Changes in Queensland common law work injuries rumoured
Soon after the launch of our new boutique compensation law firm we received numerous enquiries from Queenslanders looking for advice across a range of topics. The enquiries came from Southport, Beenleigh, Highgate Hill, the Sunshine Coast, Greenslopes and one from as far away as Melbourne!
Clients sought clarification of their workplace rights (employment law) under the Fair Work Act (Cth). We got instructions from the clients and we hope to bring you some examples of those cases soon.
In the meantime, Queenslanders await developments to any changes to the common law (negligence) provisions of the Workers’ Compensation & Rehabilitation Act (Qld). The Newman LNP Government had legislated changes to the way in which injured workers in Queensland could claim damages for work injuries.
One change was that for work injuries sustained from 15 October 2013 inclusive, an injured worker must have a ‘degree of permanent impairment’ resulting greater than 5%. This was the threshold before being able to pursue a common law claim for the negligence of their employer.
This is very significant because workers’ compensation benefits rarely last longer than two years. Whereas, a common law damages claim takes into account an injured worker’s likely loss of earnings to anticipated retirement age. Thousands of Queenslanders thereby lost entitlement to pursue a much larger, more encompassing common law (negligence) claim that would adequately compensate them for their loss and injury. The new Palaszczuk Labor Government may be considering the repeal of the former LNP Government’s restrictions, thereby restoring the former, more generous workplace damages system.
If you have any questions about changes to personal injury claims for workplace accidents, then contact us.