Work injury damages

Work injury damages (WID) are a type of settlement to resolve a claim in circumstances where an employer's negligence has contributed to the causation of a workplace injury.

These settlements extinguish all further entitlements to workers compensation benefits (including weekly payments, and medical, hospital and rehabilitation expenses) associated with that injury.

A WID settlement is made with consideration for an injured worker's loss of earnings (past and future).

There are a number of specific criteria that must be met in order to access WID:

  • The work injury must occur as a result of employer negligence
  • The injury must have resulted in a minimum 15 per cent whole person impairment (WPI)
  • At least six months have elapsed between the date of injury and the commencement of proceedings
  • A claim for WPI was made before or at the same time as the claim for work injury damages, and
  • Court proceedings have commenced within three years of the date of injury, unless leave is granted by the Court. Whether leave is granted to commence proceedings out of time will depend on the worker's and/or their legal representative providing a satisfactory explanation for the delay and the extent to which the defendant is prejudiced by the delay.

There are four elements a worker must overcome to establish liability / negligence in work injury damages claims:

  • their employer owed them a duty of care
  • there was a breach of that duty of care
  • the employer's negligence caused the worker to suffer loss, and
  • there was a foreseeable risk of injury associated with the work they were doing.

They will need the assistance of a lawyer to commence WID proceedings.

There are a number of legislatively-mandated steps to a WID claim and these will take some time to work through. Their lawyer will be able to assist with advice during each stage and will attend to most of the detail including advice on legal fees.

The WID processes occur independently of the day-to-day conduct of their claim, which will continue as normal in the background until settlement occurs.

Once settled under WID, there can be no further payments made under the claim and it will then close. 

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