Serious injury certificate success

Monday 23 July 2018
Grace Bowran-Burge

Adviceline Injury Lawyers has successfully obtained serious injury certificates on behalf of two injured employees in separate applications to the County Court. 

This success for our clients meant that our clients could be compensated for lost earnings as well as the pain and suffering they have experienced because of their injuries.

What is a serious injury certificate?

In Victoria, a serious injury certificate is required for an injured person to receive damages for pain and suffering and economic loss. 

To obtain a serious injury certificate for pain and suffering, an injured person must demonstrate that their injury has had a serious impact on daily living. 

If an injured employee can prove that their present and future earnings have dropped at least 40%, and that this drop will be permanent, they can obtain a serious injury certificate for economic loss.

Case studies

Bateman v St John of God Health Care Inc [2018]

In the course of her employment, our client suffered an injury to her right ankle which required surgery.  The employer agreed to pain and suffering damages, but not economic loss.

In County Court proceedings the employer argued that our client did not have a 40% drop in her earning capacity because she could work as a cashier, checkout operator, receptionist or welfare services officer.

After considering our clients learning difficulties, right ankle injury and employment history, Justice Misso found the employee was not able to perform any of these roles, commenting “I must accept the plaintiff’s evidence of the extent of the disabling impact which her right ankle injury has on her….I found her to be a refreshingly direct and honest witness whose evidence I unhesitatingly accept.”

Our client was granted a serious injury certificate.

Yan Chen v Victorian Workcover Authority [2018] VCC

An educated 49 year old woman who worked as a library assistant and secretary in China commenced work in Australia as a picker and packer.  This work was heavy and repetitive, involving lifting boxes containing gift items.  As an outcome of performing her duties our client began to develop pain in her back.  This resulted in two surgeries, both of which provided minimal relief.

At County Court, the employer agreed to pain and suffering damages, but not economic loss.  The employer emphasised that due to her prior education and training in China, she was able to work as a stock clerk, receptionist or library assistant.

Adviceline Injury Lawyers successfully demonstrated our client was not able to perform these jobs due to her injury and her minimal English language skills.

Justice Bourke found our client to be “a credible witness who made a genuine attempt to answer questions truthfully.”

She was granted a serious injury certificate.

Lesson for workers

Being denied a serious injury certificate is not necessarily the end of your matter.  This decision can be overturned by a court.

For free advice about obtaining a serious injury certificate, please contact our office on (03) 9321 9988.

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