Compensation for a 30-year-old injury

Compensation for a 30-year-old injury

The COVID-19 pandemic brings many challenges, but Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers continue to provide a high level of service to our clients, including a recent victory for our client injured in the early 1990's.

Our client injured her lower back at work in 1990 while working as a nursing attendant. She returned to work two years later for the same employer, performing light duties as a ward clerk. It was during this period that our client aggravated and injured her neck from repetitive duties, in particular lifting.

As a result of her injuries, our client stopped working in 1994 and has not returned to any form of employment.

She has had multiple lower back surgeries since then, followed by neck surgery in 2015. Her neck problems did not fully resolve by the surgery and she continued to suffer from significant symptoms including neck pain, pins and needles, headaches and vocal issues.

When our client approached us at our Springvale office, we lodged an application to WorkSafe seeking a serious injury certificate for our client's neck injury. The application was made for pain and suffering damages only. Without a serious injury certificate, our client is prevented from pursuing a common law claim against her employer. However, WorkSafe rejected our client's application for two reasons:

  1. Our client's injury was not a serious injury , with serious long term impairment or loss of body function, as required by the law
  2. Our client's application was not made before the expiration of 3 years from when she was injured. This time limit is a requirement for claims made for injuries occurring prior to 12 November 1997.

The decision

After reviewing our client's evidence, a Judge of the County Court granted our client a serious injury certificate for pain and suffering damages only.

The application was accepted as it was only after our client's neck surgery in August 2015 that she knew she was suffering from a serious long-term impairment or loss of a body function of the neck.

Further, when our client's application was made in March 2018, it was made within the 3 years of our client becoming aware that she was suffering a serious injury.

There are options available if you have been denied a serious injury certificate. For free legal advice, contact a member of our legal team on (03) 9321 9988.

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