Expert Personal Injury Lawyers
Accredited Specialists in motor vehicle accidents, workers compensation claims & public liability
East Coast Injury Lawyers is a Law Firm specialising in all aspects of personal injury law. Strict time limits apply when making a claim. Do not delay.
We have injury law firm offices in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Southport, Logan and Beenleigh (visited).
We service all of Queensland and we will pay upfront for our regional clients’ travel expenses to consult with our doctors and attend any settlement conferences which will take place in the Brisbane region. If you are too injured to attend our offices, we can arrange visits with our lawyers to see you in your home or hospital.
During a free consulatation, we will:
Listen to the facts of your matter, answer any questions you have about the law and evaluate the circumstances of your case.
Advise you as to whether you have a claim and the likelihood of receiving compensation. It is important that you do not evaluate the validity of your claim on your own. Always seek legal advice from work injury, motor vehicle accident or personal injury lawyers as to whether you have a case.
Explain the process of making a claim and what will be required of you.
All You need to know about Personal Injury Compensation Claims
Can a personal injury lawyer attend at my home address for an initial consultation about the claim?
We are happy to attend at the home address of clients for an initial, no obligation consultation in relation to their claim.
Is the first attendance in relation to my personal injury claim no obligation and free?
Yes the first attendance is a free no-obligation consultation.
What are Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury Law?
A Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in personal injury law means that a solicitor has undertaken an extensive period of study and examination in the area of personal injury law and has passed this course and examination.
Given the difficulty in passing the accreditation course, there are only a limited number of Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury Law in Queensland.
What is a no win, no fee personal injury lawyer?
A no win, no fee lawyer allows injured people to access compensation for the injuries they have sustained without having to pay legal fees or outlays until their claims have successfully resolved and they have received a damages pay out. This means we can run your claim with no upfront costs paid by you. We will only charge you on successful conclusion of your claim. If you do not receive a settlement award, we will not charge a fee or recoup our outlays.
What types of injuries does East Coast Injury Lawyers deal with?
What types of personal injury claims does the firm take on?
How much does a personal injury lawyer charge?
Most reputable personal injury lawyers will take your claim on a no win no fee basis, provided they are confident that your claim has reasonable prospects of success. That means that you do not have to pay anything to your solicitor for their time until you achieve a successful outcome in your claim. The personal injury lawyer is then paid for their time out of your settlement monies.
Our firm also covers any expenses (sometimes called “outlays” or “disbursements”) associated with the claim, such as the costs of conducting relevant searches (like motor vehicle registration searches, police report searches, business name searches and company searches of potential defendants or employers), obtaining copies of any medical records and obtaining expert medical evidence. We are then reimbursed for those expenses once you receive your settlement monies.
In terms of how much you will be charged, this varies from firm to firm and will also depend on how much work is required in order to resolve your claim.
Most personal injury law firms will charge on a time cost basis, calculated on an hourly rate broken down into six (6) minute intervals. Some of the larger firms can charge as much as $200 more per hour than what the smaller firms charge, due to the need for those larger firms to cover their significant overheads, large advertising budget and, in some cases, being answerable to shareholders on the stock market. There can therefore be a significant difference between what you are charged from firm to firm.
Being charged less by a smaller, boutique firm is not the only advantage. You also receive that personal service and contact from the smaller firms that you would not necessarily receive from the larger firms.
In terms of overall costs, in smaller claims (eg a settlement of, say, $30,000), the personal injury lawyer’s fees may be as low as $5,000 to $10,000 (even if the solicitor has undertaken more work than what that represents) and in larger claims (eg $400,000 or more) your fees may be in excess of $100,000, depending on the stage at which your matter resolves.
Obviously, if you proceed to trial then your costs may be very significant, whereas if you resolve your claim at the earliest possible opportunity, without selling yourself short, then you can save a significant amount in costs.
What do personal injury lawyers cover?
There are a number of different types of claims that personal injury lawyers handle, including the following:
- Car accident injury claims – these claims can even arise from single vehicle accidents if you are a passenger or if someone else’s negligence caused the accident;
- Motorbike accident injury claims – these claims can even arise from a single motorcycle accident if you are a passenger or if someone else’s negligence caused the accident;
- Work accident injury claims – even if your employer has taken you one as a subcontractor and you work under an ABN, you may still have an entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits and any claim that flows from that;
- Boating accident injury claims;
- Public liability injury claims – eg claims that arise from accidents happening at the beach, in a park, on a footpath, on Council owned land, etc;
- Occupiers liability claims – ie claims that arise from injuries sustained on someone else’s property, whether that be at their home or place of business, in the property you are renting, at a shopping centre or at a theme park, for instance;
- Medical negligence claims – where your treating practitioner’s conduct has failed to meet a reasonable standard of care;
- Total and permanent disability claims – where because of injury, illness or disability, you are unlikely to return to any work for which you are reasonably qualified by way of education, training or experience. In some cases, you may be entitled to these benefits if you cannot return to your usual occupation (rather than any work for which you are recently qualified);
- Income protection claims – which might arise under your superannuation policy or under some other insurance policy that you have taken out. In some cases, you can receive these benefits (as a top up) whilst also receiving WorkCover benefits;
- Dependency claims – in circumstances where an income provider in the family has died as a result of someone else’s negligence, that person’s dependents can make a claim for the money that the deceased would have provided to them until they were no longer dependent upon them. A claim can also be made for the loss of the deceased’s services in and around the home;
- Nervous shock claims – these claims can be brought by witnesses to an accident or anyone with a close connection (e.g. family members) to the injured or deceased person, in circumstances where the witnesses or family members suffer a diagnosable psychiatric injury as a result of witnessing, or hearing about, the accident and the injuries sustained;
- Loss of consortium claim – this is a claim that exists in Queensland which can be brought by a spouse (including a defacto partner) for the loss of love and affection of their husband/wife/partner due to the impact that their injuries have had upon them. Most times, these claims will only be able to be brought when the injured person has suffered significant injuries, as there is a threshold which has to be met before a spouse can be entitled to claim loss of consortium compensation;
- Loss of servitium claim – this is a claim that exists in Queensland which can also be brought by a spouse (including a defacto partner) for the loss of services of their husband/wife/partner around the home (or, in some cases, at work, if self-employed) due to the impact that their injuries have had upon them. These claims will only be able to be brought when the injured person has suffered significant injuries (or has died), as there is a threshold which has to be met before a spouse can be entitled to claim loss of servitium compensation.
What is considered to be a personal injury?
Personal injuries come in many forms and compensation can be payable in many cases. A personal injury can arise from a number of different things, including the following:
- Physical or psychological injuries sustained directly as a result of an accident including road accidents, work accidents, accidents at home , accidents on private property and accidents on public property;
- Injuries sustained over a period of time from duties at work – these can include injuries to the back, shoulders, wrists and the like and can be caused by repetitive movements, prolonged heavy work, prolonged overhead work or using vibrating machinery like high pressure hoses, jack hammers, whippersnippers, blowers and the like;
- Injuries suffered secondary to, or as a result of, the original injuries – these might include a psychological injury, like an Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety and Depression, which develops as a result of the impact the original physical injury is having upon you. Other physical injuries can develop secondary to an original injury, like a shoulder injury developing in the left shoulder as a result of having to compensate for the lack of use of your right shoulder / arm / hand due to an injury;
- An aggravation of a pre-existing injury is considered to be an injury;
- An aggravation of pre-existing degeneration is considered to be an injury;
- Assaults at work, home, school or in a public place; and
- Diseases can be considered to be a personal injury, for compensation purposes, if they have been caused by someone else’s negligence – the types of diseases for which compensation can be payable might include mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos or silicosis caused by exposure to silica dust (suffered by many stonemasons).
The different types of personal injuries can include the following:
- Spinal injury including tetraplegia / quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia and monoplegia;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Head injury;
- Post concussion syndrome injury;
- Facial injuries;
- Injuries to eyes, ears, nose, throat, etc;
- Loss of sight, hearing, taste or smell;
- Injuries to teeth and gums;
- Whiplash injury;
- Orthopaedic injuries to cervical spine (neck injury);
- Shoulder injuries;
- Elbow injuries;
- Injuries to wrists, hands and fingers;
- Thoracic outlet syndrome injury;
- Brachial plexus injury;
- Orthopaedic injuries to thoracic spine (mid-upper back injury);
- Orthopaedic injuries to lumbar spine (lower back injury);
- Chest injuries;
- Internal injuries including injuries to organs (lungs, kidneys, ureter, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, etc);
- Injuries to male or female reproductive system (including impotence and sterility)
- Injuries to digestive system;
- Bowel and bladder injuries;
- Pelvis and hip injuries;
- Knee injuries;
- Ankle injuries;
- Foot injuries;
- Toe injuries;
- Degloving injuries;
- Amputation injuries to fingers, hands, arms, legs, foot or toes, etc
- Lacerated or torn tendons, ligaments and nerves;
- Soft tissue musculoligamentous injuries;
- Bruising, lacerations, cuts and abrasions;
- Burn injuries;
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) including carpal tunnel injuries;
- Cubital tunnel injuries of the elbow (which can be caused by constant/regular pressure on the elbow or the elbow impacting on a hard surface);
- Frozen shoulder injuries;
- Scarring; and
- Psychological injuries / mental disorders.
How do you calculate pain and suffering?
The amount payable for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities is complicated. In Queensland it is governed / restricted by legislation. In motor vehicle accident injury claims and public liability injury claims, for instance, pain and suffering is calculated by having reference to the Civil Liability Act 2003 and Civil Liability Regulation 2014.
The amount payable is calculated on a scale by reference to an allocated Injury Scale Value (“ISV”). The ISV is calculated for a single injury by:
- Determining which category or item you fall into in Schedule 4 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014. For instance, for someone who has been involved in a car accident and sustained a soft tissue musculoligamentous whiplash injury to their cervical spine, with no radiological evidence (x-rays, CT or MRI evidence) of any injury, they would most likely fall within item 88 of Schedule 4 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014, which carries an ISV range of 5 to 10;
- Once you have determined the appropriate item, you then have to work out which ISV within that range of ISVs for that item is appropriate. This is done by reading the examples and commentary in the relevant item and also the examples and commentary in the preceding and subsequent items within Schedule 4 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014. Further consideration then needs to be given to things like the injured person’s age, life expectancy, pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life, the effects of a pre-existing condition on the injured person and the difficulties in life that the injured person was likely to have experienced in any event whether the injury happened or not; and
- Once the appropriate ISV within the range of ISVs has been determined for that injury, then the amount payable for pain and suffering can be calculated in accordance with section 62 of the Civil Liability Act 2003 and Schedule 7 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014.
In cases where an injured person has suffered multiple injuries (more than one injury), the amount payable for pain and suffering is calculated by:
- Determining which of the multiple injuries is the “dominant injury”, which is defined to mean the injury with the highest range of ISVs (not the injury which is considered to be the most serious);
- You would therefore ascertain which category or item each of your injuries falls into in Schedule 4 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014;and then
- Whichever injury then has the highest potential ISV becomes the “dominant injury” and it is that item’s range of ISVs that is then used to calculate the appropriate ISV for your multiple injuries;
- Once again, consideration is given to the examples and commentary in the relevant item and the items preceding and following that item but also the examples and commentary within the appropriate items for all other injuries;
- If it is considered that the maximum ISV within the range of ISVs of the dominant injury is inadequate to compensate you for your multiple injuries, then an uplift can be applied, which according to the Regulation should rarely be more than 25%, although uplifts of up to 100% have been awarded in appropriate cases. For example, if the maximum ISV within the range of ISVs of the dominant injury is, say, 10, then a 25% uplift (or more) can applied, to bring the relevant ISV to 12.5, which rounds up to an ISV of 13;
- Once the appropriate ISV for the multiple injuries has been determined, then the amount payable for pain and suffering can again be calculated in accordance with section 62 of the Civil Liability Act 2003 and Schedule 7 of the Civil Liability Regulation 2014.
The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 contain similar provisions to regulate how pain and suffering is calculated in Queensland when pursuing a common law claim for damages in relation to a work accident.
How much should I ask for a Personal Injury Settlement?
Calculating how much compensation you should be entitled to as a result of a personal injury is extremely difficult. Even very experienced personal injury lawyers and judges can differ in their views on how much compensation a court should award someone for their injury. So what chance does a layperson (or even a lawyer who is not an expert in personal injury claims) have?
What’s more, every single case is different because every person’s personal circumstances are different. For instance, a 60 year old carpenter who suffers a debilitating back injury at work is going to receive much less compensation than a 30 year old carpenter who sustains the same injury. Numerous other things are then taken into consideration, like how much income that person had earned in the three (3) years prior to the accident, compared to after the accident. Someone who was earning $2,000 net per week, before suffering a debilitating injury, is going to receive much more compensation than someone who was earning $800 net per week prior to their injury. There are, of course, lots of exceptions to the rules that apply in these cases (for example, someone’s career path may have been on the rise when they were injured, such that their future earnings would have been substantially more than their past earnings, if not for the accident) and an expert personal injury wyer would know how to fully explore all of those issues.
The types of things that you can recover compensation for include the following:
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and loss of amenities of life;
- Past medical expenses, including treatment, medication, personal aids and devices (like crutches, walking sticks, wheelchairs and the like) incurred up to the date of settlement;
- Future medical expenses, including treatment, medication, personal aids and devices that are likely to be incurred or required in the future;
- Other expenses incurred up to the date of settlement, including costs incurred in having to pay a personal nurse or carer (for those seriously injured), a gardener to mow the lawn or tend to the gardens, a cleaner to come in regularly, expenses incurred in having to engage commercial contractors, tradesmen or handymen or costs incurred in having to get your car professionally cleaned, etc;
- Future expenses that may be incurred with respect to engaging a personal nurse or carer and/or any other domestic assistance providers;
- Expenses involved with having to alter your home and/or car as a result of your injuries;
- Past lost income;
- Past lost superannuation;
- Future lost earning capacity;
- Future lost superannuation;
- Past gratuitous care and assistance provided to you (by friends or family members);
- Future gratuitous care and assistance likely to be provided to you;
- Interest on some of (but not all) past losses suffered;
- Management fees (for management of any large settlement sums for anyone who is incapable of managing their own funds, including children and those that have suffered serious brain injuries); and
- Some of your legal costs (in certain cases).
There are limitations or thresholds, however, that apply with respect to some of those heads of damage. For instance, for compensation for gratuitous care and assistance to be paid in a motor vehicle accident injury claim or public liability injury claim you have to have received at least six (6) hours assistance per week for a minimum of six (6) months before you are entitled to receive anything for gratuitous care and assistance provided by your family and friends. In WorkCover claims, however, you are not entitled to claim anything at all for gratuitous care and assistance provided.
Future losses also have to be discounted to take into consideration the fact that you are receiving a lump sum now, which you can invest, rather than receiving much smaller amounts of money over a long period of time (in some cases, many years). For example, economic loss of $1,000 net per week over a period of, say, 10 years would be discounted to a maximum sum of $413,000 (instead of $520,000 calculated by multiplying $1,000 net per week x 52 weeks x 10 years) to reflect today’s value of receiving $1,000 net per week over a 10 year period. Further discounting is then taken into consideration for contingencies and the vicissitudes of life, which is intended to factor in other things that might occur to the injured person over that 10 year period, including other injuries, illnesses or death.
It is important to seek legal advice before offering to accept any amount of compensation for your injuries, to ensure that you do not undersell yourself, as you only get one bite of the cherry. Once a personal injury claim is settled, the insurance company will require you to sign a Release and Discharge which states, amongst other things, that you will never come back and ask for any more money.
What questions should I ask a personal injury lawyer?
There are no stupid questions; only stupid answers. Hopefully, you will have engaged an expert personal injury lawyer so that you do not receive any stupid answers.
Some of the important questions that you should ask, or should be thinking about, include the following:
- What evidence can I gather to help prove that the Defendant was responsible for my personal injury?
This might involve taking photographs of the accident scene or the equipment that you were using at the time or getting witness statements to confirm what you say occurred.
- What evidence can I obtain to help prove the nature and extent of the injuries that I have suffered?
This might take the form of obtaining a CT scan or MRI scan and/or making sure that you mention all symptoms and injuries that you are suffering to your doctor, physiotherapist and all other treating practitioners.
It might also include making sure that any workers’ compensation medical certificates or other medical certificates that you obtain from your doctor does list all injuries on each medical certificate, including any secondary psychological injury or other secondary injuries that you might have suffered or subsequently develop.
- What can I do to help convince the insurer (whether that be a CTP insurer, WorkCover Queensland or another insurer) that I am genuinely in pain and now have significant restrictions?
Your personal injury lawyer should impress upon you the fact that your credibility in these types of claims is very important and you therefore need to be consistent with what you are reporting to the insurer / WorkCover and your doctors, physiotherapist and/or other treating practitioners. If there are inconsistencies in what you are reporting or, if you have failed to report certain things, then the insurer will have difficulty believing what you are saying.
Insurers also consider what other evidence there is to support the fact that you do have ongoing pain and restriction. They will look at whether you have had to attend upon a doctor, physiotherapist, psychologist, specialist and/or other treating practitioners on a regular basis, whether you have had to take analgesic painkilling medication and/or antidepressant medication on a regular basis, whether you have had to pay for a cleaner, ironing lady, gardener or someone to wash your car as a result of your injuries when you previously did these things yourself, whether you have had friends or family assist you with those types of things, whether you have had to take time off work or leave early on a regular basis, whether you have had to change jobs or undertake lighter work as a result of your injuries, whether that is supported by your employer and also statements from friends and family about how your injuries have impacted upon you.
Other Compensation Claim Services
Slip & Fall Accidents
Whiplash is a type of spinal injury that affects the neck and is most commonly sustained in car accidents. It can lead to long-term discomfort and significant mobility loss, so it’s very important to seek compensation for whiplash enabling you to get the medical care you need.
5 Ways to Lose Your Injury Compensation Claims
We have outlined a simplified account as to some of the reasons you may either lose your injury compensation claim entirely, or why your compensation claim amount may be significantly reduced
We strongly suggest discussing the circumstances of your injury with an accredited personal injury lawyer.
Please contact one our accredited personal injury specialists for a free, initial consultation regarding the circumstances of your injury.
1. You didn’t seek advice or access to a good lawyer
Because you did not seek advice or access a good lawyer:
- Your claim form was not submitted to the correct entity or person before the statutory limitation date expired (with no justifiable reason).
- The entity or person you made a claim against, did not have a duty of care.
- Particular processes, procedures, timelines were not adhered to. For example, a Statement of Claim was not submitted according to specific timelines and thus your right to make a claim was lost.
- You settled your claim for a nominal sum, without first seeking adequate legal advices with respect to your rights and if you can claim for different heads of damages. Once a claim has been settled the Claimant cannot go back afterwards and ask for compensation for something that had not been taken into account.
- There was a failure with respect to exhausting all enquiries with respect to liability, causation, and quantum.
- There was a failure to enquire and obtain supporting evidence before legal negotiations commenced.
Sufficient medical evidence was not obtained within the statutory expiration period. For example, a Claimant complained to their doctor of a sore back, neck and anxiety. Their doctor referred the Claimant to an orthopaedic surgeon for assessment of the Claimant’s back and neck however, the doctor failed to refer the Claimant to a psychologist or psychiatrist for assessment of their anxiety. If the Claimant had a good lawyer, the lawyer would ensure that the Claimant is reviewed by all appropriate medical experts in order to obtain admissible evidence of all injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
There is no evidence that you injured yourself in the manner alleged nor is there evidence to support that you injured yourself on the date that you allege. For example, you failed to report your accident and/or all injuries to your employer or your doctor as soon as the accident happened or as soon as possible afterwards or not at all.
You failed to seek legal advice or make a claim within the period of time that is specified in legislation applicable to the circumstances of your injury.
4. Fraudulent / conflicting information
Failing to provide to your lawyer full disclosure of information (including all skeletons in the closet, such as performing cash in hand work, previous injuries etc.) in a frank and timely manner could have a serious impact on your claim.
Making a fraudulent claim or providing conflicting information is never a good idea.
If you are found guilty of making a fraudulent claim, there are serious consequences such as possibly being charged up to $44,000.00 in fines or being imprisoned for up to 18 months.
If it can be established that you provided conflicting information (innocently or not) this will bring into disrepute your character. Thus, when you make the claim that you feel pain and that you are suffering as a result, you will most likely be perceived as a liar and your claim for pain and suffering will be less than what it would have been if you had not provided conflicting information.
Examples of making a fraudulent claim or providing conflicting information:
Fraudulent claim number 1: You said that you hurt your back at work however; you injured your back playing football the day before. The insurers obtain evidence from either your doctor or from another football player that you had in fact hurt your back playing football.
Fraudulent claim number 2: You were the driver of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident. You were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
As a result of not wearing the seatbelt you were projected through the vehicle’s windscreen and landed on the bitumen. You sustained multiple injuries.
You said to your lawyer and thus, to the CTP insurer, that you had your seatbelt on at the time of the accident. However, forensic evidence proves that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt.
Fraudulent information / conflicting information ” You made a statement that you can’t lift more than 10 kg of weight because it hurts your back. You are then filmed participating in a cross-fit class, performing “Russian twists” with a 15 kg weight. Although this form of exercise has in fact improved the strength of your back (although it does, still hurt after the exercise) because you did not report this activity to your lawyer and thus, they did not disclose this fact to the insurer, and thus, your credibility is negatively impacted.
Conflicting information: You reported to your doctor that you hurt your ankle at work by rolling it while walking across a plank. However when you later on describe how you injured your ankle to your physiotherapist, you state that you hurt your ankle at work by stepping into a pot hole. With regards to descriptions as to how the accident occurred, consistency is very important. If you are inconsistent in your account, doubt is created as to whether you did in fact injure yourself at all or in the way you described i.e. at work as opposed to at home.
5. Volenti non fit injuria
Volenti non fit injuria essentially means that the injured person was aware of the risk of injury and still, voluntarily, put themselves in the position of being injured. In other words, you were to blame for your injury.
For example, just before you sustained your injury, your supervisor reminded you that as per company policy you should wear your safety glasses before grinding the piece of metal. You were aware of the risks of what may happen if you did not wear your safety glasses and voluntarily choose to disregard the company’s policy of wearing safety glasses when grinding metal.
You waited for the Supervisor to leave the room, so that he could not see you not using safety glasses when using the metal grinder. You commence using the metal grinder. A metal shaving is then lodged in your eye and thus, you sustained an injury to your eye.