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To be eligible to receive NIIS benefits under the National Injury Insurance Scheme in Queensland, you must have suffered “serious personal injury” on or after 1 July 2016. A “serious personal injury” includes:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • permanent spinal cord injury
  • permanent brachial plexus injury
  • multiple or high level amputations
  • severe burns
  • permanent blindness caused by trauma

If you are injured in a car accident (or other accident on the road) in Queensland, then your claim will be governed by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld) and any NIIS benefits will be paid under the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Act 2016 (Qld).

If you are injured in a work accident, then your claim and any NIIS benefits payable will all be governed by the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld).

Can I receive NIIS benefits if I was NOT injured at work or on the road?

No. The Queensland Government has not extended coverage under the National Injury Insurance Scheme to public liability injury claims or medical negligence claims. You have to have been injured at work or in an accident on the road to qualify for NIIS benefits. To find out more about public liability claims, click here. To find out more about medical negligence claims, click here.

You may, however, be entitled to make a claim under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). For more information about the NDIS, click here.

How does a claim through NIISQ work when I have been injured in a car accident (or other road accident)?

  • An “Application Form – Interim Participation” has to be lodged with NIISQ.
  • Your doctor must complete the Medical Certificate that forms pages 6 to 9 of the Application Form.
  • The application can be lodged by you, the hospital, your guardian, the CTP insurer or your Solicitor.
  • Your application should be lodged within twelve (12) monthsfrom the date of your injury.
  • Once the application has been lodged, NIISQ must then make a determination as to whether you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits.
  • If NIISQ decides that you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, they will cover and manage all your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.
  • A NIISQ Agency Support Planner will be appointed to coordinate and organise all of the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.
  • All participants deemed eligible for NIIS benefits are accepted as an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as interim participants until age six).
  • Your eligibility for NIIS benefits will then be re-assessed by NIISQ after two (2) years to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.
  • If you are found to be eligible as a lifetime participant, NIISQ will then fund your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs for the rest of your life, unless you choose to opt out.
  • Some NIIS participants choose to claim a lump sum for their treatment, care and support needs in their CTP personal injury claim rather than opting to receive lifetime treatment, care and support from NIISQ.
  • To be eligible to opt out of NIISQ, you must satisfy the following conditions:
    • you have to have been accepted as a lifetime NIISQ participant;
    • you have to have a valid CTP claim with contributory negligence of less than 50 percent – ie be able to sue someone for being the main cause of the accident; and
    • you must not have been excluded from receiving a lump sum by the Court – eg where the Court considers a lump sum inappropriate.
  • To opt out of receiving treatment, care and support from NIISQ, you must provide NIISQ and the CTP Insurer with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days of being accepted as a lifetime participant of NIISQ or, if your CTP claim is not commenced until after you become a lifetime participant, within 14 days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim.

How does a claim through NIISQ work when I have been injured at work?

  • The first step is to lodge a Claim Form (i.e. a statutory workers’ compensation claim) with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer’s self-insurer) (“WorkCover”).
  • Once WorkCover has accepted the claim as being work related, they will then consider whether you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits;
  • If WorkCover decides that you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, then they will appoint NIISQ to manage all of your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.
  • A NIISQ Agency Support Planner will be appointed to coordinate and organise all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.
  • All participants deemed eligible for NIIS benefits are accepted as an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as interim participants until age six).
  • Your eligibility for NIIS benefits will then be re-assessed by WorkCover Queensland after two (2) years to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.
  • If you are found to be eligible as a lifetime participant, WorkCover Queensland and NIISQ will then fund and manage your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs for the rest of your life, unless you choose to opt out.
  • Some NIIS participants choose to claim a lump sum for their treatment, care and support needs in their workers’ compensation common law claim (personal injury claim) rather than opting to receive lifetime treatment, care and support from WorkCover and NIISQ.
  • To be eligible to opt out of NIISQ, you must satisfy the following conditions:
  • you have to have been accepted as a lifetime participant;
  • you must be able to pursue a workers’ compensation common law claim where you allege negligence against your employer; and
  • you must not have been excluded from receiving a lump sum by the Court – eg where the Court considers a lump sum inappropriate.
  • To opt out of receiving treatment, care and support from WorkCover and NIISQ you must notify WorkCover Queensland, in the Notice of Claim for Damages used to commence your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

What benefits are payable under the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland)?

NIISQ provides the following treatment, care and support, provided it is considered necessary and reasonable:

  • medical or pharmaceutical treatment
  • hospitalisation
  • dental treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • ambulance transportation
  • respite care
  • attendant care and support services
  • aids and appliances, other than ordinary personal or household items
  • prosthesis
  • education or vocational training
  • home, transport or workplace modifications

Do I have to refund any benefits NIISQ has paid out of my settlement monies from my CTP injury claim?

No. You will not have to repay any amounts paid by NIISQ for treatment, care and support, even if you opt out of the scheme, as the settlement amount would be exclusive of any amounts funded by NIISQ.

Any benefits paid by the NDIS, however, will be refundable. We will include an amount for the benefits paid by the NDIS in any offer of settlement, so that when that amount is refunded you are not disadvantaged in any way.

Do I have to refund any benefits WorkCover or NIISQ has paid out of my settlement monies from my workers’ compensation common law claim?

No. Common law claims are settled on the basis that the amount is “clear of” any refund payable to WorkCover Queensland or the workers’ compensation self-insurer for statutory benefits paid (which includes any NIIS benefits).

Any benefits paid by the NDIS, however, will be refundable. We will include an amount for the benefits paid by the NDIS in any offer of settlement, so that when that amount is refunded you are not disadvantaged in any way.

So, what can East Coast Injury Lawyers do to help?

We provide free initial advice. We will consider all available information, undertake investigations where needed, and provide you with our opinion regarding your claim. This would include whether we believe you would succeed in a claim, what your options are with respect to the various insurance schemes, NIISQ and the NDIS and what you should do immediately to ensure that you receive the best treatment, care and support possible as quickly as possible.

If we consider that your claim is likely to have reasonable prospects of success, then we will agree to take your matter on, on a “no win no fee” basis. Click here for more information on how we charge.

Strict time limits apply to personal injury claims, so speak with one our expert personal injury lawyers today.

FAQs

When to engage a personal injury lawyer?

You should engage a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This is so we can:

  • provide you with all the advice and assistance you need, including setting out what your options are;
  • help you lodge your claim(s) with NIISQ, the CTP Insurer, WorkCover Queensland (or a workers’ compensation self-insurer) and/or any other insurer;
  • track down witnesses and obtain statements and other liability evidence about the accident before it goes missing or memories fade;
  • assist with coordinating your treatment, care and support, including any home and transport modifications required;
  • ensure that NIISQ or another insurer is paying for all the treatment, care and support you need;
  • make sure that your treatment providers are undertaking all appropriate investigations and providing the best possible treatment; and
  • make sure that the insurer is fully aware of all the injuries you have sustained, so that you can be properly compensated for them
What are the time limits for lodging a claim with NIISQ?

Car accidents (or other accidents on the road):

Where you are injured in a car accident or other accident on the road, you only have twelve (12) months from the date of accident to lodge an “Application Form – Interim Participation” with NIISQ.  You can still lodge the application outside that twelve (12) month timeframe but NIISQ then has a discretion as to whether they accept the application or not.

Of course, it is preferable that the application be lodged as soon as possible after the accident, so that you can start receiving the best possible treatment, care and support as early as possible.

If you are deemed eligible for NIIS benefits, you then remain an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as an interim participant until they turn six), after which NIISQ re-assesses your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.

If, at the time, you have a current CTP personal injury claim and have decided that you want to opt out of receiving NIIS benefits (so as to be able to claim a lump sum for all treatment, care and support that you will need in the future), you must provide NIISQ and the CTP insurer with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days after being accepted as a lifetime participant by NIISQ.

If you have not commenced a CTP claim by the time you are accepted as a lifetime participant by NIISQ, then the “Preservation Notice” must be provided to NIISQ and the CTP Insurer within fourteen (14) days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim (ie after they have received your CTP claim form).

Work accidents:

A Claim Form (for workers’ compensation) must be lodged with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer’s self-insurer) within six (6) months from the date of accident / injury. There are some limited exceptions to this rule, so please seek legal advice if you are outside this timeframe.

Once the claim is lodged, WorkCover should then automatically consider whether you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld).

If you have a “serious personal injury” and WorkCover does not automatically consider your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits, then you should ask them to do so.  WorkCover will then have twenty (20) business days from the date they receive the request to make a determination as to your eligibility.

If you are deemed eligible for NIIS benefits, you then remain an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as an interim participant until they turn six), after which WorkCover and NIISQ re-assess your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.

If you have an entitlement to pursue a common law claim against your employer (for negligence), then you can choose to opt out of receiving NIIS benefits (so as to be able to claim a lump sum for all treatment, care and support that you will need in the future).

To opt out of receiving treatment, care and support from WorkCover and NIISQ you must notify WorkCover Queensland, in the Notice of Claim for Damages used to commence your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

How do I apply to NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland to receive NIIS benefits?

Car accidents (or other accidents on the road):

  • An “Application Form – Interim Participation” needs to be lodged with NIISQ.
  • Your doctor must complete the Medical Certificate that forms pages 6 to 9 of the Application Form.
  • The application can be lodged by you, the hospital, your guardian, the CTP insurer or your Solicitor.
  • Once the application has been lodged, NIISQ must then make a determination as to whether you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits.
  • If NIISQ decides that you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, they will fund and manage all your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.
  • A NIISQ Agency Support Planner will be appointed to coordinate and organise all of the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.

Work accidents or injuries:

  • The first step is to lodge a Claim Form (i.e. a statutory workers’ compensation claim) with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer’s self-insurer) (“WorkCover”).
  • Once WorkCover has accepted the claim as being work related, they will then consider whether you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits;
  • If WorkCover fails to automatically consider your eligibility, you should ask them to do so. They are then obliged to make a determination in that regard.
  • If WorkCover decides that you are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, then they will appoint NIISQ to manage all of your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.
  • A NIISQ Agency Support Planner will be appointed to coordinate and organise all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.
How to start a CTP claim?

The steps that you should take after being injured in a motor vehicle accident are as follows:

  1. See your doctor and report all injuries, no matter how insignificant they seem at the time.
  2. Report the accident to the police and ask them to provide you with a traffic incident number.
  3. Contact us to make a time to meet with one of our expert injury lawyers. We will come to you, if you would prefer, at no additional cost.
  4. We will complete a Notice of Accident Claim form (“NOAC”) with you.
  5. We will provide you with the medical certificate that forms pages 11 and 12 of the NOAC and ask that you have your doctor complete it.
  6. You will also need to obtain referrals from your doctor for any further investigations or treatment that you might require, like x-rays or other scans, specialist reviews, physiotherapy or psychological counselling.
  7. We serve the NOAC with the completed medical certificate on the CTP Insurer and they then acknowledge the claim.
How to lodge a workers’ compensation claim?
  1. Notify your employer of your accident and injury as soon as possible, preferably in writing.
  2. Attend upon your doctor for treatment and to obtain a WorkCover Queensland “Work capacity certificate – workers’ compensation”: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/77119/form-132m-work-capacity-certificate-workers-compensation.pdf
  3. Send a copy of your work capacity certificate to your employer.
  4. Complete WorkCover’s online Claim form: https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/claim/lodgement.wc
    OR
    Print the Claim form out, complete it and then upload it using WorkCover’s online service (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/uploadNewClaim.wc?code=NEWCLAIM), or fax it to 1300 651 387, or post it to GPO Box 2459, Brisbane Qld 4001.  This is where the pdf of the Claim form can be found: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/3057/Claim-form-FM106-v10.pdf
    OR
    Where urgent surgery is required or where there has been a fatality / death, you can call WorkCover on 1300 362 128 to lodge the claim over the phone.
  5. Upload a copy of the work capacity certificate using WorkCover’s online service (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/uploadNewClaim.wc?code=NEWCLAIM) or fax it to WorkCover on 1300 651 387.
  6. Once the claim form and work capacity certificate has been uploaded, WorkCover will contact you (usually via text and/or email) to confirm that they have received the claim. They will then contact your employer to obtain their version of events.  If WorkCover accepts that you have suffered a work related injury, your claim will be officially accepted. WorkCover will then commence paying you weekly benefits for your time off work and any reasonable and necessary treatment and rehabilitation.
Who will my compensation claim be against?

Car accidents (and other accidents on the road):

Your claim will be against the CTP insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident.  You will be alleging that the driver of that vehicle was at fault but the CTP insurer is the one that conducts the defence of the claim on behalf of that driver.

In circumstances where the vehicle is unregistered or cannot be identified, then the claim is against the Nominal Defendant (a government insurer).

Work accidents:

In order to pursue a workers’ compensation common law claim you have to prove that your employer or a co-worker was negligent in some way.  Your employer will be held liable for the actions of any co-workers, provided they were acting within the scope of their employment.

As a result, when you bring a common law claim you are effectively suing your employer for negligence but they are then covered by their insurer, which is WorkCover Queensland (or a self-insurer). WorkCover assumes the defence of the claim and ultimately pays out any settlement amount or court award.

What if the person who caused my car accident was a family member or friend?

Car accidents (or other accidents on the road):

Provided your family member’s vehicle or friend’s vehicle was registered and there is nothing else untoward (see the exceptions listed below), then there will be absolutely no issue at all. They will not even have to pay an excess to the CTP insurer. The CTP insurer of the vehicle simply assumes control of the claim and communicates directly with your lawyers.

This means that passengers in cars can bring claims against their own family member, if the accident was caused by their family member, without fear of any financial or other penalty.

Exceptions to the rule:

  1. If the vehicle was being used without the owner’s authority or without legal justification or excuse, then the insurer may have a right to recover all the compensation and costs paid from the driver.
  2. If the driver intended to harm you or some other person (resulting in your injury), then the insurer may have a right to recover all the compensation and costs paid from the driver.
  3. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, which then caused or contributed to the accident, the insurer may have a right to recover all the compensation and costs paid from the driver.
  4. If the vehicle was being used to commit a crime or for some other illegal purpose, then the insurer may have a right to recover all the compensation and costs paid from the driver.
  5. If the vehicle was not registered at the time of the accident, then the Nominal Defendant may have a right to recover all the compensation and costs paid from the driver or owner of the vehicle.
Should I opt out of NIIS or not?

Some of the advantages of opting out of the National Injury Insurance Scheme include the following:

  1. Being able to manage and invest the monies that are awarded to you for treatment, care and support;
  2. Having total control over the decisions that are made with respect to your treatment, care and support;
  3. Not having to deal with the red tape of an insurer (eg having to seek approval from NIISQ for things you want); and
  4. Being able to avoid any adverse changes (ie reductions) the State government makes with respect to NIISQ’s funding. 

When it comes time to decide whether to opt out or not, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages with you and you can then decide what you want to do.

When do I have to decide whether to opt out of receiving treatment, care and support from NIISQ?

Car accidents (or other accidents on the road):

Once you are deemed eligible for NIIS benefits, you then remain an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as an interim participant until they turn six), after which NIISQ re-assesses your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.

If you have a current CTP personal injury claim and want to opt out of receiving NIIS benefits, you must provide NIISQ and the CTP insurer with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days after being accepted as a lifetime participant by NIISQ.

If, at the time you are accepted as a lifetime participant by NIISQ, your CTP claim has not been commenced, then you must provide NIISQ and the CTP Insurer with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim (after they have received your CTP claim form).

Work accidents:

If you are deemed eligible for NIIS benefits, you remain an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as an interim participant until they turn six), after which WorkCover and NIISQ re-assess your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.

If you have an entitlement to pursue a common law claim against your employer (for negligence), then you can choose to opt out of receiving NIIS benefits (so as to be able to claim a lump sum for all treatment, care and support that you will need in the future).

To opt out of receiving treatment, care and support from WorkCover and NIISQ you must notify WorkCover Queensland, in the Notice of Claim for Damages used to commence your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

If I opt out, when do my NIIS benefits cease?

Your benefits payable under the National Injury Insurance Scheme only cease once your damages award or settlement monies are paid to you or your trustee (ie at the end of your personal injury claim).

What is my claim worth?

​How much compensation or damages you will be entitled to receive is dependent on a lot of different factors, including:

  • The nature and extent of your injuries
  • What ongoing problems and needs you have as a result of your injuries
  • What the doctors say about your restrictions and the degree of impairment you have
  • Whether you had pre-existing injuries or other conditions that were impacting on you, or were going to impact on you in the future
  • What restrictions and difficulties you look like having in the future, particularly with respect to your work capacity
  • What your income earning capacity was like pre-accident, compared to what your income earning capacity is now like
  • Your age, which impacts on how long you were going to work for and how long you will experience pain and suffering from your injuries
  • Your life expectancy
  • What treatment, care and support needs you have
  • Whether you have needed voluntary (unpaid) care and assistance as a result of your injuries and, if so, the nature and extent of that care and assistance
  • Whether you have needed paid care and support as a result of your injuries and, if so, the nature and extent of that care and support
  • Whether you have a need for home or vehicle alterations and other aids or equipment
  • How much ongoing treatment, medication and care and support you are going to need in the future

Serious personal injuries like spinal cord injuries and brain injuries often settle for millions of dollars.

How much will it cost me in legal fees to bring a claim?

This depends on how much work is done. Every matter is different. Our hourly rates are extremely competitive. For more information on how we charge, click here.

Do I have to pay the insurer’s costs if I lose?

This is extremely unlikely. You only have to pay some of the insurer’s costs if you proceed to trial and lose completely or if you receive a judgment for less than what the insurer has previously offered to pay you.

The number of personal injury claims that actually proceed to trial is less than 2 in 100, so the chances of having to pay the insurer’s costs are very slim.  During the course of your claim, we will provide you with detailed advice about the quantum of your claim (what we believe a court would award you), so that you know what amount would constitute a reasonable settlement of your claim.

What treatment, care and support does NIISQ provide?

NIISQ provides the following treatment, care and support, provided it is considered necessary and reasonable:

  • medical or pharmaceutical treatment
  • hospitalisation
  • dental treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • ambulance transportation
  • respite care
  • attendant care and support services
  • aids and appliances, other than ordinary personal or household items
  • prosthesis
  • education or vocational training
  • home, transport or workplace modifications
How does NIISQ work when you have a CTP claim as well?

When you suffer a “serious personal injury” in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland, you are eligible to receive benefits from the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) (NIISQ).

You, your guardian or the hospital can lodge an “Application Form – Interim Participation” with NIISQ, who then make a determination in relation to your eligibility.  Once you are deemed eligible to receive NIIS benefits, NIISQ takes over the management of your reasonable treatment, care and support needs.

The Application for NIIS benefits can be lodged before or after your CTP claim is lodged. Often, it is lodged beforehand, but the CTP claim should then be lodged as soon as possible thereafter.

A CTP claim entitles you to recover additional heads of damage, over and above what NIISQ provides, including an amount for pain and suffering, loss of amenities and loss of enjoyment of life, past lost income, future lost income, past loss superannuation and future lost superannuation, which can be very significant. This is in addition to any amount required to compensate you for your treatment, care and support needs.

The CTP claim proceeds as normal whilst all treatment is being provided by NIISQ, although there is an option to opt out of NIISQ, which normally occurs around 2 years after the accident. We will assess your situation and provide you with advice on whether you should or should not opt out of NIISQ.

For more information on CTP claims click here.

How does NIISQ work when you have a workers’ compensation claim as well?

When you suffer a “serious personal injury” in a work accident in Queensland, you are eligible to receive National Injury Insurance Scheme benefits from WorkCover Queensland (or the workers’ compensation self-insurer).

Once you are deemed eligible by WorkCover to receive NIIS benefits, they engage NIISQ to manage all of your treatment, care and support needs.

WorkCover continues to pay your weekly benefits and manages your WorkCover claim but they are not involved with your treatment or rehabilitation, which they leave to NIISQ.

For more information on WorkCover claims click here.

Do I have to pay tax on any compensation I receive?

No. This is because any claim we make on your behalf for lost income or economic loss is made on a net basis (ie after tax), so as you have not claimed tax from the CTP Insurer or WorkCover you do not have to pay any tax on your settlement monies. Of course, if you subsequently invest your settlement monies and earn income from those monies, then you may be liable to pay tax on those earnings. You should speak with your accountant and/or financial advisor in that regard.

During your free initial consultation, we will:

  • Determine exactly what injuries you have suffered;
  • Work out precisely how the accident occurred;
  • Decide whether someone else caused or significantly contributed to your accident;
  • Provide you with our opinion as to your prospects of success;
  • Discuss the claims process and what is involved;
  • Answer any questions you have about NIISQ and the NDIS;
  • Determine what treatment and rehabilitation you need;
  • Discuss what care and support services you require;
  • Ascertain what home modifications and transport modifications you might need;
  • Work out what aids and appliances you might need;
  • Discuss the steps that we need to take to get you all the care, support, treatment, modifications and aids that you need;
  • Discuss what costs will be involved with your claim; and
  • Respond to any questions that you might have in relation to your claim.

*East Coast Injury Lawyers is led by Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury Law: Sean Delpopolo, Helen Ashton, Nickelle Morris.

  • 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.