down to understanding the medical evidence and getting the right expert medical evidence to support the claim.
As a consumer you expect the products you purchase and use to be safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some examples of the kinds of products that may be defective include:
- Cars and automotive parts and components, such as air bags and brake systems.
- Medications and medical devices, such as hip implants and surgical mesh.
- Toys and other children’s products, such as car seats, cots, and prams.
- Household appliances, such as toasters, washing machines, and tools.
The company that designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold a dangerous product that causes injury may be responsible for paying compensation.
Strict time limits apply to defective product claims. Taking swift action is beneficial because it improves the chances for securing crucial evidence that could make the difference in the success of your claim.
Time Limits for Filing a Claim
The time limit to file a personal injury claim varies depending on the type of claim. In general, it’s three years for public liability and medical negligence cases, and six years for TAC claims and workplace accidents.
Claimants are generally barred from compensation if they lodge a claim after the time limit elapses.
Although this may seem like a significant amount of time, in reality there is no time to lose. It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin building your claim before you miss the opportunity to recover fair compensation.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Personal injury claims cover economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- The cost of attendant care services, such as hiring a home healthcare worker
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Hiring a Good Lawyer
Knowing your rights after a personal injury can be challenging. Your right to compensation is subject to multiple statutes and procedures, and filing a claim on your own is often difficult which is why a personal injury lawyer is your best ally.
Legal experts, like the team at Henry Carus + Associates, understand the intricacies of personal injury compensation and can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve while you focus on your well being.
To sum it up, understanding your rights and seeking legal advice are essential steps after suffering an accident or serious injury. We hope this information assists anyone in our community exploring avenues for compensation.
Courtesy of David Halhead, Senior Associate, Henry Carus + Associates