Australian Accident and Personal Injury Compensation Claims

Accidents happen, as our parents used to say to us as children, when we spilled our cup, or a toy broke.

Accidents happen, as our parents used to say to us as children, when we spilled our cup, or a toy broke. The saying was intended to help us shrug it off and try harder next time. Shrugging off a serious accident however, may not be the wisest thing to do if you are the injured party.

Australians may be known for their 'she'll be right' attitude, but the fact is that hundreds of people each year find themselves on the receiving end of accidents which change their lives for the worse.

Your parents may have raised you to pick yourself up and dust yourself down, but how do you do this when your livelihood, your family, your quality of life has been effected due to someone else's negligence? In your gut, you feel that you shouldn't have to be worse off for an accident someone else caused.

Engaging a lawyer to help buy or sell property, or draw up a will, are some of the day-to-day legal activities many people know something about. So, it can be daunting to delve into an area of law you're unfamiliar with, at a highly stressful time when you may be in a lot of pain, the bills for medical treatment are mounting up, and your income is reduced. An accident compensation lawyer can help you back on your feet with a compensation payout that fairly reflects how much the accident has affected your health and welfare.

Generally, claims fall under three mains headings: car accident compensation, work accident compensation and negligence claims. Here's what you need to know about each of them, and where you can go to find out more.

Car accident compensation

Car accident compensation is far more complex than many realise. You may be a driver, passenger or pedestrian injured as a result of factors such as driver distraction, speed, drug or alcohol use, or vehicle malfunction, to name a few common causes of car accidents. You may find it difficult dealing with insurers who have claims adjustors to minimize the size of the claims. Unfortunately, they tend not to focus on your best interests, therefore seeking specialised legal advice in regard to car accident compensation is strongly recommended.

Work accident compensation

Government statistics show that each year, 5% of working Australians will be injured on the job.

Luckily, all states and territories have workcover authorities that will award work accident compensation in the form of statutory benefits, typically fixed amounts dependant on the injury. Things may not always go smoothly however, due to the many rules and regulations, including set timeframes for when injuries have to be reported by. Also, the injury may increase in severity over time, and have long-lasting or permanent effects. Injured workers should therefore consult with a lawyer about seeking additional, non-statutory work accident compensation, which is available to all Australians under common law.

Negligence Claims (Personal injury compensation)

If you were not injured on the road or at work, you may be entitled to Personal injury compensation. This is defined under common law as any physical or psychological injury caused as a result of negligence by another party. Personal injury compensation claims may be made in relation to some of the following situations:

* Medical Malpractice - such as improper diagnosis, failure to treat, improper anesthesia, birth defects from delivery mistakes, and unnecessary surgeries.

* Defective Products - such as recalled items, damaged and dangerous parts and flammable materials are all defective items that can cause personal injuries.

* Accidents at Business Places - such as slips and falls, poor construction, and worker mistakes, may lead to accidents at a business place that injures customers.

Due to the very nature of accidents, looking into a crystal ball and avoiding them simply isn't possible. Our friends and family, and our family lawyer, but not be the best sources of knowledge about your entitlement to work injury compensation. The Australian Injury Helpline is an independent organisation that gives free advice to people who have suffered an injury in Australia. They're a great place to start, to get an overview of injury law. The national hotline is staffed 24 hours, 7 days a week to answer questions about potential claim entitlements. The hotline can offer legal advice and referrals to appropriate injury compensation lawyers in your local area. Please call 1800 22 33 63 or visit