Someone drove into my workplace! Am I covered?

Friday 16 June 2017

In the past year, several bad drivers have made the news by crashing into workplaces, including a crèche, Woolworths, Priceline, a bakery, a Westfield shopping centre and a café.

If you are injured at work, you are entitled to assistance under WorkCover regardless of whose fault the accident was. This includes freak occurrences such as car accidents.

WorkCover insurers pay for medical expenses and a proportion of lost earnings. If you are left with permanent injuries which reach the legal threshold, you can bring a claim for lump-sum compensation. In addition, if your injuries are permanent and ‘serious’ and you can prove that another person was negligent, you can sue for pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity.

If the accident involves a tram, train or motor vehicle, the negligent person will be insured by the Transport Accident Commission (the TAC). If it is caused by a vehicle registered in another state or territory, they will likely be insured by an equivalent body.

For this reason, when a car crashes into a workplace, injured people may receive assistance from WorkCover or the TAC, or both, depending on their circumstances. The law sets out which scheme provides the different types of assistance.

Recently, Adviceline Injury Lawyers assisted a lady who was working at her desk when a car drove into her office. She became trapped under her desk and suffered permanent injuries. We assisted her to recover her entitlements from WorkCover and then sued the negligent driver for her pain and suffering and lost earning capacity from the TAC.

However, neither WorkCover nor the TAC is responsible for insuring property damage.

If the driver who damaged property was at fault, they are responsible for covering the cost of that property damage. You can pursue the driver personally or ask for the details of their insurer. If they cannot pay, and are not insured, you may need to look to your business insurance.

If you have been involved in a similar incident and have suffered injury, including psychological injury, you can contact our free Adviceline on (03) 9321 9988.

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