Compensation lawyer providing Q & A on 2GB discussing personal injury claims – 10 November 2020
Lawyer providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing Personal Injury – 10 November 2020
DK – Deborah Knight/TG – Tim Gauci /C1,2,3, etc – Callers
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Read the transcript below:
DK And today on legal matters our popular topic, personal injury and with the NSW Parliament inquiry underway at the moment into the gig economy, a lot of the workers are making news on this. We’re gonna find out what happens if you’re a contractor for businesses like Uber or Deliveroo, you’re very much in the firing line over this. If you’ve got a question with any personal injury issue the number to call 131 873 and as always we’ve got a $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the best call. Tim Gauci is a personal injury lawyer with Turner Freeman, he’s on the line for us now. Tim, thanks for joining us, just in general, what do we need to consider if we want to have a successful personal injury claim?
TG Well in general, Deb, I mean there’s many different facets, it depends where you’re injured, I mean if you’re injured in a public space you need to consider your rights against the public liability insurer, if it’s on the roads then it’s a motor accidents claim and of course, you know with the traditional employer/employee relationships then obviously you’re entitlements are through the worker’s compensation system.
DK And the gig economy is in the spotlight on this issue too at the moment, when there’s an injury in the workplace I guess an understanding of who’s responsible if you are injured in any workplace, what should you do.
TG I mean the gig economy enquiry is a very topical issue because as we know in the current world we live in a lot of people are turning away from traditional employer/employee type of relationships and jobs and there are more and more workers trying to earn income outside of those types of relationships such as Uber drivers and Airtaskers, Under Eats and those sorts of people. I mean one of the advantages of being an employee is obviously you are given a lot of protection under the law if you’re injured, I mean your employer owes you a strong duty of care and the worker’s compensation system is there for you but it’s a lot more complicated if you’re not an employee, if you’re a contractor such as an Uber driver, an Airtasker and at the moment as I understand it, these workers are…it’s not settled that they’re actually employees of anybody, they’re simply contractors so they don’t have the same rights and entitlements as a lot of other people.
DK Yeah and that’s the problem if you do suffer from an injury in the workplace, who do you report it to.
TG Well, I mean normally it would be your employer but an Uber driver, if you’re a contractor, you’re at the whim of basically whether or not you’re master there has got insurance for you, I mean some Uber drivers are covered through policies through Uber but essentially, I mean if you’re not an employee of anybody you’re left at your own devices in a lot of respects. I mean obviously if you’re injured on the road you do have the same rights and entitlements as other people under the motor accidents legislation, but you’re not afforded the same rights as you would be as an employee.
DK And what about long term injuries, because I know, I see these Deliveroo workers on their bikes and on their motorbikes and I just think, it’s just a lot of them are hazards really when you’re on the roads but if they deliver, if they develop injuries from, you know even to their back because they’re carrying this big load on their back pack on their back, what are their rights to compensation there.
TG Well as I understand it their rights are very restricted and they’re not given the same rights as an employee at the moment, although, I mean obviously it’s a complicated test under the Worker’s Compensation Act, it may be that in the future they’re deemed to be employees, they should come to us for some advice on that but at the moment as I understand it their rights are very limited.
DK Alright let’s get to some of your calls 131 873 is the number, Tim Gauci is with us from Turner Freeman Lawyers, an expert in personal injury and the best call will be in the running for our $100 Westfield voucher as well as getting free legal advice. Let’s go to Ron first up, hi Ron.
Caller No: 1 Ron
C1 Oh hi there, how are you?
DK Yeah, good thanks.
C1 Good, just a quick one, now look about 12 months ago I’m in the Sydney pool business, I had to go and clean out a couple dirty filthy pools, drain them all the way down and it was just disgusting and a few weeks afterwards I was not feeling good and went to the doctor, got all the tests and about the same time the radiologist had taken x-rays, found that I had accumulated a parasite on my liver, so I was in Royal North Shore Hospital for a few weeks and after the whole incident, umm you know, …said why don’t you put a claim through your worker’s comp for a couple weeks wages and I did all that, it had all the proper documentation and they knocked me back.
TG Right, Ron, why did they knock you back?
C1 Well look, you know, I think from what I could read was they felt it was a grey area. You know it wasn’t like a brick had fallen on my head and that you could physically see it. I mean to me it was just a, you know, when you saw the pools I cleaned out I mean they were just absolutely disgusting like sewerage down the bottom and all I could say was that it had to have come from there and as I said I was in Royal North Shore for a few weeks then I was on 4 weeks with, what do you call it, the antibiotics, they’d come to my house.
DK So how, what do you do for a situation like Ron, Tim if you, in your mind there’s a clear link but if there’s a grey area what do you advise?
TG Well Ron, so I assume that you were also covered under your worker’s compensation policy of insurance.
C1 Absolutely, 35 years I’ve paid into that fund.
C1 And a good sum too.
TG Yes, well look, Ron I think you should speak to us and I think you know, we should take your number and I’d definitely be interested in speaking to you later because there is certain avenues that we can take to deal with the insurance company and have them reconsider the decision that they made, because it seems to me that the injury arose out of the course of your employment and they should be willing to meet the entitlements.
DK Alright, we’ll see if we can rattle some cages with that, stay on the line Ron and we’ll give your details to Tim. Scott’s got a question, g’day Scott.
Caller No: 2 Scott
C2 Yeah, hi Deb, how you going today?
DK Yeah, good mate.
C2 Yeah, I’ve been on worker’s compensation for about 18 months with a busted, like a badly busted shoulder through work and it’s just not getting any better and I’m now at the point where I see the surgeon and he says oh, come back in 3 months and sort of, everyone has put it in the too hard basket. Now, I’m just wondering is there a point where someone might say, well you need to move on and you’re only going to have 80% or 70% usage of your shoulder….
DK Oh, Scott’s line’s just dropped out, oh there we are, we’ll see if Tim’s got a…your phone is dropping out a little bit, we’ll see if Tim’s got an answer to that one, Scott. G’day Tim.
TG Hi, look Scott, I mean that largely sounds like a medical question but can I ask at the moment is the worker’s compensation insurer doing all the right things and paying for all your treatment expenses and any time off work?
C2 Yeah, they pay for that but also when, they told me when I first went on worker’s compensation that do an aggregate of your wage over the previous couple of years and like say for instance, this year when I got my tax done I was down $18,000, you know that’s a…I’ve got 4 children and a wife.
C2 That’s you know, and I didn’t come to work that day to hurt me-self,
C2 It just feels as though I’m being punished you know what I mean.
TG Yeah, unfortunately the system is such that you only receive a 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, so it’s very, quite an unfair system for workers, Scott.
DK Alright Scott, we might get your details and pass them onto Tim to see if he can help you out any further but thank you for calling in. Sandra, what was your question for Tim Gauci today?
Caller No: 3 Sandra
C3 Hi, Deb, umm, I am a volunteer worker in a charity shop, now I fell and I hurt my shoulder, my hip and my knee, I asked them for a workers compo form, I haven’t; got one and this happened on the 22nd of October, I’ve been going since then to the physio who said it’s not right yet, that I can’t get any sense out of anybody.
DK Alright, let’s see if Tim’s got an answer for you Sandra.
TG Well, so you reported this obviously to your employer and what, they have not given you a worker’s compensation claim form yet, is that the case?
TG Well, they’re obligated to do that, so perhaps if we could get your number and I can speak to you after this and we can take you through the steps.
DK Alright, we’ll try get a solution to that one for you Sandra. Sam, you had a fall did you?
Caller No: 4 Sam
C4 Yes, I did Debbie, so I was walking in a shopping centre, and you know how the fruit shops put out some tables further out.
C4 Outside of the shop, they line up tables, well in this particular, it was at Miranda but they go out a fair bit outside of the shop, anyway, I was walking and there was like a lot of parsley on the ground and I took a dive as I was walking and I’m not young, and just like Sandra, I actually got my shoulder, my hip and my elbow, I didn’t get my knee like she did but it was quite a bad fall and like I was sore and didn’t go out for weeks after and then when I did go back out, I was upset to see that they still had parsley on the ground, but no had taken it seriously and sweeping it up. I was wondering, who’s responsible, is it centre management or is it the shop.
DK Good question, Tim?
TG Well it could be either, it depends upon the relevant cleaning contracts that were in place and things of that nature, can I ask, did you report the incident?
C4 Umm, I didn’t report, but there was a lot of people who saw me fall and the guy himself from the shop came out but I was just wondering, like…
DK Where you should go if you wanted to.
TG Right, well I mean you definitely should report the incident to the centre management as a first port of call but I think we should also speak with you again after this call so that we can take some more details about the incident and we can provide you with some better advice.
DK And, Sam we’re going to help you out too, we’ll send you out our $100 Westfield voucher as well to give you a little bit of compensation to begin with, so I’ll send that out your way.
C4 Thank you.
DK Good on you , Sam, thank you, all the best with that, and Tim thank you for joining us, we’ll talk again, legal matters next week, thank you so much.
TG Thank you.
DK Tim Gauci there from Turner Freeman Lawyers, if you want to get in touch with them, they really do fight for your compensation, all the lawyers at Turner Freeman, you can check them out turnerfreeman.com.au or give them a call, their number 13 43 63, we’ll talk legal matters this time next week.