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Under certain conditions workers may have the right to sue their employer for negligence through what is known as a common law or damages claim.
Please note: This page contains general information only. For state specific legal advice you will need to contact us and speak to one of our panel solicitors who specialise in common law claims.
What is a Common Law Claim?
A common law claim is the process of a worker suing their employer for negligence. The extent to which an employee can bring a common law claim varies from state to state.
What’s the process?
Most people start the process by instructing a solicitor to act on their behalf to lodge their claim, however, some claimants choose to represent themselves. The reason most people choose to engage a legal representative is that the law is complex and WorkCover’s lawyers may act on behalf of WorkCover in the interest of an employer, not the employee.
To simplify things we have outlined the process in 5 simple steps
- Assessment and lodgement of common law claim
- claim is accepted or rejected
- negotiations begin with a goal of settling the matter out of court
- If negotiations fail or the employee receives an unsatisfactory offer the matter may proceed to litigation and potentially a court trial
- employee wins the case and receives compensation or loses and receives nothing
Because common law claims aren’t set in stone it’s important that employees choose a solicitor who can offer them a no win no costs guarantee so that they’re not left footing a legal bill if the case is lost.
Common law claims for psychological injuries
If you have suffered some sort of mental harm in the workplace you may be entitled to compensation. Some of the most common types of psychiatric injuries include
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Adjustment disorder
Some of the most common symptoms of psychological injuries suffered by employees include:
- Nightmares or flashbacks relating to the incident,
- trouble sleeping or insomnia
- panic attacks
- suicidal thoughts
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or anything out of the ordinary it’s important that you seek medical attention to get help and an accurate diagnosis. Your medical records can also be used as evidence if you decide to make a claim.
What Damages Can be Claimed?
- Pain and suffering
- past and future lost earning
How to make a common law claim?
The best way to start is to call us and have your matter assessed for free by one of our specialist panel solicitors in your jurisdiction. They can usually let you know in minutes whether you have a valid case or not. A solicitor can also give you a ballpark figure on how much a prospective claim may be worth.
To get the ball rolling you can call us on 1800 106 107, calls are free and you won’t be pressured into starting proceedings.