We operate one of the largest workers compensation practices in Queensland, resolving between 400 and 500 common-law claims a year. Our track record has affirmed us as leaders in managing common law claims.
Armed with a team of leading Workers Compensation lawyers, we have a large background knowledge and an acute understanding of the insurance claims market, the plaintiff firms, and the ebb and flow of liability and quantum expectations. We are therefore equipped to handle claims professionally and efficiently, and partner with our clients to provide superior claim outcomes both in terms of reduced claims costs and shorter claim durations.
Our workers’ compensation team provides advice to both the insurer and our employer clients in the following areas:
Our focus in common law claims is on the early identification of issues and developing a strategic plan for each matter. We provide comprehensive advice, clear analysis of the issues and a timeframe for resolution. Claims are thoroughly investigated and prepared to provide the optimal available evidence. We use external investigators and our own in-house investigator to ensure quality investigations for each matter.
Our senior lawyers directly manage all claims and take responsibility for achieving client outcomes. They are always available to handle client queries throughout the matter be it by phone, email or in person. We communicate all developments, as they occur, and ensure our clients are kept fully up-to-date.
A small percentage of claims are not able to be resolved during the pre-proceedings stage, and move to litigated proceedings. Often these matters are able to be resolved prior to the trial through involvement of Counsel, mediator and further negotiation. However, on occasion the matters may become litigated with the risk that the claim may proceed to a full hearing before the Courts.
DWF does not adopt litigation as a default position. Rather litigation and in particular a hearing is only a last resort when all other methods of alternative dispute resolution have been exhausted. A hearing not only adds significant time and costs to a claim, but it also introduces an element of uncertainty as to the outcome of the hearing. The risks of a hearing must be balanced against the potential precedent that will be set and possible adverse publicity.
Although we acknowledge that litigation is a last resort, when we do litigate, we have a successful track record. We have been involved in some of the leading liability cases in the workers’ compensation arena in Queensland. In more recent years, we have been successful in more than 80 percent of our litigated claims, evidencing our success as litigators and our strategic approach to target litigation appropriately.
As has been previously reported, Maria Jackson, a 72 year old self-employed owner of scrap metal yard, was sentenced to a period of six (6) months imprisonment after pleading guilty to ‘recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person who is at a workplace in danger of serious injury’.
The Court of Appeal recently delivered its reasons in SS Family Pty Ltd v WorkCover Queensland, granting leave to the Defendant (Vero) to appeal but dismissing such appeal with costs.
Although assaults in the workplace are not overly common, there have been a number of Queensland decisions involving employees who have suffered injuries from assaults by third parties in the course of their employment.
A worker who suffered a neck injury and secondary psychiatric injury during the course of his employment has been awarded more than one million dollars in damages, despite significant causation issues whereby the Claimant first reported symptoms consistent with a disc prolapse some four months post incident.
In this article we look at two manual handling case studies with two significantly different outcomes which raises the question of whether generic manual handling is sufficient in the defence of a negligence claim.