Example Workplace Injury Settlement: Compensation to Army Veteran (Injury caused by Faulty Machinery)

In this case we represented an Army Veteran.

 

At the time of the accident, our client now worked as a machine operator. He suffered injuries at his workplace, due to a defective and faulty machine.

 

About the defendants

Before we discuss why we held the defendants responsible, let’s look at the relationship between the defendant and our client.

 

In this case one of the defendants was one of Australia’s most well known manufacturers of construction equipment. BUT: It was not our client’s employer. 

 

In fact, our client was employed by a different company: a labour hire company.

 

The company where you actually perform your work day to day is called the “host employer”.  In this case, the “host employer” was the manufacturer.

 

The company which on paper employs you (and which on hires you) is called the “labour hire company”.

 

In this situation, the host employer (the manufacturer) owes you a duty of care. You work for them day to day, so they must make sure their workplace is safe. But the labour hire company also owes you a duty of care because technically they are still your employer.

 

So if there is an accident, two companies will be at fault at the same time.

 

You have two claims on foot: one against the “host employer”. This is a public liability claim. The second against the labour hire company. This is a WorkCover claim.

 

Why did our client’s accident happen?

You would expect that the “host employer” defendant (i.e. the manufacturer) would have safe equipment, and generally operate a safe workplace.

 

However, after receiving instructions, we commenced our extensive investigations which revealed:

 

  • Our client’s injury to his index finger was caused by machine fault and not operator error
  • The host employer had identified that the machine was faulty and hazardous even prior to our client’s accident
  • The host employer’s equipment was not properly maintained
  • Other machinery within the host employer’s premises were also defective
  • The host employer had received complaints and reports from workers in relation to the state of its machinery
  • The host employer had not properly assessed the risk of injury to workers such as our client
  • The host employer had failed to issue any warnings to our client about the hazards of the machinery and failed to give proper instructions to our client about handling of the machinery.

 

Our client’s Injuries and case outcome

Our client injured his index finger, and required operations after the accident.

 

One of the operations was performed immediately after the accident, with a follow up operation many months down the track.

 

The medical opinion was that our client was left with permanent impairment in relation to that finger.

 

Our client had pre existing injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. (Pre-existing injury means that you suffer from a condition even prior to the accident. It does not mean that you cannot recover compensation.)

 

Our strategy and outcome

We commenced two claims at the same time: one against the host employer and one against the labour hire company. We knew there would be ample money to pay out our client for his work injury.

 

We also knew the host employer would get their own public liability insurance company to pay. The labour hire company would be covered by WorkCover Queensland.

 

Ultimately, our client was awarded a six figure compensation as a result of this matter.