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Injuries & Compensation

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Injuries Law - Introduction

People can be injured in a variety of situations.  Most commonly, the injuries people suffer are physical but injuries can also be psychological in nature.  There are laws in Tasmania which provide certain entitlements and compensate people who have been injured in a variety of situations or different settings.  The instances in which you might have an entitlement to benefits or compensation in Tasmania include:

  • As a result of a transport accident (motor vehicle, motorcycle, train, ferry, etc.)
  • Whilst at work or in the course of your employment - WorkCover or Workers Compensation and Occupational Health & Safety
  • As a result of medical treatment - Medical Negligence
  • If you sustain injury in a private or public place - Occupiers or Public Liability
  • Through using a defective product - Product Liability
  • As a result of a criminal act - Victims of Crime Compensation
  • Because of workplace discrimination - Anti-discrimination, unfair dismissal, etc.
  • Because of sexual abuse or harassment
  • As a result of professional services - Professional Negligence

You may be asking yourself whether or not you have a claim for compensation given your individual circumstances.  You may believe that someone else was to blame for your injuries.  If this is the case, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in personal injuries law.  A lawyer will be able to assess whether you have rights or entitlements under the various Tasmanian compensation schemes, particularly if your injuries were caused by someone else-s actions or neglect. 

The most import thing to remember however is do not delay.  Strict time limits apply in respect of accessing potential entitlements and claiming compensation and you should seek legal advice as early as possible after you sustain injury.    

Tasmania 1 injury car accident work injury public liability compensation workcover

Types of Claims

Quite apart from being injured in a transport accident or at work, you may have sustained injury in a variety of other circumstances as outlined above - for example, as a result of medical treatment, in a private or public place, etc.

Depending upon the circumstances of how you sustained injury, you might have other rights or entitlements, particularly if the injury/injuries you sustained are likely to cause ongoing, permanent impairments or conditions.  Often, the right to claim compensation for your actual injuries, as compared to out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injury/injuries, such as medical and treatment expenses and income loss, is reliant upon showing that the injury/injuries sustained satisfy a certain threshold level.  The thresholds change depending on the type of claim and the nature of the injury, e.g. physical vs psychological.  

Car accidents and work injuries are a special category, so refer to those topics on this page.

For most other types of claim, the first pre-requisite is usually to show that someone else was at fault or negligent in causing your injury/injuries.  Fault or negligence is fundamental to any medical negligence claim or public/occupiers liability claim.  However, in other instances, the concept of fault is not a pre-requisite, for example, product liability claims and Victims of Crime Applications.  Because the particular circumstances surrounding your injury will have a bearing on the type of claim you might be entitled to make, it is always advisable that you seek advice from a lawyer specialising in personal injuries law at first instance, to clarify your rights and provide you with an understanding of what to expect moving forward. 

There are special laws that apply to injury or damage caused by animals, injuries to animals and injuries sustained in sport, on private property or on public property. Sometimes the common principles do not apply in these circumstances.

Acts, Regulations, Rules & Forms

Are you looking for detailed information like this, or contact details for any of the bodies mentioned on this page. If so, then start on our Injuries and Torts for Lawyers page.

If it isn't there, then start on our Finding Detailed Legal Information page.

Please read our warning on that page "Be careful using these resources".

The Law is not always as straightforward as it appears. We have not included any information about when and how to use that information or any traps. We assume that the Lawyers will know this.

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The Motor Accident Schemes in Tasmania

Anyone who intends claiming compensation for personal injuries arising out of an accident should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Even if you are undecided about making a claim, you should still get that advice to protect your rights.

Compensation for injuries in motor vehicle accidents is administered by the Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB).

If you have an accident in Tasmania and you are a Tasmanian resident (or driving a Tasmanian registered car) then, regardless of who was at fault, you are entitled to some assistance.

That assistance includes medical and travel expenses, funeral and death benefits and weekly allowance for loss of income or additional expenses if self-employed. See the Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB) for the full details as there are limits on each of these. Drink driving excludes some payments.

In addition to this, you may also be entitled to claim "common law damages". Whether or not you are entitled to any damages depends on the extent to which yourself or others are to blame for the accident.

Time limits apply for making a claim for personal injuries in motor vehicle accident.

The relatives a person who dies asa result of a motor accident may be entitled to recover damages against the person responsible.

Claims can be made directly to the Board, but it is a good idea to get preliminary legal advice before deciding if that is the best thing for you.

If you have comprehensive insurance then it is generally best to let an insurance company handle an accident claim. However, find out what your excess is before making the decision of whether o not to make a claim on your insurance.

Tasmania 2 injury car accident work injury public liability compensation workcover

Preparing Your Claim

When you go along to see your lawyer, save time (and money) by bringing along the following:

  1. Very specific details as to how the accident occurred, in point form;
  2. Photographs of the accident scene if these can be obtained safely;
  3. All relevant medical reports;
  4. Receipts for any out of pocket expenses like crutches, medication or GP gap payments;
  5. A travel log of all the times you have traveled to an appointment due to your injuries;
  6. Details of all of the doctors you are currently consulting;
  7. Your record of how your life has been affected by the accident (i.e. list tasks you can't perform, it could be hanging out the washing etc);
  8. If you have already made a claim, the details of the insurance claims officer dealing with your claim;
  9. Your car registration details and that of any other vehicle involved;
  10. Witness details (i.e. witnesses who saw the accident occur);
  11. Who said what to whom; and
  12. NEVER admit fault. Some insurance policies have this as a specific requirement, and you can void your insurance if you do admit fault.

Avoiding Trouble

  • if you are involved in a car accident, even if it is a minor accident, you should immediately report the accident to the police.  This is particularly so if one or more persons are injured.  Even if you don-t appear initially to be injured, you might find that symptoms or conditions develop later.  To lodge a valid claim for compensation the accident must have been reported to the Police within 28 days (other than in exceptional circumstances).
  • If you're in a car accident, no matter how minor, always get the other driver's name, phone number, property damage insurance information, green slip insurance information and license plate number.
  • If you're in a car accident, no matter how minor, and the other driver leaves, write down the license plate number, description of the car, and number of people in the car.
  • Use your mobile phone to take a photograph of the scene of the accident before the vehicles are moved and a photograph of the damage to the vehicles.
  • If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact details.

Time Limitations On Claims

Don-t wait too long to contact a lawyer to find out about your compensation rights.  Time limits apply to all types of claims! And the time limits are not the same for each type of accident.

If the claim is not lodged within that time, then eligibility to entitlements may be lost. A lawyer who is a specialist in the area of personal injury law can talk to you about the time limits which are relevant to your particular matter.  It is important to not delay and seek some preliminary advice as soon as you are able to do so. 

In some instances, if you have missed a deadline, there is the ability to seek an extension of time through the Courts.  It is not automatic that the Courts will extend time, but in certain circumstances it is possible.  Often, an application to extend time is costly and very involved.  Nevertheless, a lawyer who specialises in this area will be able to advise you of the relevant considerations and assist to steer your in the right direction.

Tasmania 3 injury car accident work injury public liability compensation workcover

WorkCover Tasmania

Workers Compensation in Tasmania is administered by WorkCover Tasmania . They offer a range of no-fault benefits to those persons injured at work or in the course of their employment.  The no-fault benefits include coverage of medical and related expenses, income support and lump sum compensation for permanent impairment.  There are some restrictions and exceptions to receipt of certain benefits  in certain circumstances.

The benefits scale down over time and stop after 9 years.

In addition to the no-fault benefits available, injured workers may also be eligible for a common law claim if they can show that the injuries were caused by either the fault or negligence of a third party, often their employer but other third parties in certain instances. You must make an election about this within two years of the first payment of Workers Compensation.

The scheme can be complex and strict time limits apply to the recovery of benefits in some instances.  You should make inquiries with a lawyer who is a specialist in the field, as early as possible, to ensure that you understand your rights and have an awareness of relevant time frames and limits.     

Insurance Disputes

Financial Ombudsman Service is an independent service that assists consumers to resolve their disputes with insurance companies.

Problems with insurance - a Guide.