Compensation in Australia - a fair go
The laws in Australia about compensation originally reflected the Aussie idea of a "fair go".The courts in this country have traditionally said that if I act in a negligent manner which causes you to suffer loss then I should cover you for that loss, whatever it may be. If the repair bill for your car is $10,000 then I should pay you $10,000. If you lose three months from work than I should reimburse you for the after-tax earnings you would have received during that time.
So, what is meant by acting in a negligent manner? Again the courts have taken a pretty straightforward approach. I am expected to act in the way that a reasonable person would act. If I'm 10 years old then I'm supposed to act like a reasonable 10-year-old. If I'm a surgeon carrying out an operation, then I'm supposed to act like a reasonable surgeon.Read More...
The only other area in Australia where there is compulsory insurance is to cover people who are injured at work. In the case of work injuries, there are two types of compensation. The first is simply known as workers compensation and that is a basic restricted type of compensation payable to anyone injured at work. The second is compensation where the employer has been negligent. Both types are covered by compulsory insurance.
A complex process
Over the years insurance companies have complained bitterly about the cost of paying damages and have put up insurance premiums and occasionally even refused to provide insurance cover. As a result governments in NSW have passed legislation which places a lot of restrictions on the right to claim compensation including thresholds and caps. Other states have done likewise.
The result is the right to claim compensation anywhere in Australia is highly complex and it would be a brave person who would attempt to pursue their rights without the assistance of a lawyer -- and not just any lawyer, but one who specialises in the area of compensation, because the law has become too complex even for a lawyer who doesn't specialise.
One particular thing to remember is that there are time limits for claiming compensation and these vary widely depending upon the type of claim and the state in which the accident occurred. In the early 1970s an attempt was made by the New South Wales government to have one standard set of time limits for compensation claims. Since that time a mass of legislation means that even a lawyer who specialises in compensation has to be very careful to check exactly what time limits apply to any particular accident.
The only general advice which can be given is that if you or a member of your family have suffered damage as a result of someone's negligence or at work than it would be wise to see a lawyer who specialises in compensation claims as soon as possible.
The content on this site has been divided into seven main areas of compensation law:
- Motor Accident
- Workers Compensation
- Medical Negligence
- Product Liability
- Public Liability
- Claim for death or disability benefit under a superannuation scheme
- Victims Compensation
In The Community
In May, Tony Mitchell was appointed to the Panel of Estate Planning Solicitors by AMP Financial Planning.
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