What is Personal Injury & How Does it Differ from Workplace Injury?

The compensation landscape can be a minefield of jargon and seemingly interchangeable terms. It’s no wonder so many of our clients approach us asking whether a workplace injury means the same thing as a personal injury.

What is the difference? Is the type of cover you’re eligible for affected by where the injury occurs?

At u-Law, we have extensive expertise in both areas, and have assisted clients in achieving their best possible outcome since our inception. In the eyes of the public, the line between the two categories is often blurred, so we set out the main distinctions and some examples of each.

The critical difference between both types of claims lies in where the negligence can be placed, but let’s break down the definitions in more detail.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

In short, to be eligible for compensation from a personal injury claim, you have to be able to prove that someone is to blame for your accident. That means that, a slip or a fall isn’t enough on its own. Successfully pursuing a personal injury claim requires that someone was responsible for a spillage, and no physical warning was given for that spillage.

You are encouraged to lodge your claim within one year of the accident, or one year from the date your injury manifested itself. If this isn’t done, ensure you have a good reason for the delay and you file the claim within three years.

If you are able to place the responsibility on another party, then damages can be calculated. Lodging a personal injury claim allows you to claim for a wider range of damages than would be permitted with a workplace injury case, including lost earnings.

What is a Workplace Injury Claim?

If you have sustained an injury or illness through activity at your workplace, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. It is the responsibility of the employer to foster a safe workplace and, when this isn’t the case, employees have access to the support they need.

With the focus being on said support for the worker, there is less weight placed on negligence in comparison with personal injury claims as the Workcover scheme in Victoria incorporates No Fault claims as well as the traditional Common Law at Fault entitlements which are traditionally associated with Personal Injury claims..

Because the requirement to prove responsibility is removed here, the lodgement time limit is stricter. Claims should be made within six months of the workplace accident.

What are the Most Common Personal Injury Claims?

There is a wide variety of cases that could lead to a successful personal injury claim, and, unlike workplace injuries, they can occur just about anywhere.

Some of the most common personal injury claims include:

  • Car accidents: Road traffic accidents may fall under the category of personal injury claims. If a driver isn’t following the rules of the road, is driving under the influence or is distracted, they are to blame for your injury. Other external factors may also play a part, such as uneven surfaces. If an accident wasn’t your fault, seek the advice of a TAC lawyer for help with the claims process. 
  • Slips and falls: Residential and commercial property owners have an obligation to maintain reasonably safe premises, which includes a floor that is free of hazards. You may qualify for a personal injury claim if you’ve had a fall due to a spillage or uneven floor. 
  • Medical malpractice: If you’ve sustained an illness or injury due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, it’s likely you’ll be able to make a claim. This type of claim stems from incidents including unjustified surgery, incorrect prescriptions and premature discharges. Ensure you contact a medical professional to support your case. 
  • Product liability: If you’ve purchased a damaged or defective product that has caused injury to you, you could claim against the manufacturer or supplier of that product. This includes a faulty product or a product that doesn’t come with the appropriate safety warnings.

What are the Most Common Worksite Injury Claims?

Whether you operate in a factory, at a desk or somewhere else, any injuries sustained in the workplace could make you eligible for workplace compensation. Some of the most frequent causes of injuries in the Australian workplace include:

  • Material handling
  • Slips and falls
  • Collision with an object
  • Accidents involving machinery or tools
  • Traumas sustained over time. E.g. when a body part is overused and becomes strained

While liability doesn’t need to be proven, you will have to be able to prove that the injury or illness occurred within the context of your working environment. You are able to claim for both physical and psychological damages. Any psychological compensation requires a minimum impairment of 15% of the whole person, with physical damages needing to equate to 10%.

u-Law operates on an industry first, no-fee costs model, and we can get you the best result, whether you’ve undergone a personal or a workplace injury. Contact the specialists at u-Law to find out more.

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