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Dec 09

Injuries Sustained in Mining Accidents, Queensland

Friday, December 09, 2016

According to WorkCover Queensland from the period of 2012-2014, there have been 4,292 worker’s compensation claims lodged with WorkCover Queensland for injuries sustained as a result of mining accidents in Queensland.

The nature of the mining industry exposes the worker to high risk activities on a daily basis. Some of these high potential incidents (HPIs) include wall collapses, loss of control of vehicles, thermal fires, electrical shock, vehicle collision and objects being propelled from machinery.

In-between 2014-2015, four mine workers in Queensland were fatally injured. These fatalities involved:

  • A worker being struck by a piece of coal which had fallen from a sidewall.
  • A worker struck by a rock.
  • A truck wheel exploding resulting in one worker being fatally injured, while another worker sustained serious facial injuries.
  • A four wheel drive bus rolling.

The most common type of injuries in mining

Musculoskeletal (soft tissue) type injuries accounted for almost half of the type of injuries sustained by workers in the mining industry. Other common types of mining injury related claims relate to injuries sustained to the back, hand and fingers or to the face and head. Of concern, psychological injuries continue to increase.

What happens if I do get injured?

If you sustained a serious injury, your supervisor is required by the National Mine Safety Framework (NMSF) to report your injury by lodging a Queensland Mining Industry Incident Report Form with the Department Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM).

Any other “incident”, either involving a non-serious injury or no injury should be reported to your supervisor and your supervisor is required to make a record of this incident.

Considering the circumstances of your injury, you may also elect to lodge a claim with either WorkCover Queensland or the company’s insurer. East Coast Injury Lawyers can assist you in identifying the correct insurer.

Can I be compensated for the injury I sustained at a mine site?

There is no difference between the process involved for applying for compensation between that of a worker at a mine site and any other worker.

A mine worker can apply for compensation if their injury was sustained arising out of, or in the course of, their employment. The worker could be employed on either a casual, full-time or part-time basis.

To be eligible to apply for compensation, the worker’s injury could be sustained either:

  • At work;
  • Travelling to or from work;
  • Visiting another work site or place for a matter relating to your work;
  • Working interstate or overseas;
  • While on a lunch break; or
  • Because of your work role.
  • A worker may also apply for compensation if the worker’s pre-existing condition is aggravated as a result of their work.

    What if I was employed as a contractor or subcontractor when I was injured at the mine site?

    Technically speaking, contractors and subcontractors do not have access to cover under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) insurance scheme.

    However, with respect to contractors, even if you or your employer believe your status was that of a contractor at the time of your injury proper analysis of the nature of your work and your working relationship may prove that you were in fact a worker. On the basis of this, you would be entitled to compensation under the WorkCover insurance scheme.

    If however, you were a contractor or a subcontractor at the time of your injury, you may be able claim for your personal injury via the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld).

    There are strict timelines that apply in relation to these claims so we recommend that you call East Coat Injury Lawyers on 1300 720 544 to organise a free, initial consultation with one of our Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialists.

    In this initial, free consultation, we will provide you with advice in relation to timelines, the likelihood of the success of your claim, the best course of action and approximate costs.

    What compensation am I entitled to?

    Once your worker’s compensation claim has been accepted, the insurer will pay for your:

  • Initial medical treatment and assessment,
  • Rehabilitation, or
  • Lost wages.
  • You will continue to receive this compensation until you have reached a level of maximum medical improvement. This does not necessarily mean that you are no longer experiencing any symptoms of your injury but rather you have improved as much as you possibly can.

    Contact East Coast Injury Lawyers on 1300 720 544 to organise a free consultation with one of our Accredited Personal Injury Specialists so that we may advise you of your rights, entitlements and the best course of action given your circumstances.

    What is the difference between a compensation claim and a damages claim?

    Compensation Claim: Once it is established that you were a worker at the time of your injury, you were injured at work and your compensation claim is accepted by the insurer, the insurer will provide you with appropriate treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for lost wages.

    Damages claim:

    If you were:

    üA worker;

    üInjured at work or as a result of your work;

    üinjured as a result of the negligence of either your employer or a co-worker;

    then you have the option of pursuing a claim for damages in addition to your claim for compensation.

    As part of the compensation claim process you may be offered a lump sum amount. If you accept this lump sum offer then you may be prevented by legislation from making a damages claim. Thus, it is essential that you speak with an Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialist to both understand your rights in relation to whether you have either a compensation claim and/ or damages claim and also before accepting any lump sum offer made in the Notice of Assessment.

    What can I claim for as part of my damages claim?

    You can claim for:

    • Past and future out of pocket medical expenses such as medications, medical treatment, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, surgery, ergonomic equipment aids etc;
    • Damages for pain and suffering (loss of enjoyment of life);
    • Past and future loss of wages and other income, including superannuation;
    • Household and personal care and assistance provided by a friend or relative for free; or
    • Paid services for household assistance i.e. cleaner, gardener, ironing aid, car detailer, pool cleaner etc.

    How much is my claim worth?

    It is difficult to accurately predict the amount of compensation that any injured worker may receive. A number of factors relating to the injury may influence the outcome of your claim including:

  • If statutory limitations were in effect with respect to the date of your injury;
  • The circumstances of your injury;
  • The nature and extent of your injury;
  • The impact the injury had on your personal circumstances; and
  • How well you responded to treatment and rehabilitation etc.
  • East Coast Injury Lawyers operates on a “No Win No Fee” basis and has years of experience in relation to successfully negotiating the worth of our client’s compensation and damages’ claims. Contact us now on 1300 720 544 or organise a free, initial consultation with one our Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialists about your injury.

    How much time do I have?

    Generally speaking, you must successfully lodge a compliant compensation claim within three (3) years of the accident date. There are certain exceptions, such as over period of time claims, where time limits may be shorter.

    To protect your rights, call us now on 1300 720 544 to arrange for a free, consultation with one of our Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialists.

    What if my claim has been rejected by WorkCover or QComp?

    We have significant experience in successfully overturning decisions in situations whereby our client’s claims were initially rejected.

    Strict time limits do apply so we recommend contacting East Coast Injury Lawyers now on 1300 720 544 to organise a free, initial consultation with one of our Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialists to advise you on your best course of action.

    How much will I have to pay?

    Our firm operates on a “No Win No Fee Basis Guarantee”.

    Contact East Coast Injury Lawyers now on 1300 720 544 to organise a free, initial consultation with one of our Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialists. In this initial, free consultation, we will provide you with advice in relation to timelines, the likelihood of the success of your claim, the best course of action and approximate costs.

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