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Gajic Lawyers

If you have suffered an injury at work, you are entitled to make a claim for workers compensation benefits.

By | Must-Knows

If you have suffered an injury at work, you are entitled to make a claim for workers compensation benefits. The entitlement to make a claim for workers compensation benefits arises if employment is a substantial contributing factor to the injury.

The statutory entitlements generally available under a workers compensation claim are as follows:

  1. Lump sum payment if the impairment assessment is at least 11%.
  2. Weekly payments of compensation for periods of incapacity
  3. Medical expenses for treatment incurred as a result of the injury

If your injury was caused by the fault of your employer and your injury is assessed as at least 15% WPI, then you may be entitled make a work injury damages claim. Unlike the workers compensation claim which is a no fault scheme, you must establish that the negligence of your employer was responsible for your injuries to be successful in a work injury damages claim.

The entitlements available under a work injury damages claim are as follows:

  1. Past and Future Economic Loss including loss of superannuation

In preparing your workers compensation claim, an assessment will be made if a work injury damages viable if your injury is assesses above the required threshold and negligence can be established against your employer.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Act Reviewed. Claim back your missing weekly payments!

By | Must-Knows

In June 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal of NSW made a vital decision in the case of Hochbaum v RSM Building Services Pty Ltd and Whitton v Technical and Further Education Commission t/as TAFE NSW [2020] NSWCA 113 for injured workers who have missed weeks of compensation after receiving 260 weeks of weekly payments.

Previously, Section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 was understood to have meant that an injured worker who has received weekly payments for up to 260 weeks (5 years), will not receive further weekly payments until they have a confirmed 21% Whole Person Impairment (“WPI”) or greater.

For injured workers who were on weekly payments prior to the major workers compensation amendments in 2012, if they did not have greater than 21% WPI, their payments would have ceased from 26 December 2017.

Often it would take many months or up to a year before an injured worker’s dispute for permanent impairment would be resolved and in that time, injured workers did not receive weekly payments.

The Court of Appeal reviewed the interpretation and purpose of Section 39 and held it was not the intention of Section 39 to bar injured workers from receiving weekly payments. There is no wording in the Act that states an injured worker must have a 21% WPI or greater to obtain weekly benefits beyond 260 weeks.

What does this mean for you?

If you have been cut off from weekly payments after 260 weeks, from 26 December 2017 and:

  1. Attained 21% WPI or greater after that date and did not receive weekly payments from that date up until the time you attained 21% WPI or greater;
  2. Have not been examined and/or assessed by a medical specialist for greater than 12 months
  3. Awaiting surgery for your work-related injury;
  4. Your injury and symptoms have not stabilised and you cannot be assessed for permanent impairment;

Then contact our office to speak to our workers compensation team who will advise whether you are entitled to back pay of weekly compensation and any reasonable and necessary medical expenses for your work-related injury.

Common Law Claim

If your motor vehicle accident occurred after 1 December 2017, you may be entitled to make a claim for Common Law Damages

By | Must-Knows

Am I entitled to make a Common Law Claim

If you have lodged an “Application for Personal Injury Benefits” and the insurer has determined that you are not wholly at fault in your accident and your injury is not a “minor injury” you are entitled to make a claim for common law damages.

What is a “minor injury”

A “minor injury” is any one or more of the following:

  1. A soft tissue injury (an injury to tissue that connects, supports or surrounds other structures or organs of the body (such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, menisci, cartilage, fascia, fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels and synovial membranes), but not an injury to nerves or a complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, menisci or cartilage.
  2. A minor psychological or psychiatric injury (a psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness).

What does a Common Law Damages Claim entail

A common law claim comprises of the following heads of damages:

  1. Pain and suffering (non-economic loss). To receive pain and suffering, your injuries must exceed a threshold of 10% Whole Person Impairment. This is commonly determined by a SIRA accredited medical assessor.
  2. Economic loss:
    1. Past and future loss of earnings; and
    2. Past and future loss of superannuation.

When can I make a common law claim

A claim for common law damages can be made any time after 20 months from the date of your accident or before 20 months if the insurance company has accepted that your injuries are greater than 10% WPI.

To see if you can make a claim for Common Law Damages, contact Gajic Lawyers today.

Gajic Lawyers' Response to COVID-19

Gajic Lawyers’ Response to COVID-19

By | General Information

The recent impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been making a large impact to business small and wide, ranging from a local to international scale.

While businesses have struggled to maintain a business as usual approach via implementing Working From Home and flexible work conditions to limit the exposure and maintain business operations, here at Gajic Lawyers, the transition process is more a evolution of an existing process that has been in place for years.

Gajic Lawyers has always been known to have strong work flexibility through its extensive Work From Home program which extends to all levels of staff from management, solicitors and support staff, from casual to full time.

This program has not only allowed us a strong adaptability with changes such as that caused by the impact of the Coronavirus, but has always been and made available to accommodate business and staff needs including a work and life balance.

This extensive program, synergised with electronically signing documents, remote offices, on call interpreter services and teleconference capabilities places Gajic Lawyers in a position that is stronger than ever to deliver reliable and efficient services to our clients with minimal impact to the life of their claim.

As always, we understand making a claim can be a lengthy and arduous process but having the capability to service our clients with minimal effort from the client but still achieving an outstanding result is what we strive to achieve.

In the coming days, weeks and months, you may notice your appointments will be held via teleconference with your solicitor instead of the usual face to face. Our priority is to ensure both the safety and wellbeing of our clients and our staff as we closely monitor the situation and respond accordingly.

There will be on rare occasions where you may need to come to the office but your solicitor and their team will advise you when that is required in order to limit unnecessary exposure for all parties.

We appreciate your understanding in this situation and welcome any feedback and questions you may have and will ensure your enquiry is responded to quickly.

What is Contributory Negligence

Have you been assessed with a minor injury and are having your treatments cut off after 6 months by the Insurer?

By | Must-Knows

Please note that you may still be able to obtain further treatment after the six month period if the following criteria can be met:

The Treatment is for any of the following:

  1. medical treatment, including pharmaceuticals
  2. dental treatment
  3. rehabilitation
  4. aids and appliances
  5. education and vocational training
  6. home and transport modifications
  7. workplace and educational facility modifications

The following situations apply:

  1. The treatment and care will improve your recovery or
  2. The Insurer delayed approval for the treatment and care expenses or
  3. The Treatment and care will improve your capacity to return to work and or usual activities

Accordingly, call Gajic Lawyers now for a free consultation and see how we can assist you.

how long personal injury claims

What you must know about timeframes to lodge your claim in QLD

By | Must-Knows

Did you know that there are strict timeframes for lodgement of motor vehicle claims under the new legislation?

The notice must be given:

within three months if it is to be given to the Nominal Defendant because the motor vehicle or the driver cannot be identified; or
in any other case whichever of the following dates is earlier:
within nine months after the motor vehicle crash or, if symptoms of the injury are not immediately apparent, the first appearance of symptoms of the injury;
if you have a solicitor managing your claim, within one month of the first consultation with the solicitor.
Your claim could be rejected if you lodge outside the timeframes. Early lodgement of your claim will assist in early access to treatment and rehabilitation if required.

If you are under 18 years at the time of the crash, different timeframes apply. For children, timeframes to lodge a claim do not commence until the child turns 18.

Road Accident in South Australia

Ensuring you get the best financial outcome

By | Must-Knows

Unrepresented claimants will often be offered a settlement amount from insurance company that is well below what the claim is worth. Our solicitors are regularly negotiating settlement sums well in excess of what the insurer initially offered an unrepresented claimant. For example, we had an unrepresented claimant approach our firm with a final offer from the insurer of $14,000 inclusive of all medical treatment, lost income and legal costs. After further work and negotiations on that claim by our experienced lawyers, the claimant has a current offer of 550,000 all-inclusive of legal costs – 46 times more than the insurer’s initial offer!

Dealing with insurers directly will never get you the best outcome.

10 things you can do after a motor accident in New South Wales

What happens when they are forced to take time off work due to your motor vehicle accident?

By | Must-Knows

Usually when it is available a victim will use their sick leave or annual leave entitlements in the hope that these will be reimbursed as part of their claim. Unfortunately it is not the case that 100% of entitlements will be repaid. In some cases only a fraction is paid. The insurer’s aim is to reduce that recovery to a minimum. In these cases, you may be out of pocket. To ensure you minimise this loss, you must speak to a lawyer today.

Catastrophic Injury in Western Australia

Have You Suffered a Catastrophic Injury in Western Australia?

By | Personal Injury

What does it mean to suffer a ‘catastrophic’ injury? Most people understand it to mean a very severe, traumatic injury that has an ongoing impact on your life. It may result resulting in permanent disability which prevents you from ever working again and may also deprive you from enjoying other aspects of a full life. The psychological effects of such an injury can be equally debilitating.

In many cases there is also a major impact on your family, who may be placed in the role of your carer for the rest of your life. And there is the inevitable financial burden that accompanies the costs of medical treatment, ongoing care, home modifications to cater for your disability and much more.

What sort of injuries are catastrophic in nature? These might include:

  • Spinal injuries that result in paraplegia, quadriplegia and tetraplegia;
  • amputation or disfigurement caused by the injury;
  • brain damage that results in lasting impairment to speech and other motor functions;
  • psychological and psychiatric damage caused by your experience of the accident;
  • other lasting injuries such as burns.

If your catastrophic injury was caused by the negligence of another – be it in the course of your employment, in a public place or from a motor vehicle accident, for example – you are likely entitled to compensation.

Catastrophic injury claims can be complicated and the guidance of a legal professional with expertise in this area is highly advised. Damages pay-outs for injuries of this nature can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, taking into account an injured person’s medical expenses now and into the future, as well as lost income and other expenses associated with the injury.

What can you claim for?

If your ability to work and overall lifestyle has been badly impacted by a catastrophic injury, a claim to recover costs might cover:

  • Past and future pain and suffering, a loss of enjoyment of life and reduced life expectancy as a result of the injury.
  • Past and future medical treatment, including the costs of doctors, physiotherapy, surgery, scans, pharmaceutical, etc.
  • Past and future loss of earnings and superannuation.
  • Past and future aids such as a wheelchair, or home and car modifications.
  • Past and future domestic services such as gardening, ironing, home and vehicle maintenance.
  • Past and future care services, as well as past and future voluntary or gratuitous care services by family and friends.

How are these claims treated in Western Australia?

A claim for compensation as a result of sustaining a catastrophic injury will depend on how you sustained the injury and its severity. In Western Australia (WA), a number of statutory schemes exist to provide compensation depending on whether your claim arises from a motor vehicle accident, workers’ compensation or public liability.

WA’s Catastrophic Injuries Support (CIS) scheme, for example, was introduced in July 2016 and provides lifetime treatment, care and support for people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle crashes in Western Australia when they are unable to establish the fault of another driver.

If it’s difficult to prove another party’s negligence caused your catastrophic injury, your legal adviser will be able to check whether any of the insurance policies and superannuation accounts you may hold include Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) coverage, which can also be called on to financially assist you during recovery or rehabilitation.

The importance of good advice

In most personal injury claims, strict time limits after the accident apply in lodging your claim and so it’s important not to delay. Seeking legal advice from trusted legal professionals as early as possible after you sustain injury is essential. Evidence about how you sustained the injury, including any medical treatment at the time and in the aftermath can be crucial to a successful claim.

Dealing with the insurance companies involved in the statutory compensation schemes can also be challenging. The insurer may challenge your claim and/or take undue time in processing the claim, and this is where the experience of an expert compensation lawyer can prove invaluable.

Gajic Lawyers are specialists in personal injury. We have years of experience in claims related to a catastrophic injury, be it the result of a workplace injury, motor vehicle accident, public liability or medical negligence. We are also experts in Superannuation TPD claims. We take steps to try and finalise your claim as quickly as possible, and you will not be required to pay anything toward the preparation of your claim. Get in touch with our Perth office on 1800 413 755 today for an obligation-free consultation about your case.

Road Accident in South Australia

What to do if You’ve Been Injured in a Road Accident in South Australia

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

While deaths from motor accidents have decreased significantly in the last decade, injuries have continued to increase. A 2018 report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), Road Trauma Australia, found there were 38,945 hospitalised injuries in 2016, a nominal increase of 3.6 per cent per year since 2013.

Because of the frequency of injuries from motor vehicle accidents – whether you’re driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist – Australia’s states have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance schemes which provide compensation for those injured in such accidents. The insurance premium is paid when the car is registered in the state.

This is also the case in South Australia (SA) where the Compulsory Third Party Insurance scheme is managed by the CTP Insurance Regulator, which instructs one of four insurance companies – AAMI, Allianz, QBE and SGIC – to manage claims for compensation due to personal injury. Since July 1, 2019, South Australians are able to choose their CTP insurance from the four Government-approved insurers mentioned above when they renew their registration.

There were also some significant changes to CTP insurance in SA after July 2013 which anyone who has been injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle needs to be aware of before making a claim for compensation.

What to do after your accident

If the accident is minor and all cars involved are still driveable, no one has been injured and the vehicle damage is estimated at less than $3,000, there is no legal obligation to report the accident to police.  That said the drivers of every vehicle involved in the accident must stop at the scene and exchange details, such as their names and addresses, the names and addresses of the owner of the vehicles if they differ from the driver’s, the registration number of the vehicles or any other information that could be used to identify the vehicles involved.  Failure by either party to exchange details means the accident must be reported to police for further investigation.

Even where there is no legal obligation to report an accident to police, because injuries from motor vehicle accidents can often manifest at a later time, it’s always recommended you report the accident to police and seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to be specific to police about what occurred and what injuries you may have suffered.  A CTP insurer will always source the police report and medical records when they come to assess a property or personal injury claim so for consistency your injuries noted in the police report may be compared to the injuries you want to claim.

If the accident has resulted in an injury or death, then the police and the CTP insurer should be advised of the claim.

If you are a passenger involved in a single or multiple vehicle accident, you can still make a claim for compensation even if the driver of the vehicle you were in is at fault. If the driver at fault is unregistered or unknown, then the claim can instead be made under the Nominal Defendant Scheme.

What do you need to know about applying for compensation in SA

The main changes after July 2013 relate to the threshold an injured person needs to satisfy in order to claim compensation for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, as well as future economic loss and past services provided to them by family members, such as cleaning and cooking or helping them shower or dress.

There are no thresholds to claims for past economic loss, the cost of future paid care, or the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, domestic assistance and travel costs. It should be noted, though, that you cannot claim the first seven days of economic loss after an accident (lost wages from being unable to work, for example) and any claim you make for past economic loss will be discounted by 20%.

Assessment of your injuries is made once they have reached “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). This means when your injuries have reached a point where they are unlikely to improve or decline substantially in the foreseeable future. Once you reach MMI, you can undergo an examination with an accredited specialist who will determine what category of injury you have suffered.  For example, the specialist may say you have suffered a severe ankle injury or a minor wrist injury.  These categories correspond with a range of numbers known as the ‘Injury Scale Value’ (ISV) range.  The objective of the Court and your lawyers is to determine where within those range of numbers your injury falls.

You must have an ISV of at least 11 to be entitled to any amount of compensation for non-economic loss (such as pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life).

For future economic loss – the loss of your ability to continue to earn a living due to your injury – the ISV for your injury must be more than 7. There are some limited exceptions to that measure.

There are further thresholds for claiming the cost of past gratuitous personal care and domestic assistance provided by a partner or other family member. You need an ISV of at least 11 and to have been provided these voluntary services for at least six hours a week for at least six consecutive months.  Most importantly the services must be reasonably required by the injured person and necessary, in that if they were not provided the injured person would have to have paid someone to do them.

This can be a complex process requiring in-depth medical reports and lots of other evidence on the impacts of the accident. For this reason, consulting a legal professional with experience in the area of motor vehicle accident compensation as soon as possible after your motor vehicle accident is recommended.

For catastrophic injuries such as brain injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputations, severe burns and blindness, SA’s Lifetime Support Scheme (LSS) is a regulated no-fault scheme that provides funding for treatment, care and support, even if you are at fault for a single vehicle accident.

What are the next steps?

You need to lodge a claim with the CTP Regulator within six months of the accident.

When the identity of the other vehicle is unknown then you must take reasonable steps to ascertain their identity, which may involve placing ads in local newspapers seeking witnesses.

Dealing with a CTP insurer can be a daunting process. It is in the insurer’s interest to minimise the amount of damages paid out which is why it makes sense to let an experienced compensation lawyer guide you through the process and ensure any settlement of your claim with an insurer is fair and reasonable. Remember that a settlement is a once and for all payment, and covers not only compensation for past losses, but also your entitlement to future losses.

Gajic Lawyers are specialists in motor vehicle accident injury claims with a proven track record. We have years of experience negotiating with CTP insurers on behalf of our clients, and will take steps to try and finalise your claim as quickly as possible. Get in touch with our Adelaide office on 1800 413 755 today for an obligation-free consultation about your case.

e-scooter lawyers

Who Could Be Liable for E-Scooter Accidents in Australia?

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims, Public Liability Claims

Legal liability will depend on who is at fault – the answer can be any of the following parties:

· E-scooter riders;

· Pedestrians;

· Motor vehicle drivers/riders or businesses owning these vehicles;

· Cities, councils or other responsible regulatory authorities/public corporations/agencies;

· E-scooter hire companies and/or manufacturers;

Many issues remain for Australia’s regulators to adequately address in light of the fact that e-scooters do not meet Australian Design/Safety Standards for road use. As such, e-scooters cannot be registered as motor vehicles and are not covered by Compulsory Third Party(CTP) insurance schemes.

Road use regulations vary across Australia, but in most states and territories e-scooters are banned from public roads and can only be used on private property.

Outside of current trials underway in Brisbane and Adelaide, strict penalties may be imposed on e-scooter riders who unilaterally acquire and ride e-scooters in public spaces (e.g. footpaths, parks etc.) in contravention of existing state laws and local council regulations.

It is important to keep abreast of regulations in your local area. (Read more about current regulations throughout Australia, HERE).

Australia’s city leaders and regulators appear to be taking a prudent approach and are cautiously undertaking trials of e-scooters. It is commendable that they haven’t permitted swarms of e-scooters being released on citizens and our crowded and bumpy footpaths. They have also limited maximum speeds to 20km/h during trials.

However, many important issues need to be resolved to prevent a cascade of legal liabilities, personal injury and economic loss for communities broadly. Prime concerns include:

· How will pedestrian and rider safety best be maximised?

· Will e-scooter riders be afforded the same treatment as bicycle riders and be permitted to use dedicated bicycle lanes? Or will dedicated e-scooter zones be regulated?

· Where and under what conditions is it reasonable to permit e-scooters to co-mingle with pedestrians?

· What speeds and other precautions are deemed safe for e-scooters around pedestrians? Current Australian trials have limited maximum e-scooter speeds to 20km/h.

· What safety induction training or perhaps even licensing is appropriate?

· What limitations will be optimal for e-scooter interaction with motor vehicle traffic?

No doubt, trials of e-scooters are designed to address these and an ocean of related issues by providing experience-based data for all stakeholders to mould better policy and safer scooting conditions.

Trial periods do not mean however, that people injured in e-scooter accidents should remain uncompensated data-points.

Gajic Lawyers is a specialised personal injury law firm, operating Australia-wide. We understand the nuances of complex personal injury claims arising from e-scooter injuries.

If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident in Brisbane or Adelaide (either as a rider or member of the public) , our lawyers can cut through the often confusing issues related to your e-scooter personal injury entitlements. For your peace of mind, we undertake to do so on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Talk to us at your earliest convenience, we can certainly assist in maximising your compensation potential.

“Gajic Lawyers, where personal injury compensation is treated as a fundamental human right.”

e-scooter accidents

E-Scooters in Australia

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims, Public Liability Claims

Trials of motorised foot scooters – e-scooters – are currently underway in Brisbane, Adelaide and parts of Victoria. City councils are conducting these trials in conjunction with licensed e-scooter hire companies. E-scooters are powered by electric motors, and appear to be favourably received by riders in these cities.

Councils in Sydney and Western Australia are also planning to implement public trials with e-scooter hire companies in the near future.

E-scooters are marketed as an efficient and environmentally-friendly means of transport for short journeys. They offer utility in terms of mobility, fuel-cost savings over cars, time efficiencies for day-to-day activities, and a fun recreational activity.

Recent US experience, where e-scooters have been released into communities en-masse, has been met with a mixed reception by communities and regulators. Some cities have banned the use of e-scooters due to safety and public nuisance issues.

Also, lawsuits are mounting throughout the USA for personal injuries, public nuisance, product liability and negligence claims. Some early and limited clinical research from various US emergency rooms indicates that the incidence of e-scooter related injuries is similar to bicycle injuries. E-scooter accidents imperil riders, pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers. Injuries can range from grazes, bruising, minor fractures, to debilitating incapacity and sadly, even death.

Current e-scooter trials in Brisbane and Adelaide are demonstrating that danger lurks in many places and unexpected encounters. Here also, e-scooter riders, pedestrians and even other road users are suffering debilitating physical injuries and economic losses as a result of e-scooter related accidents.

Injury and losses are being caused by many factors including:

· Road hazards poorly maintained riding surfaces and chaotic environments (such as around construction sites);

· Panic stopping attempts by riders;

· Not wearing safety equipment;

· Poor visibility, insufficient traffic management or signage;

· Reckless behaviour of riders, other road users and pedestrians;

· Poorly maintained or faulty e-scooters;

These factors raise many important questions for the public at large, including:

· Where do you turn for relief if you are injured as an e-scooter rider in an accident?

· What if you suffer injuries and you lose your capacity for work and incur burdensome medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses?

· Who is liable for injuries that you as a pedestrian, or your loved-ones, suffer as a result of an e-scooter rider colliding with you in a busy pedestrian zone?

· Where do you turn for relief if you are injured in a “scoot and run” scenario?

· What if you are driving your motor vehicle and swerve to avoid a panicked e-scooter rider careening out of control in front of your vehicle? You may have successfully managed to avoid hitting them, but are injured as a result of colliding with other vehicles -what then?

· What recourse is available to you if the e-scooter you were riding suddenly loses a wheel, or the brakes fail and you are injured and cannot work as a result for extended periods of time?

· What do you do if you are riding an e-scooter in a designated area and sustain injuries and economic losses as a result of poorly maintained surfaces or as a result of encountering chaotic riding environments that weren’t supervised or controlled appropriately?

· Are E-scooter hire companies attempting to minimise their liability with unfair contractual clauses in their hire agreements?

· How do you, or your loved ones recover losses?

These are just a sample of pressing issues for e-scooter riders, pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers alike. Answers to the above questions are not always straightforward, particularly in these early e-scooter trials in Australia.

Gajic Lawyers is a specialised personal injury law firm, operating Australia-wide. We understand the nuances of complex personal injury claims arising from e-scooter injuries.

If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident in Brisbane or Adelaide (either as a rider, a motor vehicle driver or member of the public) , our lawyers can cut through the often confusing issues related to your e-scooter personal injury entitlements.

For your peace of mind, we undertake to do so on a no-win, no-fee basis.

 

mva claim nsw

What to Do When Making a Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Claim in New South Wales

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Vehicle accidents happen every day and therefore comprise some of the most frequent types of legal claim made throughout the world. And while the frequency of car accidents might suggest related claims are a bit more cut-and-dried than other legal claims, this is unfortunately not the case.

Even when you were not the party to blame for the accident, there are still several steps you must take, time limits you need to be aware of, and requirements you need to adhere to in order to make a claim. If you don’t you can damage your claim or even bar yourself from making it.

Below are some of the steps people need to take when making a claim for motor accident compensation.

  1. Seek medical attention: First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself and the best way to do that is to see a medical professional, even if your injuries seem minor or even nonexistent. Some of the most serious injuries, like concussions, whiplash, spine and neck injuries, initially present with few or no symptoms but can worsen significantly over time, especially if left untreated. Secondly, you will want to establish the costs of these injuries. By receiving medical attention, you are establishing the history, severity and cost of treating those injuries. This is your proof of the financial toll of the accident on you.
  2. Report the accident to the police immediately: Whether it’s a small fender bender or a huge crash, accidents will need to be reported to the police within 28 days in order for you to be able to file a claim. Sometimes you may want to take the time to determine whether the accident caused enough damage to justify the claims process, but it is imperative to not wait too long and miss that 28-day window or you risk complications when filing.
  3. Send the claim to the insurer within three months of the accident: The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (NSW) that came into effect in December 2017 changed the time frame in which a Motor Accident Personal Injury Claim Form needs to be sent to the insurer from six months to three months. You can determine the insurer of the at-fault vehicle by contacting the Motor Accident Authority. It should be noted that if the claim form is not served within 28 days, then the injured person is not entitled to weekly benefits for any period prior to service of the claim form.

If you are off work and missing out on earnings because of an injury sustained in a motor accident, you may be entitled to income support payments which will be a percentage of your pre-accident earnings. For the first 13 weeks the maximum is 95 per cent and after 14 weeks, the maximum is 85 per cent (depending on whether you have total or partial loss of earning capacity).

After six months your income support payments will end if you were at fault or mostly at fault in causing the accident, or your injuries are assessed as ‘minor’. The legislation defines a minor injury as a soft tissue injury, such as whiplash, or a minor psychiatric or psychological injury, such as changes in mood and behaviour due to involvement in, or witnessing the accident.

  1. Retain the services of a lawyer: The claims process is complicated, stressful, and can be overwhelming to those without experience. In the aftermath of an accident, you should be focused on healing, not whether or not you’ve missed your filing deadline. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with the ins and outs of the claims process and will alleviate some of the stress of the experience by taking care of everything. More importantly, a lawyer will be able to coach you in how to talk to the insurance investigator who will be determining fault and ultimately how much compensation you are entitled to.
  2. Choose the ‘right’ lawyer: When deciding who you want to represent you, you should consider their experience, the type of law that they practise, their reputation in the community, and the way that they communicate with you. Your lawyer should be transparent about their fees and should be able to communicate in a way that works for you.

Gajic Lawyers are specialists in personal injury, with diverse experience in motor accident claims, public liability claim, medical negligence and more. If you have suffered because of an incident involving a motor vehicle, we can help you claim the compensation to which you’re entitled. Call us to assess your case today on 1800 413 755.

Injured on a Bicycle WA

Injured on a Bicycle in Western Australia. Can I Claim Compensation?

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

As people across the globe become more ecologically conscious, many are opting to ride their bike instead of driving a car to help reduce their carbon footprint. Others ride for recreation and the joy of flying down the open road.

While biking is excellent for the environment and your health, it’s an activity that does carry the risk of significant injury to the rider. If you’re a cyclist who finds themselves injured in an accident with a negligent motor vehicle, do you know what types of compensation you might be entitled to?

How can I protect myself on the road?

The most important step you can take to ensure your own safety is to observe all of the rules of the road. You should also make sure to wear protective gear, such as helmets or padding. While it may not provide as much protection as you would like, something is better than nothing in the case of impact with either the road or a motor vehicle.

What can I claim?

If you are a cyclist who is injured in an accident with a negligent motor vehicle, there are a number of different types of compensation that you may be able to claim depending upon the unique circumstances of the incident. These can include pain and suffering; past and future lost wages; loss of future earning capacity; past and future medical expenses; the cost of rehabilitation; and economic damages (cost of the damage caused to your biking equipment).

Under Western Australia’s CTP scheme, any third party injured or killed as a result of the negligent driving of a WA-registered motor vehicle is entitled to compensation payments for personal injury suffered, subject to certain statutory thresholds. For cyclists, compensation is paid only if the driver is fully or partly at fault in a motor vehicle accident with the cyclist. The cyclist’s compensation own contributory negligence in causing the accident (if any) is also taken into account.

It’s important to note that the CTP insurance policy only covers personal injury. It does not provide any cover for damage to motor vehicles or property (including bicycles or personal items).

Injured cyclists can also make a claim even if the offending vehicle cannot be identified or is unknown – such as in a hit-and-run situation.

How much will I receive in compensation for my injuries?

The greater the fault of the other driver, the more serious your injuries, and the less culpable you are in your own accident, the more compensation you are likely to be awarded.

The damages that you try and claim must be related to, or caused by, the accident to qualify. It is important that you save all receipts, medical bills, prescription orders, and insurance claims during this time to prove the amount of your damages. You should also document your injuries by taking pictures of  yourself at various stages of recovery.

What other claims might I be entitled to?

If your cycling injury occurs in a public place as a result of the conditions at that location (such as an uneven pathway), you may be entitled to file a public liability claim.

A professionally trained lawyer will be able to advise you as to the claim’s likelihood of success, ensure all claim elements are submitted on time, and alleviate some of the stress involved in making a claim, allowing you to focus on what matters most: getting better.

Gajic Lawyers are specialists in personal injury, with diverse experience in claims related to motor accidents and public liability. If you’re a cyclist who has been injured in an incident with a motor vehicle, or gone over the handlebars in a public area and are unsure of your rights, get in touch with our Perth office on 1800 413 755 today to have your case assessed today.

public liability claim

What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Public Place

By | Public Liability Claims

Taking a fall is never fun. Tripping, slipping or falling in public can be downright embarrassing. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with nothing more than a case of injured pride. If you’re not so fortunate, you may end up badly bruised, or with a fracture, a concussion or worse. You may have legal recourse, however, if you have sustained significant injuries as the result of such a fall. Here’s what you need to know about making a public liability claim.

Be proactive

Clearly your wellbeing after a fall should be your first priority. Having said that, you should report the incident as soon as you can. If at all possible you should report the incident immediately because if you leave without doing so, the hazard that caused your fall may be cleaned up or removed and the scene won’t be documented properly.

Of course, the specific circumstances will dictate whom you tell but in general it should be someone in authority at the site where you fell. This person should take a detailed account of what happened, noting the:

  • Date, time and specific location of the incident;
  • specific cause of the accident (such as a wet floor);
  • the type of injury you’ve sustained.

Don’t forget to request a copy of the report for your records.

Next, be sure to get prompt medical attention, even if you’ve only sustained a ‘minor’ injury. By doing so, you’ll have another source of documentation for your case. You can request medical reports from your personal physician or the emergency room doctor who treats you, along with any scan or x-ray results. These will serve as a valuable source of information about the extent of your injuries, prognosis and recovery. These will also serve as proof that the injury was a direct result of the fall, and not a preexisting injury.

If at all possible, either you or someone with you should photograph the accident scene, including the hazard before it is removed. Photographs of your injuries taken immediately or soon after the accident can also be used as evidence to support your claim.

You can also bolster your claim by:

  • Getting the names and contact information of any witnesses;
  • obtaining video footage of the accident (if any) from nearby security cameras;
  • keeping track of relevant medical expenses.

When to seek legal advice

Legally, the owners and operators of public property and facilities must take reasonable precautions to protect users or visitors from accidental injury. This means that they must remove or correct any known hazards as soon as possible. Alternatively, they must provide adequate warning of such hazards pending correction or removal.

If you believe that a failure to exercise these precautions led to your injury, you should contact an experienced personal injury/public liability claims lawyer to discuss your legal options. For example, you should contact us if you were injured on or by:

  • Slippery Floors: When a hazard (a spilled liquid) hasn’t been removed or there is inadequate warning about such a hazard.
  • Doors: Defective, broken or malfunctioning doors and passageways.
  • Obstructions: Including but not limited to pallets, boxes, produce or missing/improperly placed entry and exit mats.
  • Escalator or shopping trolley mishaps.
  • Other: You may still have a case even if you were injured in an accident in a public place but the circumstances don’t match any we’ve described.

How we can help

If you were injured in a public place, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as lost income due to the inability to work; pain and suffering; medical expenses; rehabilitation; and loss of life quality and assistance provided by family members.

At Gajic Lawyers, our personal injury/public liability claims team has the skills and experience needed to assess the specific circumstances of your case. In fact, we have prevailed in numerous public liability claims over 30 years. Based on our evaluation, we can determine whether you have a viable case, and if you do, you won’t be responsible for any fees unless we win. Contact us to arrange an obligation-free chat with one of our lawyers today.

how long personal injury claims

How Long Will it Take to Resolve My Personal Injury Claim?

By | Personal Injury

If you or a loved one become one of the thousands of Australians who suffer a personal injury for which you’re entitled to seek compensation, one of your biggest concerns will be how long the process will take. The stress of medical bills, lost wages, additional care costs, and the pain and suffering of the injury itself, can mean every day that passes without resolution can feel like an eternity. Every situation is unique and some claims may take longer to resolve than others due to a variety of factors.

Type of claim

There are many different ways to injure oneself in our world. The most common injuries result from motor vehicle accidents, however, there are many other circumstances where an injury may give rise to a personal injury claim: work related injuries, medical negligence, public and product liability injuries, crime victim related injuries, professional negligence, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Different claims have different timeliness requirements.

Claims arising from motor vehicle accidents: If your injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident, you will have 28 days from the date of the accident to file a claim with the local police. Within six months of the accident, you will need to file a claim with the CTP insurer of the at-fault driver.

All other claims: If your injury was caused in any way not involving a motor vehicle accident, you will have to file a claim within three years from the date your injury was sustained or discovered. Overall, you will have 12 years from when the act caused your injury.

Exceptions: In all cases, the court may review the time frame and allow you to file a claim, even if you would be otherwise barred. This will require you to demonstrate a good cause, so it’s important not to miss these deadlines.

Type of injury

Some claims involving more minor injuries may move more quickly. This is because these injuries tend to stabilize more quickly and thus you are more quickly able to determine your losses and future needs. In order to accurately determine what compensation you are owed, it is necessary to determine how much you’ve lost: that is, what are your damages?

Damages can only be determined once a condition stabilizes and the long-term effects can be predicted and quantified. However, with larger ‘catastrophic’ injuries, they will likely take longer to stabilize. Once this occurs, you will provide these details to your insurer who can either accept the damages or the claim will proceed to court.

Legal proceedings

Once you file the claim and send the insurer all of the necessary information, they will respond with either a settlement offer, or the claim can proceed to court. The claim will then be addressed according to the court’s timetable, which generally means that you will have the opportunity for a hearing within a year to a year-and-a-half after the proceedings are commenced. During this time, you, your legal representation, and medical team will work together to build the strongest case possible in support of your claim. This may involve multiple doctor’s visits and you should be prepared to record everything relevant, particularly costs.

Settlement

The uncertain and extended timetable of court proceedings can be daunting and wallet-draining for many. This is why it is often tempting for the injured party to settle, even if it is a low offer or they haven’t yet calculated their total damages. While settling early can save you time and stress, you should certainly wait until you are fully informed as to your claim’s value so that you know whether the trade-off is worth it to you and your particular circumstances.

If you have any questions or need someone to help alleviate the burden of a personal injury claim, please contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Contributory Negligence

What Does ‘Contributory Negligence’ Mean in a Personal Injury Claim?

By | Personal Injury

In a personal injury claim, contributory negligence is where the actions of an injured person have contributed to the injury that has occurred. In other words, if one sustains injuries because another was negligent, the defence may claim that something was done or failed to be done by the plaintiff that contributed to the way the injuries occurred. In this situation it’s the responsibility of the party claiming contributory negligence, the defendant, to prove that on the balance of probabilities contributory negligence took place.

Types of contributory negligence

There are two kinds of contributory negligence. The first takes into account the circumstances of the accident, while the second is concerned with the extent of the injury that has been sustained.

Examples of contributory negligence and the circumstances surrounding the accident

The amount of compensation that may be paid is dependent upon a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of financial loss that the injured person has suffered (loss of income as a result of not being able to work);
  • the extent of the injuries sustained by the claimant;
  • the amount and extent of damage that was caused to any personal property (and the kind of personal property that was damaged).

To provide an example of contributory negligence, imagine that a pedestrian decided to cross a road without first checking it was clear and then causes an accident in which he is hit by a car. The pedestrian then files a compensation claim against the driver who hit him. However, the driver (or their CTP insurer) will likely claim that the pedestrian stepped out onto the road in front of them and the driver had no way of avoiding the collision. The driver would be alleging, therefore, that the pedestrian’s actions were contributorily negligent in causing the accident.

The factual circumstances surrounding the accident are crucial to the success of a claim of contributory negligence. In the example above, the driver of the vehicle may even claim that the fault of the accident is entirely the pedestrian’s because he stepped out in front of the driver’s vehicle. In response, the pedestrian may argue that although he stepped out onto the road without looking, the driver had a sufficient amount of time to see the pedestrian and could have avoided the collision. Importantly, a plaintiff may still have grounds for a successful personal injury claim despite their risky behaviour leading to a claim of contributory negligence by the other party.

Percentages

The Court generally uses percentages to determine the amount of contributory negligence that has taken place. For example, in the pedestrian and driver example, the Court may apportion responsibility between the parties and find that both the driver and the pedestrian contributed equally to the accident. The Court may then rule that 50% of the fault was on the pedestrian.

 The effect on compensation

If the Court finds the plaintiff to have been contributorily negligent in causing the injuries sustained in the accident, the plaintiff’s compensation for gross damages will be reduced. For example, if the Court rules that 50% of the fault belongs to the pedestrian, then his compensation will be lowered by 50%.

Intoxication and criminal activity

There are statutory provisions that impose mandatory reductions for contributory negligence. The Civil Liability Act 2003 (CLA) states that in a scenario when the plaintiff is intoxicated, this will have contributed to the injuries that they sustained and their claim for damages will automatically be reduced by 25%. Furthermore, in cases where a motor vehicle and intoxication are involved, the mandatory reduction goes from 25% to 50%.

If a person is found to have been injured whilst participating in criminal activity when they claim compensation, the Court may decide not to award any damages at all. However, even in this situation, if no compensation award for damages seems too unfair, the Court may decide to award some amount.

Conclusion

If you have been involved in an accident, it is advisable that you immediately seek legal advice. A legal specialist will help you to understand your rights and determine the rightful amount of compensation that may be available to you.

fatal car accident

What Compensation is Available for Fatal Car Accidents?

By | Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Car accidents are undoubtedly tragic events which claim many lives on our roads every year. In New South Wales alone during 2017 there were over 12,000 car crashes and 407 fatalities.

The death of a loved one in such circumstances is an emotional and traumatic time for any family. Thankfully, compensation is accessible for eligible families to help deal with the trauma of the experience. There are many factors that determine what sort of compensation might be available in the case of a loved one’s road death. Primarily, these centre on your relationship to the deceased and who was at fault during the accident, as discussed in further detail below.

Who is eligible for compensation?

Often, immediate family members of the deceased are eligible for compensation following the death of a family member. The deceased’s parents, siblings, children and spouse or de facto partner are usually entitled to compensation. Compensation can cover not only fatal car accidents but also other collision accidents involving motorbikes, bicycles, boats, trains, planes or other motor vehicles.

Who was at fault?

In scenarios where the deceased was not at fault in the accident that caused their death, they are eligible to receive compensation. This eligibility applies not only to the driver of the vehicle, but also to pedestrians or passengers involved in the accident.

In circumstances where the deceased was partly at fault, compensation is still available but the pay-out is generally lower. If the deceased was fully at fault in causing the accident, then surviving family members will unlikely be able to claim compensation. Some scenarios in which either of these situations can arise, as well as scenarios where pedestrians or passengers may be found guilty of causing the accident and thus are unable to claim compensation, include:

  • Failing to wear a seat belt;
  • exceeding the legal speed limit;
  • failing to follow pedestrian road rules;
  • driving while under the influence of alcohol;
  • driving while under the influence of drugs;
  • travelling in a car where the deceased was aware that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the deceased was aware that the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was compromised;
  • distracting the driver;
  • assaulting the driver;
  • crossing the road in a reckless manner.

When the fatal accident is a blameless accident – that is, nobody in particular can be held at fault – compensation can still be awarded. Examples of this situation include:

  • Accidents caused by animals;
  • accidents caused by falling trees;
  • accidents caused by sudden illness, such as a seizure or a heart attack.

The only time that one might not be entitled to receive compensation in one of these blameless accident scenarios is when the accident is caused by the deceased suffering from a sudden illness.

If the deceased victim was under the age of 16 and a resident of New South Wales at the time of the accident, compensation may be claimed on the child’s behalf, regardless of who was at fault.

Receiving compensation and the requirements to do so

To be able to file a compensation claim, there are a number of steps that need to be undertaken. The first is that the accident must be reported to the police. It is also important that an event number is received. Following this, the registration number of the motor vehicle that prompted the accident must be obtained. The CTP insurance company of the motor vehicle responsible for the accident must also be noted. If the registration number or insurance details cannot be located, it is acceptable to make enquiries for these details from the police, and also seek out any witnesses to the accident. Records such as expenses (hospital records, medical expenses, funeral expenses, etc.) and other related documents and receipts should also be kept in order to file an accurate claim. In instances where the accident was caused by a hit and run, compensation is still eligible under the Nominal Defence Scheme.

The types of compensation that may be available includes:

  • Medical and hospital expenses prior to the death;
  • funeral expenses and cremation expenses;
  • loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided to their children or other relatives prior to their death;
  • loss of services, such as the care the deceased would have provided to dependant children;
  • loss of earnings prior to the death;
  • nervous shock – psychological conditions such as severe stress or anxiety resulting from the news of the death, or witnessing the accident.

Compensation claims are paid by the insurers of the driver and/or owner of the car that caused the accident because all car owners within Australia are required to pay Compulsory Third Party (CPI) Insurance.

Time limitations and conclusion

Compensation claims must be made as soon as possible, regardless of the tough time that families might be going through. Once compensation is secured, it will be easier to focus on caring for family and making necessary arrangements through this difficult time. Legal advice should be sought if you or a loved one is involved in a serious car accident in order to know your rights and quickly ascertain what types of compensation may be available to you.

plastic surgery gone wrong

Can I Make a Medical Negligence Claim for Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong?

By | Medical Negligence

Plastic surgery is an increasingly common choice for all types of people. Where once an individual might have suffered from the stigma attached to this kind of self-enhancement, now a range of people spanning genders, age groups and income levels make the choice to undergo cosmetic surgery. From out-patient procedures to more invasive operations, people are pursuing surgical improvements to self-image, psychological wellbeing and other physical benefits.

Like any medical procedure, however, there are risks associated with plastic surgery. If you or a loved one undergo plastic surgery and receive less than desirable results, it is possible that a breach of the duty of care took place. If so, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.

Negligence

Negligence is generally shown by establishing that one party owes the other a duty of care, that the duty of care was breached, and that an injury was caused by the breach. In medical negligence cases there are an endless number of ways a doctor or surgeon may be proven to be negligent, but in the context of plastic surgery, the most crucial element is whether or not the doctor adequately informed the patient of the risks of the operation.

Despite the potential psychological, self-esteem and quality of life benefits associated with plastic surgery, most procedures are rarely essential and are primarily cosmetic. Because plastic surgery is elective and not necessary for survival, this means that the patient should have an even greater understanding of the risks involved.

Additionally, surgeons are required to ensure that the patient is mentally and emotionally prepared for the process by conducting a psychological evaluation prior to the operation. If the doctor rushes the process, fails to fully inform the patient, or overlooks psychological red flags and the results of the surgery aren’t satisfactory, the patient may be able to argue medical negligence.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The very best way to protect yourself if you are considering plastic surgery is to do your own research about your desired procedure, the surgeon you will be using and the possible outcomes, both good and bad. According to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, many people fail to spend the appropriate amount of time researching and preparing for their procedure, with many focusing solely on their desired outcome without considering the potential risks.

By rushing into cosmetic surgery, even for seemingly minor procedures, patients are putting themselves at risk. To prevent potential injury, botched cosmetic surgery, future complications, or even just less than perfect results, you should do as much research and preparation as possible before undergoing any surgery.

Medical negligence lawyers

If you or a loved one have undergone plastic surgery and are suffering unexpected consequences, you should consult with a medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a claim and how best to proceed if so. When talking to your lawyer, it will be crucial to disclose the details of all conversations between you and your plastic surgeon, providing copies of any advertisements that enticed you to undergo the surgery, and medical records both before and after the procedure. By comparing your life before and after the surgery, your lawyer will have a better idea of how the surgery has impacted you and can provide a guideline for how you should be compensated.

Lawyers are your advocate first and foremost, and are professionally trained to help you collect the necessary evidence to build the strongest case possible.

Knee Replacements Are No Longer Subject to Time Limits

Knee Replacements are No Longer Subject to Time Limits

By | WorkCover Claims

Some of the most common injuries sustained in work accidents are joint injuries such as those involving hip and knee replacements. Because joints such as these are vital to everyday movement, knee injuries can severely impact both your ability to work and your general quality of life.

Moreover, even if you receive prompt and appropriate treatment, the very nature of joint injuries is that they are degenerative. This means that often, you may not even realise the true impact of an injury until a great deal of time has passed. Since 2012, the opportunity for injured workers to claim was subject to new time limitations, with a few exceptions added in 2015. Recently, a Presidential decision by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) was made that secures an unrestricted time limit for knee replacement surgeries.

Pacific National Pty Ltd v Baldacchino [2018]

Introduction

In late October of 1999 a long term railway employee, Mr. Baldacchino, seriously injured his left knee, badly twisting it while exiting a train-car. A few months later, he filed a claim and underwent an arthroscopic surgery to try and rectify the situation. He received payment for his treatment expenses, as well as weekly compensation for lost wages. Despite receiving treatment early on, however, Mr. Baldacchino’s knee condition deteriorated over the next several years.

Facts

When Mr. Baldacchino’s position became redundant in 2014, he was forced to retire from work. In 2016 when he turned 65, Mr. Baldacchino was sent to an orthopedic surgeon who suggested he undergo yet another surgery to address his knee injury. This time, a full knee replacement was recommended and he filed a claim regarding the costs of the surgery. After an extended review of their liability, the insurance agency (Pacific National) denied his claim. Their reason? That the original 1999 knee injury was not responsible for the knee replacement surgery recommended to Mr. Baldacchino in 2016.

Arguments

After a review by the Workers Compensation Commission, Pacific National was directed to pay for Mr. Baldacchino’s knee surgery. Pacific National objected, however, arguing that 1) there was no causal connection to the injury; and 2) the claim was precluded by the time limits listed in section 59A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Section 59A of the Act stated the prescribed periods of time for which an injured party can claim compensation, as well as the exceptions to the time limits.

Mr. Baldacchino’s claim was precluded from compensation by the time limit and, due to the fact that he was over the age of retirement at the time of the claim, he was not eligible to reopen a claim for weekly compensation. However, it was ruled that his knee replacement surgery did fall under one of the exceptions: artificial aid.

The reasoning was that the nature of ‘artificial aid’ has changed dramatically from its initial interpretation almost 40 years earlier, and that the term now included “anything that was specifically constructed to enable the effects of the disability to be overcome”. Additionally, it was clear that the knee replacement surgery was a result of the injury from 1999.

Consequences

The decision of the Baldacchino case serves to alleviate many of the harsh consequences caused by the 2012 amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. In particular, retired workers stand to benefit from the decision because it grants them the freedom to receive compensation for injuries that have degenerated severely over long periods of time. Moreover, the decision will likely not only affect knee replacement surgeries, but also other joint surgeries with similar impacts, such as hip replacements.

If you or a loved one have any questions regarding what types of injuries will be affected by this decision, what devices and methods will fall under the definition of ‘artificial aid’, or how you can pursue compensation after the age of retirement, please contact a professional lawyer today.