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Gaius Whiffin discussing Personal Injury on Deborah Knights 2GB segment – 9 February 2021

Gaius Whiffin providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing "Personal Injury" 9 February 2021


Tuesday, 9 February 2021 

DK – Deborah Knight / GW – Gaius Whiffin –   C1, 2, 3, etc – Callers


Listen to the Podcast

Read the Transcript below:

DK      It is Tuesday. Legal Matters time. Free legal advice for you and today we are focusing on personal injury. If you’ve got a query, 131 873 is the open line number. You might have suffered an injury at the shops; or you were involved in a car accident that is causing you ongoing pain. It might have happened at work. Personal injury. If you’ve got a question, call in now. 131 873. Gaius Whiffin is a personal injury specialist at Turner Freeman Lawyers – he’s on the line for us now. We’ve got our $100 Westfield Voucher to give away as well to the caller who asks the best question.  Gaius. Thanks so much for joining us. I wanted to start with this story of a man in South Australia who was awarded workers comp earlier this year; he strained his back; he dropped the keys to his company car on the ground – but what sort of injuries are workplaces responsible for generally?

GW     Yes – good afternoon Deb. Look, the South Australian case that you are referring to is under the South Australian Act and every Act – one of the difficulties in Australia is every State has a different workers compensation legislation which changes slightly – they’re not major changes in degrees – now, that case was in relation to a journey between the person’s home and the person’s place of work. In NSW at the moment, those sorts of cases are not able to be proceeded with unless there’s a real and substantial connection between the journey – from home to the place of work and the actual employment. So for example, the example given when these laws were passed back in 2012 was a nurse who stumbles on her way home from work upon an accident and uses her skill to tend to the person involved in the accident that suffers injury in the course of doing so, she might be entitled or he might be entitled to compensation under the Act even though – in effect a journey on the way home from work.

DK      Yeah – and in terms of what people would normally need to show obviously as you mentioned – the laws are different between the States but how do you normally prove that an injury was linked to your work?

GW     Well, again – the….. In NSW what you would have to show is that employment was in most cases a substantial contributing factor.  In some cases where we have what’s known as occupational diseases such as psychological injuries or back injuries due to the nature of work – the employment has to be main contributing factor.  It doesn’t just have to happen during the course of employment, the employment has to be either a substantial or the main contributing factor to the injury.

DK      Ok. We’ve got a question. Arthur has called in with an incident involving your wife Arthur?  What happened?

C1       Well, we got caught on the escalators. I was in front and my trolley just locked up and threw me down and as a result my wife came with me and gashed the top of her head open.  Since then she suffers from memory loss, dementia and that and I’m just wondering if it was associated – number 1 – number 2: Brookside – the shopping centre where it happened has never ever contacted us to see how we’re going or anything.

DK      Oh Arthur. That sounds terrible. What an awful thing for you and your wife to have to go through. Gaius, do you have any answers here?

GW     Yes. Unfortunately Arthur, we get a lot of these sorts of enquiries – the escalators and travellators of shopping centres seem to be places where a lot of accidents occur. It’s what we know as a public liability claim against the shopping centre. You do have to prove that the shopping centre was negligent in some way, so you have to sort of show an escalator or travellator malfunction or you have to show that something was on the travellator that shouldn’t have been on – you know some slippage point.

DK      Would the trolley getting stuck though – I mean would that fall into that category?

GW     Well – if it’s one of those trolleys where you expect to be stuck because you know you are going up travellator and the wheels lock so it doesn’t come back down on you – probably not. If something occurred to make the trolley stick which shouldn’t have occurred, then yes, there may be some action there. They’re really difficult cases to prove but you know – you also do find when you look into a lot of these cases, you find that there’s a surprising lack of maintenance sometimes with these escalators and travellators and so forth by shopping centres.  You know – they’re all matters that have to be determined on the facts of the actual accident itself.

DK      You might get Arthur – you to stay on hold – we’ll get your details and put you in touch with Gaius and see if we can look into this further because it could be case you might be entitled to some compensation – so Arthur if you could stay on the line – we’ll get you in touch with Gaius separately.

DK      Steve’s got a query for us too. Hi Steve.

C2       Yeah – Hi Deb. Hi. I’m just wondering if a worker contracts COVID through their employment, be them a guard at a detention centre or whatever, are they covered by workers compensation and are they covered for any ongoing illnesses as a result of COVID?

DK      Hmm good question Steve.

GW     Ah yes – the answer is yes. If the reason you contract COVID is due to your employment, you are covered. You are covered for your medical costs and those medical costs would be at least for a two (2) year period. So if there’s ongoing needs and it’s at least a 2 year period, that can be extended in certain circumstances also, but you are covered for your medical costs – you are also covered for time off work and depending upon what might happen and obviously – if a permanent impairment arises from the COVID contraction or even worse if death arises, then there are lump sums available to you. Yes, you are covered for COVID contracted at work.

DK      Yeah – good question Steven. Are you seeing that you are getting an increase in COVID related cases coming your way Gaius?

GW     Not really because what we’re finding in a lot of cases is the COVID – you know someone who contracts COVID and they recover reasonably well or at least we think they have and in most of those cases, the workers compensation insurer will just pay up. We are not finding too many disputes; there’s the occasional dispute and I expect that there will be more disputes as time goes on and people start to have sort of ongoing issues from the contraction of the COVID – but at this stage the insurers are accepting liability in most cases fairly quickly.

DK      I guess its early days in the pandemic as you say…

GW     It is.

DK      Always good to talk Gaius. Thank you so much and I think we’ll give Steve our $100 Westfield Voucher for the best question on our Tuesday Legal Matters and you can call in next week; 131 873 – Gaius, thanks so much.

GW     That’s fine.

DK      And if you want to get in touch with any of the lawyers at Turner Freeman, check out their website or give them a bell 13 43 63 – 13 43 63.  They specialise in all sorts of things – compensation, negligence law, asbestos litigation, super disability, employment law, the whole gamut, Wills and Estates as well.  So we’ll talk Wills and Estates in a couple of weeks – it’s always a popular segment – Turner Freeman Lawyers joining us every Tuesday for free Legal Advice – you’re on Afternoons with Deborah Knight.


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