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Gajic Lawyers

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.


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.


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.


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 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]


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.


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.


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.


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.

Injured Suffer in New Green Slip

Legal Rights of the Injured Suffer in New Green Slip Changes in NSW

By | Personal Injury

Green Slip Changes in New South Wales Cause Legal Rights of the Injured to Suffer

The effects of a car accident can be overwhelming, even without considering the legal consequences. These feelings can be exacerbated when laws are significantly changed regarding injury compensation, as they have been recently in NSW. In order to help with at least some of the confusion, we have outlined a few of the more major changes below. With the help of a good lawyer, you can rest assured that you comply with all of the new regulations, protect your rights, and receive the compensation that you are owed.

Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Regulation 2017

Recently enacted, the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Regulation 2017 (MAIAR) revisits what it means to have a ‘minor injury’ under compulsory third party insurance law. Previously, ‘minor injury’ was understood to include a broader range of conditions. The MAIAR also made changes that exclude injured parties with ‘moderate’ neurological injuries from recovering damages, despite the serious effect of these injuries on people’s ability to work. Those unfortunate people who are now excluded by the new MAIAR regulations will be forced to receive compensation from Medicare or private health insurance for long term treatment.

New Benefit Scheme

Though at first glance the new regulations seem only to exclude and minimize benefits, it is important to remember that injured parties still have rights. Some of the new benefits under the compulsory third party scheme include:

  • weekly income when an injured party can’t work;
  • homecare services;
  • rehabilitation services;
  • funeral expenses;
  • reasonable medical costs.

How Will the Changes be Enacted?

In order to ensure time-efficiency of the claims process, for the first six months after MAIAR changes take effect, it won’t matter whether or not the injured party was at fault or not. This way, no time is wasted determining fault. However, after the first six months have passed, fault will be taken into consideration. If the claimant was not at fault and had more than a minor injury, then the injured party may be entitled to receive benefits for up to two years. Medical benefits may go on as required, even for life if necessary.

Time Limits

Your doctor will likely recommend that, after experiencing an injury, you submit your Compulsory Third Party claim within 28 days of the accident. By acting fast, you can ensure you receive all the possible benefits that you are entitled to and also receive them as quickly as possible. Though you can lodge a claim for up to three months after your accident, sooner is better to ensure back pay of weekly payments. The Australian Medical Association reassures injured parties that they will be entitled to receive benefits for the first six months without needing to engage a lawyer. However, legal advice is crucial to the process, especially given the new regulations and strict time limits.

Reasoning Behind the Changes to the Regulation

The new regulations are intended to urge injured parties to return to work as soon as possible after motor vehicle accidents. These changes do ensure that injured parties receive compensation quickly for their injuries because the drawn-out fault determination process has been eliminated.

Critical Reception

The new MAIAR changes have been highly criticised for eliminating many of the benefits for more minor (but still impactful) injuries. The president of Australian Bar Association had harsh words for these new regulations, stating that they run completely counter to the goal of providing adequate compensation for injured parties. It appears that the only parties that truly benefit from these changes are the insurance companies, whereas injured citizens will be forced to cover their expenses in other ways.

cosmetic surgery negligence claim

What to Do if You Have Had a Bad Cosmetic Surgery

By | Medical Negligence, Podcast

In this podcast, Marie Doueihi, one of our Personal Injury answers questions regarding medical negligence claims in relation to cosmetic surgery.


Cosmetic surgery in Australia is increasingly becoming very common for both male and female, but so too are the number of complaints by people who are not satisfied with the result, or worse, have suffered through the negligence of the cosmetic surgeon. In either circumstance, what do you do about it?

In this podcast, Marie Doueihi, a personal injury expert at Gajic Lawyers answers the question.

Marie Doueihi:
Hi, Dan. Thanks for having a chat with me today. Well, to start, medical negligence in cosmetic surgery generally occurs when a cosmetic surgeon causes physical or psychological injury to their patients, and an injury that could have been prevented if the surgeon had acted or performed the procedure within their duty of care.

So what is required to make a medical negligence compensation claim for those who have perhaps suffered as a result of this cosmetic surgery?

Marie Doueihi:
Well, for those who have had cosmetic surgeries that did not go to plan, a medical negligence compensation claim is a way of receiving compensation for the negligent actions of their cosmetic surgeon. In proving that a cosmetic surgeon’s treatment was negligent, it must first be proven that their treatment did not reasonably meet the Australian standards of the medical community at large. Now, it must also be established that if the cosmetic surgeon had not given negligent treatment, any harm to the patient would have been avoided.

Marie Doueihi:
So this judgement is based on the opinion of a number of other respected cosmetic surgeons in the industry, but a bad outcome from cosmetic surgery does not automatically mean that medical negligence has occurred, nor does it mean that the victim, or that the injured patient, is entitled to compensation. So it is really important that patients who believe they have had harm or damage caused by their surgeon seek the opinion and advice of the legal team.

Marie, how is compensation calculated in these matters?

Marie Doueihi:
How much compensation you receive for negligence of your cosmetic surgeon will vary depending on the amount of harm and loss of use suffered. The aim of compensation, at the end of the day, is to put the patient back in the position that they would have been, had the cosmetic surgeon’s negligence not occurred. We can generally help you achieve compensation for your claim, which includes loss of earnings, pain and suffering, medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and loss of your quality of life.

Marie, in the context of cosmetic surgery, is there a particular common negligence action that you see in your experience?

Marie Doueihi:
Yes, there is, Dan. The most common form of cosmetic surgery medical negligence claims we see is a cosmetic surgeon’s failure to warn their patient of all the associated risks of a procedure that they propose. A cosmetic surgeon is required to explain and provide information on all the possible outcomes and risks of a surgery before the patient decides whether or not to proceed. Medical negligence has occurred when a cosmetic surgeon has then failed to warn a patient of all the risks of a procedure, and had their patient known of the risks, would not have gone ahead with the surgery, and therefore would have avoided an injury.

Marie Doueihi:
To give an example, a woman sued a cosmetic surgery business after suffering a permanent facial scarring. She was informed by her cosmetic surgeon before the procedure that the worst outcome of her cosmetic surgery would be slight pinkness of the face and was not warned of any permanent scars, so she was able to make a medical negligence claim and was successful in doing so.

So, Marie, what’s the time limits for these types of matters?

Marie Doueihi:
Okay, so generally with medical negligence claims, you must resolve your claim with the insurer or defendant’s solicitors within three years, or you must commence proceedings in court within three years from the date of injury, otherwise the case can be statute barred, i.e. that means you will lose your right to make a claim. There are a number of time consuming procedural steps which must be taken before court proceedings can be commenced, so we encourage clients to not leave it to the last minute, and to consult and obtain legal advice as soon as possible.

Marie, thanks for joining me.

Marie Doueihi:
No problem. Thank you, Dan. Thanks for your time.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening. If you have any questions related to personal injury law, contact Gajic Lawyers on 02-9890-5885.

TPD Claim

Why Should I Use a Lawyer for My TPD (Total and Permanent Disability) Claim?

By | Superannuation TPD

There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to hiring a lawyer. The chief among these are that hiring a lawyer is both expensive and unnecessary. In reality, however, hiring a lawyer often saves time and money. This is definitely the case if you are trying to make a total permanent disability (TPD) claim for a serious injury or illness.

There are several reasons why it is difficult to make this type of claim without proper legal advice or representation. One of them is that various super funds and insurance providers have their own definitions of TPD.  Among other things, this means there may be different requirements.  Under one policy, for example, you may need to prove that you are unable to work to make a successful claim. Under another, you may be required to prove that it is “unlikely” you will ever be able to work again.

Additional considerations, such as how your employment is legally classified, whether you are currently employed and how many hours you work, can also affect your case. Depending on your situation, you may have to prove that your illness or injury rendered you incapable of performing simple tasks that are essential to daily life. Specifically, you may be required to submit evidence showing that you can no longer feed yourself, bathe, use the toilet, do household chores and errands, or get around without assistance in order to make a successful claim.

A qualified lawyer can quickly and easily assess your situation to determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, he or she can also can help you identify and gather the evidence you need to support your case. Just as importantly, your lawyer will have the experience and skills necessary to help you complete all of the paperwork associated with making a TPD claim. This is critical due to the length and complexity of TPD claim forms, some of which can top 20 pages.

Even if you are capable of completing the TPD application form(s) on your own, you should consult an experienced lawyer first. This is because some insurance providers have been known to use an applicant’s ability to do so as evidence that he or she does not have a total permanent disability. If this has already happened, a lawyer can help you challenge the insurer.

Legal representation is also essential if an insurer has rejected your claim based on “non-disclosure” of a previous medical condition or stipulations which exclude “preexisting illnesses”.  In most cases, the insurer that denies a claim based on the former argues that the applicant for TPD failed to provide information about an existing illness or injury when he or she obtained the policy. This allows the insurer to disregard or ‘avoid’ the policy. Super funds or insurers that deny TPD claims based on the second ground do so by demonstrating that the applicant is seeking cover for an illness or injury that happened before you were insured. While insurers count on the fact that most applicants lack the knowledge and ability to challenge these decisions, lawyers have the expertise necessary to do so.

By hiring a lawyer to help you understand your rights as you go through the TPD claim process, you’ll ensure that you have recourse if the insurer sends you to the wrong doctor or specialist. You’ll also know what to do if you think the insurer is engaging in an activity called “doctor shopping”. This is a process in which the insurer tries to send you to the same type of doctors or specialists over and over until one provides the information the insurer needs to deny your claim.

Ideally, your case will be resolved and your TPD claim will be approved without going to court. However, if your super fund insurance provider declines your claim, it may be necessary to seek court intervention. In that case, it is essential to have a good lawyer on your side.

Coping with a serious injury or illness is never easy, especially when medical bills are piling up and you are unable to work. The last thing you should have to worry about is getting the compensation to which you are legally entitled. If you’re considering pursuing a TPD claim through your superannuation fund, securing the best possible legal advice and representation is critical, so contact our Parramatta Personal Injury Lawyers today.

public liability guide

Public Liability Guide: What you Need to Know About Public Liability Compensation

By | Public Liability Claims

There’s nothing more embarrassing than slipping and falling in public…but besides looking foolish in front of strangers, what if your stinging pride and a bruised ego weren’t the worst injuries you suffered? If you or someone you know has been hurt in a public place, such as a shopping mall, theme park, car park, playground, or sporting venue, you may be able to receive compensation through a public liability claim if the owner of the property was negligent in the condition that contributed to your injury.

Public Liability

Those who own and operate businesses owe a duty to the general public to keep their premises safe and operate their services with reasonable care. They are legally required to take precautions to ensure that customers and clients feel safe, that their employees are properly trained, and that there are procedures in place to safeguard general public safety.

However, sometimes business owners are lax in their duty to the public. When this breach of duty happens and an injury occurs as a result, the injured party will be able to make a public liability claim under the Civil Liability Act. Many businesses in New South Wales, both big and small, pay money to public liability insurers so that if and when an accident occurs, the costs will be covered by the insurer.

What Kinds of Injuries Will be Covered?

The most commonly thought of public liability claim is the classis slip-and-fall scenario…a business owner fails to clean up a spill and the unsuspecting customer slips in it, falling and injuring themselves as a result. However, this is not the only chain of events that can give rise to a public liability claim. You may also have a cause of action for assault related injuries, sports injuries, injuries caused by unsafe conditions in car parks, or even injuries caused by defective products (machinery).

Product Liability

Related to the broader umbrella of public liability claims, product liability claims (due to defective machinery, for example) are distinguishable in a variety of ways. In cases where you have been injured by a faulty piece of machinery, you will need to prove that either the defendant party’s breach of a statutory guarantee or a provably dangerous product defect caused the injury. If there is a breach of a statutory consumer guarantee, you probably won’t need to show fault on the part of the defendant but you will need to show that the defective product is not of an acceptable quality for its intended purpose. If you are bringing a defective product claim, you need to demonstrate that your injury was caused by the product and the product had a safety defect which makes the product inherently less safe than the average consumer would have reason to expect.

What can you Recover?

If your injury occurs on public property as the result of the property owner’s negligent breach of duty, you may be able to recover economic damages including: lost past and future income, medical expenses (including rehabilitation and treatment expenses), cost of household assistance, and in-home care. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages as well, including pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and legal costs.

Time Limits

The time limits for a public liability claim are a bit more generous than many other types of claims. In New South Wales you have three years from the date of your injury to file a public liability claim. This is because it may take several months or even years to ascertain the overall impact an injury has on your overall wellbeing and determine the level of whole health impairment for the purposes of noneconomic damages.

pexels photo

What Does No Win No Fee Mean?

By | Personal Injury, Podcasts

In the context of personal injury law, or what some people refer to as compensation law, the term “no win, no fee” is often synonymous, but what does it actually mean?

In this podcast, Gajic Lawyers’ Rad Gajic answers the question.


Dan: Rad, what does the term mean?

Rad: Thank you, Dan. At Gajic lawyers, the term means what it says, and that is that we will act for you, to the completion of your claim, where you do not have to pay anything for our fees and for the costs that are involved in preparing the claim, until the claim is finished and provided the claim succeeds. Succeeds, in this situation, means that it is a win where you have an award of compensation or damages, or in ordinary terms, you receive money.

Dan: Can there be any exception to that particular rule?

Rad: Again, there is a lot of discussion about this, and different firms do different things. At Gajic Lawyers, provided it is an honest claim and the claim is unsuccessful at the end, where there is no money awarded or compensation paid, we will not, under any circumstances, take money for our fees, nor ask a person to pay for any of the expenses that have been incurred in preparing the claim.

Dan: Rad, what happens when the amount of damages is less than the total fees and expenses?

Rad: This is a very interesting question, Dan, and often not addressed by many people, but again, there have been rare instances at Gajic Lawyers where something like this does occur. The reasons for this can be various. The way we handle these type of situations is that we believe that the injured person must be compensated. There will be people that will be owed money, that have provided services and have worked on a claim. These people, we will negotiate with, and we have found that in these circumstances they are reasonable and will reduce the amount of money that they are owed. After those reductions, we find that there is a sum of money leftover and will be used for our fees, and the balance will be compensation payable to you. We will be reasonable, we will discount, and we will reduce to accommodate the situation that may be present.

Dan: Rad, these occasions are very rare, aren’t they, as you mentioned?

Rad: Extremely rare.

Dan: Rad, thank you.

Rad: Thank you, Dan.

workcover claim

Work Injury Guide: What You Need to Know about Work Injury Compensation

By | WorkCover Claims

In New South Wales, injuries sustained while at work or in the course of your employment are covered by the statutory benefit scheme: WorkCover.

Made up of three parts, WorkCover is meant to promote health and safety in the workplace and provide invaluable compensation to those people who are unfortunate enough to get injured while on the job.

What Benefits can you Claim?

Some people are entitled to receive more generous compensations than the majority of the population; people who work in emergency services such as firemen, police officers, ambulance personnel, emergency service volunteers, and bushfire fighters. However, for the majority of New South Wales, five categories of benefit are available after a work-related injury.

  1. Weekly Payments: When filing a claim requesting weekly payments, you will need to first file a “Certificate of Capacity.” This certificate must be filled out by your general practitioner and sent to both your employer and the relevant insurer.It is important to be aware that under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW), you are not entitled the entirety of your preinjury wages.We advise that the maximum amount you can recover within the first 13 weeks of week payments is 95%. If you have returned to work for any period of time, then your weekly payments will be reduced by the wages that you accrue.We advise that after 14 weeks from the date you first received weekly payment. Your weekly payments will be dependent upon a formula that takes into account your current work capacity (as assessed either your treating general practitioner or in accordance with a capacity decision made by the insurer) and how many hours per week you have returned to work after the accident.We advise that after 130 weeks of receiving weekly payments, the insurer will make a capacity decision to determine your entitlement to receive weekly payments after this date. You will not be entitled to receive weekly payments after this point unless you’ve returned for work for a period not less than 15 hours per week or the insurer assesses you as being indefinitely incapable of returning to work.

    It is possible for these weekly payments to continue for up to two and a half years after your injury occurs, depending upon how the Workers Compensation Commission decides to handle your claim.

    We advise that your entitlement to receive weekly payment cannot exceed 260 weeks. If you wish to receive weekly payments after this point, you must be assessed as having suffered 21% WPI.

  1. Medical Expenses: If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim the pre-approved (by the insurer) and reasonable costs of some or all of your medical expenses. This can extend to cover treatment from doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, psychologists, counselors, and exercise trainers.You may be able to receive compensation for physical artificial aids, such as crutches, prosthetics, and medications or prescriptions. Additionally, domestic services, such as homecare, cleaning services, or even home modifications could be included in your injury compensation claim.We advise that your entitlement to receive weekly payments is not indefinite.We advise that due to the application of Section 59A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987; you are not entitled to receive medical expenses after two years from the last date you received weekly payments.We advise that is important to know when this date occurs and make your clamp for any medical expenses prior to this date.
  1. Permanent Impairment: Unfortunately, establishing your medical condition and overall impairment may take some time, usually weeks or months, as some conditions take longer to develop or prove harder to treat.However, once your whole person impairment has been determined by a specialist doctor, you may be entitled to a lump sum for permanent impairment.It must be determined that your whole person impairment is at least 10% in order to receive a lump sum, and the total amount of impairment will affect how much you will receive in weekly payments, as mentioned above.We advise that you the application of section 66 (1A) of the Workers Compensation Act New 1987, that you can only make one claim for lump sum compensation.We advise that when making a lump sum claim it is important to liaison with your treating general practitioner and specialists to determine whether you require any further treatment and/or surgery.
  1. Death Benefits: If, in the terrible event, an employee loses their life in the course of their job, death benefits exist to help compensate their loved ones. When a worker receives a fatal injury, their lump sum benefit is calculated on the first of April and October each year. These will then be distributed between the surviving dependents in accordance with need.
  1. Work Injury Damages Claims:
    Lastly you will be able to make a work injury damages claim if you can prove two thing:
    1. That your injuries were sustained due to the negligence of your employer
    2. that your injury resulted in a 15% or more whole person impairment;These damages will be calculated through to retirement age, and will include your net past and future wage loss as well as loss of superannuation.We advise that to be entitled to bring a claim a work injury damages against employer that your lump sum claim must be finalized and that you must be assessed as having at least 15% WPI pursuant to 151H of the Worker Compensation Act 1987.

Time Limits

Pursuant to Section 151D of the Workers Compensation Act 1987; any claim for work injury damages must be commenced within three years from the date of injury.

We advise that section 151DA of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, specifies certain circumstances in which time does not being to run.

We advise that the best way to guarantee that your claim isn’t barred by missing a deadline is to contact an experienced injury lawyer who will guide you through the complex process and help you get the benefits you need.

TPD claim mental illness

Can I Make a Total Permanent Disability Claim for Mental Illness?

By | Superannuation TPD

In the event of ongoing physical illness or an accident that results in a serious enduring injury, it is well-known that the ill/injured party can seek compensation and file a total and permanent disability (TPD) claim. This can be a huge relief for many, as their condition may prevent them from holding a job or returning to work. However, in this day and age, mental health is becoming increasingly recognized as equally important to physical health. With the improved understanding of the impact of mental health on the rise, many are asking the question whether illnesses that may affect one’s ability to work (such as chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or schizophrenia) are eligible for TPD coverage.

Is Mental Illness Eligible for TPD Coverage?

The short answer: It depends. Your policy will have a list of terms which identify what products and conditions are covered. If you or a loved one is considering filing a TPD claim for a mental condition, the first step will be to explore the terms of coverage in your superannuation policy. In general, serious mental illnesses are covered, but you will have to demonstrate that you meet the requirements outlined in your policy.

What will a TPD Claim Require for Mental Illness Coverage?

All TPD claims require that you demonstrate that you are unable to work and that your illness, injury, or condition is the underlying cause of your inability to work. However, mental health TPD claimants are held to a higher standard of proof. Though the claims tend to be complicated, many who have received regular treatment from their General Practitioner, a psychologist, and/or a psychiatrist will be successful in providing the requisite evidence needed to support a TPD claim.

What Conditions may be covered by TPD?

Many different conditions may be covered under your superannuation TPD policy, below are some of the most commonly cited conditions. (Note: this list is not exclusive; other conditions may be included. Ask a trained TPD lawyer about your unique circumstances as soon as possible.)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A condition common with ex-military or emergency service personnel, PTSD is characterized by severe stress reactions that are a result of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events. Those with PTSD may experience a range of extreme emotions, including fear, anger, and grief. Many with PTSD also experience symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or panic disorder.
  • Depression: This condition is characterized by all-consuming feelings of defeat, sadness, guilt, and/or apathy that do not fade over time. Depression is often cyclical; with the individual feeling better and able to go about daily life in between experiencing depressive symptoms and an inability to function as they normally would. Depression is common and comes in many different levels of severity, often increasing the likelihood of drug or alcohol abuse. At its most intense, depression can include thoughts of suicide. Related conditions include: manic depression, bipolar disorder, among others.
  • Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Also very common, anxiety and panic disorders often involve an involuntary overreaction to your body’s fight-or-flight adrenaline response. These conditions cause overwhelming feelings of fear, worry, paranoia, and stress. These episodes of worry can last for long periods of time and can include symptoms such as insomnia, sleep-paralysis, heart palpitations, stomach aches, dizziness, hyperventilation, numbness, and more. Panic disorder and attacks are more intense than anxiety disorder and attacks, with symptoms typically being more intense and prolonged. Anxiety and panic can contribute to depression and other mental conditions.

What Will I Need for a TPD Claim?

First, you will need to fill out a claims form for your super fund. They will require you to submit a variety of documents detailing things such as your work history, educational background, financial records, and medical evidence supporting your claims. Contact an experienced TPD lawyer as soon as possible to receive advice about your circumstances and to support your best chance at a successful TPD claim.

If you or a loved one have any questions or concerns regarding mental health, please visit for more information & resources that could help you gain the peace of mind you deserve.

can I sue my dentist

Can I Sue My Dentist for Negligence?

By | Medical Negligence

Trips to the dentist can be fraught with anxiety, unexpected expenses, and the potential for pain. However, while most visits to the dentist are extremely necessary and end in nothing more than fresh breath and appointment reminders, there are those who suffer more than just the awkward, mouth-full conversations with the dentist. Sometimes, people must go in for more than a simple cleaning, requiring braces, surgery, or tooth removal. And sometimes, people sustain serious injury and death in the interest of maintaining dental health.

Dentistry, like most medical care, is expensive. Even when you have insurance, there can be high overhead that you will need to find a way to cover. And if a botched surgery, bad professional advice, or treatment failure ends in pain, suffering, or even a need for more dental services, what recourse do you have? Luckily, the legal field of negligence may likely help you with these burdens.


Poor dental treatments are unfortunately rather common, either due to poor advice or inadequate treatment. When this happens, you may be able to pursue a negligence claim. A Negligence claim requires that a plaintiff (here, the patient) must prove that the defendant (the dentist or oral surgeon) was lax in their duty of care.

To prove that the duty of care was breached, a plaintiff must provide expert opinion that expresses that the level of care provided by the defendant falls short of the standard level of care required by one in that profession. However, this testimony alone is not enough. Not only must you demonstrate that there was a breach in the duty of care, you also need to establish that if the duty of care had not been breached, you would not have sustained the injury. If the injury or damage would have been sustained regardless of the level of care provided, then you will not be able to recover.

Contract Law

The other avenue of recovery for a patient injured in the course of dental care is a breach of contract claim. A dentist or oral surgeon is paid in exchange for providing a service; a service that they are contractually obligated to provide to the best and fullest extent of their ability. If the defendant provides treatment below the expected standard of care, the patient is entitled to a refund for the services that they paid for versus what they received.

Bringing a Claim

First and foremost, locating the dental records of the patient will be crucial to moving the case forward. Once you have the original dental records, you can demonstrate the change in the patient’s condition from before and after the services were provided. Next, as mentioned above, a patient will need to gain the testimony of an expert to support their claim that there was a breach in the standard of care. After getting an expert to testify on your behalf, you and your lawyer should approach the dentist with an offer of a settlement before taking the case to trial. The dentist will also need to get an expert to testify, and the degree to which the two experts agree will determine how quickly a settlement can begin.

The best way to ensure that your interest are protected in the event of a dental injury or damage caused by a dental procedure is to contact our Parramatta Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible.