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Serious Injury in the WorkCover and TAC Schemes

Harry Gill | | Injury Law, Workers' Compensation, Transport Accidents

Compensation and Damages

Work related injuries and transport accident injuries have long been governed by statutory schemes which provide compensation for loss of earnings and medical and other expenses. 

In addition, permanent injuries above a certain threshold usually attract modest lump sum “impairment” benefits.  However, the types of claims which are more commonly reported in the media involve what is known as Common Law damages (a legal term for compensation) against negligent parties.  In the WorkCover and TAC schemes, these can only be accessed if one has a “serious injury”. 

What is Serious Injury?

The definitions in the legislation are quite broad.  Whether one has a serious injury is ultimately dependant on either WorkSafe or TAC accepting this, once receiving submissions from the claimant’s lawyers.  Alternatively, it will be decided by a Court by way of comparison with other cases they have heard.

Our Injury Law team has been involved in arguing serious injury since its inception in 1987 and it continues to be a substantial part of our work.  With this wealth of experience, we are able to identify the following general indicia of serious injury. 


  1. Loss of the ability to work in ones pre-accident employment.
  2. Loss of a wide range of employment which would otherwise be available, in the event that one loses pre-accident employment later.
  3. Major surgery.
  4. Fractures involving an articular surface (this often may result in degeneration and osteoarthritis in the future).
  5. Loss of ability to conduct particular activity or activities which one was particularly ardent/passionate about pre-accident.

 Supporting Factors

  1. Pathology;
  2. Whether there are other possible causes of the injury (e.g. pre-existing complaints);
  3. What treatment is required;
  4. Whether they believe the Plaintiff.


Whilst each case must be treated on its merits and be assiduously prepared, it is fair to say that a large percentage of our Serious Injury Applications before the Courts attain success.  These are invariably conducted on a “no win no fee” basis.

Please contact one of our injury lawyers for further advice.

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