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This is an especially important article for enquiries we receive from workers in Brisbane, Mackay and Townsville. We hope that this information helps clarify some of the questions that we receive on a regular basis from these clients.

Please keep these tips in mind when you have suffered a work injury and are considering a workers compensation claim. If you have any questions, please make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer with an accredited specialist designation in personal injury.

Remember the Deadlines

In Queensland, you only have 6 months from the date of injury to lodge an Application for Compensation or Claim Form with WorkCover Queensland, in order to be entitled to receive statutory workers’ compensation benefits (i.e. weekly compensation, medical expenses paid for and a lump sum for any permanent impairment).

For injuries that have occurred over a period of time, the time limit in that regard is 6 months from the date the worker first visited a doctor.

You can still lodge a claim if you are still working

A workers’ compensation claim can also be lodged if you are still working. You simply don’t receive weekly benefits (for lost income / wages), but you can get medical expenses paid for and receive a lump sum for any permanent impairment you end up having.

You can still lodge a claim even after you leave the job

A workers’ compensation claim can still be lodged even after leaving the job that caused the injury, but the worker / claimant may well have difficulty proving that the injury they are complaining of was caused by the work they were doing, given the temporal delay between when they were doing those duties and when they first reported any symptoms / injury.

This particular worker would face the difficulty of convincing the workers’ compensation insurer that his symptoms have not simply arisen as a result of pre-existing degeneration of the spine that everyone gets as they get older.

A Quick Briefing on Common Law Damages

It is possible for someone to make a claim for common law damages (where you sue your employer for negligence) even if they have not made a workers’ compensation claim, provided they do so within three (3) years from the date of injury. This would be called a common law only claim.

Limitation Period for a Common Law Claim

In cases where someone is injured over a period of time, you have to try and lodge the claim within three (3) years from when they first commenced those duties.

If some of that period was more than three (3) years ago, then they will technically be outside the three year time limit for lodging a personal injury claim. In that case, the claimant would need to rely on section 31 of the Limitations of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) which provides for an extension of the time limit for bringing a claim in relation to any out of time period (ie anything more than 3 years ago).

That section essentially gives a claimant a further 12 months from the date that they learn of a material fact of a decisive character to lodge a claim. A material fact of a decisive character is something that would normally indicate to a reasonable injured person that they need to seek legal advice regarding their options in terms of whether they should sue for compensation.

For instance, if an injury finally gets to the point where it is impacting on your work capacity (eg you can no longer do your normal job because of the injury), then that would probably be considered a material fact of a decisive character.

Why Do We Advise This?

A number of clients have been asking us similar questions. However, in particular, there was one client who was working in a heavy labor job operating heavy machinery. He recently transitioned into an office job. His years working in heavy labor have progressively led to neck and back problems and he asked us what his legal options were.

Of course, in this case the claimant has a number of difficulties, including proving that his injury is work related and is not due to natural degeneration and proving that there was any negligence on the part of his employer. Injuries suffered operating machinery does not normally attract a finding of negligence on the part of the employer, unless the machine was defective or faulty.

How does this apply to you?

The facts of your situation may drastically change how the laws apply to you. It is very important that you speak to an accredited specialist in personal injury who operates within your area to get a good understanding of your legal rights in workers compensation and under the laws of negligence.

The client we mentioned above represents a good number of people with circumstances where their factory or construction jobs cause continuing pain and debilitation later on in their lives. However, whether or not they have a legal right to compensation is a consideration that relies heavily on their personal circumstances.

Do not adversely affect your legal rights by failing to receive the proper legal advice on whether or not you should pursue a compensation claim. Some of the difficulties that may arise include:

  • If you try to pursue the claim yourself, you may accidentally make errors that can seriously affect your success in court or in future settlement negotiations;
  • If you rely on a lawyer who does not focus on personal injury and gives you improper advice, you may risk a delay in your claim or at worst, a serious effect on the outcome of your compensation claim; or
  • If you wait too long to receive proper advice, you may risk missing your limitation period and your legal right to sue.

Questions

Workers Compensation does not have to be an impossible task. Give us a call or fill out our case review form if you have any questions.

Free Instant Case Review

    • No Win, No Fee
    • No upfront payments
    • Free initial consultation
    • Home visits
    • Hospital visits
    • Videoconference meetings (via Zoom or Microsoft Teams) where preferred
    • After hours visits
    • 30% cap on legal fees
    • No uplift fees charged
    • No litigation lenders or interest charges on outlays / disbursements
    • Complete confidentiality
    • Immediate assessment of your claim

    *Strict time limits apply when making a claim. Do not delay.

    Managing Director

    Sean Delpopolo

    Sean Delpopolo

    Sean is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.*

    Sean specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, brain and head injury claims, spinal injury claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    He has been running personal injury claims in Queensland for over 25 years. Sean founded our firm in 2004 and the firm has grown and gone from strength to strength on the background of outstanding service, incredible results and charging really fair fees.

    With an innate sense of fairness and justice, this motivates Sean and his team to do everything they can to ensure that the results they achieve for their clients are something that they can all be proud of. In Sean’s mind, the interests of the firm’s clients come first, before anything else, and this value has flowed on through to the entire team.

    As a father of two daughters, Sean understands that his clients’ personal injury claims can make a huge difference to their lives and the lives of those around them. This is why he has made it his life’s work to fight for the “little guy” to obtain the compensation they deserve.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Director

    Helen Ashton

    Helen Ashton

    Helen is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.*

    As an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law, having been awarded the highest achiever award for the course in 2015, Helen has a high level of knowledge and technical expertise. Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2001, she also has extensive experience in running all types of personal injury claims.

    Helen specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, medical negligence claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Helen has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to ensure that her clients are kept well informed and are provided with quality and practical legal advice.

    As a mother of three young children, Helen understands the impact events can have on a family unit and works proactively to achieve the right result for her clients in the shortest possible timeframe. Helen has the ability and the experience to assist clients with a wide variety of claims, including any personal injury claims with a high level of complexity and those that have had catastrophic consequences.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Special Counsel

    Nickelle Morris

    Nickelle Morris

    Nickelle is an expert in personal injury claims and has been recognised by the Queensland Law Society as an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.* She was awarded the highest achiever award for the accreditation course which she completed in 2022. Nickelle was also a finalist in the Special Counsel of the Year category in the Australian Law Awards in 2019.

    Nickelle has been practising exclusively in personal injury litigation for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in catastrophic claims and fatality claims across all practice areas.

    Nickelle specialises in catastrophic injury claims (including traumatic brain injuries, acquired brain injuries and other head injuries, amputations, severe burns and spinal cord injuries resulting in tetraplegia, paraplegia and the like), National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIISQ) claims, work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, public liability injury claims, medical negligence claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Nickelle prides herself on being a technical, yet practical and compassionate lawyer. She takes her time to understand her client’s situation and to ensure that they have an understanding of their rights and entitlements. Nickelle is a tenacious and passionate advocate for her clients and is dedicated to being proactive in ensuring her client’s needs are met and achieving the best outcome for her clients.

    Outside of work, Nickelle is a mother of two children and is a member of a number of committees both within the legal industry and community.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Special Counsel

    Barry Mcgee

    Barry has always loved a spirited debate, and, with over 20 years specialising exclusively in personal injury litigation, his passion, skill and ability to assist his clients is well known throughout the Queensland profession.

    Barry specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Barry’s legal career began in his native Scotland, where he qualified as a Solicitor in 1998. Upon qualifying, he worked for a boutique practice, and then a top-tier national firm, representing a number of different insurers across a variety of industries. With years of working for insurers under his belt, Barry is able to see matters through the eyes of his legal opponents. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say!

    He was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2007. In Australia, he commenced working for a large national firm, where he spent 15 years practicing in personal injury litigation. He was made a Partner of the firm in 2011 and spent 11 years as the firm’s dedicated in-house Special Counsel. As Special Counsel, Barry provided expert advocacy and strategical advice and assistance to the firm’s personal injury lawyers and clients of the firm alike.

    Barry has significant and extensive experience across a wide variety of personal injury claims. He is compassionate, personable and straightforward, with a keen sense of what is fair and just and a reputation for not settling for anything less than his client deserves.

    Outside of work he enjoys surfing, the outdoors, music and spending time with his wife and 3 young children.

    Special Counsel

    Charlotte Evans

    Charlotte has practised exclusively in personal injury compensation litigation for over 20 years.

    Charlotte specialises in sexual abuse claims, work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    She is committed to fighting for the rights of plaintiffs and helping her clients through the legal maze, to achieve outcomes that put people back in control of their lives. She has had experience in taking a number of personal injury cases to Trial and winning hard fought cases for her clients and she does not shy away from a challenge.

    Charlotte has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to cut through the legal jargon to make the personal injury claim process understandable for her clients whilst ensuring that her clients are also kept well informed throughout their claim.

    Out of the office Charlotte is a busy Mum, who now enjoys the privileges of living in beautiful Queensland and making the most of all it has to offer.

    Special Counsel

    Prue Prescott

    Prue has been running personal injury claims for nearly 20 years. This has involved acting for injured claimants in most areas of personal injury law including workers’ compensation injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatality claims, psychiatric injury claims, National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIISQ) claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Prue enjoys handling the more complex claims, such as traumatic brain injury, fatal injury and nervous shock claims, as well as claims involving complex legal principles. Prue seeks to use her Masters qualification in writing and literature to tell each and every client’s individual story, ensuring they are treated fairly by insurers and that they obtain the compensation they deserve.

    In 2019, Prue was nominated by the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc as an Inspirational Lawyer.

    Outside of work, Prue is a busy mum of boys but also tries to find the time to read, write and explore nature.

    Office Manager

    Julie Hollonds

    Julie is a highly dedicated and experienced office manager who has been an integral part of our team for the past 14 years. Bringing a wealth of knowledge with over 35 years of experience in administration, Julie keeps our office running smoothly and efficiently.

    Outside of work, Julie loves to walk, snorkel, spend time with friends and explore the beautiful Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

    Legal Assistant

    Aleisha Harrigan

    Having worked as a legal assistant for over five years, Aleisha has a wealth of experience in the field of personal injury. Since joining East Coast Lawyers, she has been an essential part of providing invaluable support to solicitors and our clients. Her abilities extend beyond legal matters with Aleisha providing training to our assistants and administrative team, and streamlining processes and procedures, ensuring that the workflows operate smoothly and effectively.

    Outside of work, Aleisha has a passion for reading and music. She can often be found immersed in a good book or a live concert. She values spending quality time with her family, friends and her beloved dog, Kevin.

    Legal Assistant

    Kym Arrowsmith

    Kym is a knowledgeable legal assistant with fifteen years of expertise in the field of personal injury law. She is passionate about supporting clients through the process and obtaining the best possible outcome for them. As a valued member of our team, Kym takes pride in her work and is committed to sharing her extensive experience and knowledge with our other team members.

    When Kym is not busy with work, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoys discovering new places, whether it be through the pages of a biography or on her push bike.

    Legal Assistant

    Alece Turner

    Alece is a law student who is extremely motivated and passionate about personal injury law. She is hardworking, and always strives to produce the best possible results for our clients.

    Her dedication and eagerness to learn more about the law makes Alece a great addition to our team.

    When not working or studying, she loves spending time with her son at the beach or at one of our amazing theme parks.

    Legal Assistant

    Georgia Ryan

    Georgia recently joined the team in February 2023 and has been working within the industry for the last three years. She is enthusiastic about helping new and existing clients, and with her bubbly personality and can-do approach makes her an excellent addition to our team.

    Raised in Tasmania, Georgia moved to Queensland in early 2017 and hasn’t regretted it since. She loves the warm weather and lifestyle. Outside of work, Georgia loves travelling, dining out and spending time with family and friends.

    Legal Assistant

    Claire Rezny

    Claire is one of our hard working and devoted Legal Assistants. With over 25 years’ administrative experience, her attention to detail, willingness to help others, and calm demeanour makes her a real asset to our team.

    Claire is well travelled and, during her time in the USA, Claire discovered a newfound love for reading, which led her to become a proofreader for several published novels. Claire also enjoys landscape and wildlife photography and spending time with her family and puppy.

    RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Shayla Riley

    Shayla joined our team in September 2023, coming from an extensive background in customer service.

    Shayla is a law student who is very passionate about personal injury law. With her bubbly personality and can-do attitude this makes her the perfect person for her administration support role.

    When Shayla is not in the office you can find her enjoying all things outdoors, getting lost in a good book or spending time with her two rescue dogs Bear and Ella. 

    RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Brooke Gribble

    Meet Brooke, our receptionist and administration assistant. Brooke has over 3 years’ administration experience in personal injury law and is eager to provide high quality customer service to our clients.

    Brooke finds joy in helping others and is extremely hard working making her a real asset to our team.

    Out of the office you may find Brooke at a racetrack as she has a passion for fast cars. Brooke also likes spending her time enjoying outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking but will never pass up the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy.