Services

Workers Compensation
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Medical Negligence
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Motor Vehicle Accidents
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Motorbike Accidents
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Mining Accidents
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Criminal Injury Compensation
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Inheritance
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Public Liability
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Conveyancing, Will Drafting, Grants of Probate Applications
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Workers Compensation

Connor Legal has specialized in worker’s compensation claims for workers in Western Australia. Contact us and find out how to claim workers compensation in Western Australia.

Workers compensation in Western Australia is a “no-fault” system of compensation for work-related injuries. It is governed by the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and administered by a government agency, WorkCover WA. If you suffer a work place injury, you are entitled to:

  • weekly payments of compensation;
  • reasonable medical expenses and rehabilitation expenses;
  • a lump-sum payment; and,
  • reasonable travel expenses.

You have these entitlements regardless of whose fault your injury was, as long as you were a worker when you had your accident.

Most workers who suffer more than trifling injuries at work, find workers compensation far from generous and frustratingly complex. There is potential for dispute at every stage of a workers’ compensation claim. Dan Connor has been dealing with these claims for more than 25 years, and he has handled workers’ compensation cases involving the following questions:

Am I a worker?

In Western Australia, only “workers” as defined in the Act are eligible to claim. It is not always obvious whether someone is a employee or not, the answer may not be straightforward. Even the courts sometimes have difficulty in figuring it out. These questions can also involve journey claims, and whether a sub-contractor is a “worker” under the Act. These questions are complicated, and just because an Insurance Company says you are not covered, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim;

How do I make a workers compensation claim?

In Western Australia, making a claim is fairly easy. Just fill out a Claim Form, and give it to your employer, with a “First Medical Certificate“ from your doctor. Make sure you keep a copy of your claim form and medical certificate.

Am I too late to make a claim?

There are all sorts of time limits for making workers’ compensation claims in WA. Some of these limits can be extended and some are fatal to a claim. Don’t rely on your boss’s insurance company to tell you if your claim is too late – phone Connor Legal to find out. We have been successful with claims filed years out of time;

How much is my lump-sum worth?

Not all injuries attract a lump sum. Only certain permanent injuries (impairments) are eligable for the lump-sum, and your injury needs to be assessed by an Approved Medical Specialist as being a permanent impairment as mentioned in Schedule 2 of the Act;

How do I settle my Claim?

Negotiating settlement of your claim is no easy task. How much is your claim worth? Are your entitled to a lump-sum payment? Do you have to settle your claim? Can you claim more than a Second Schedule Payment? Can you negotiate a higher offer? All these questions need legal knowledge and experience to answer. Don’t try it yourself. If you sign a settlement, it’s usually too late to get advice if you change your mind. Get the right advise from Dan Connor before you sign;

What is a Section 61 Notice?

If you receive one of these notices, your employer’s insurer is trying to stop your weekly comp payments. This doesn’t mean your claim is over, if you want to challenge the s61 notice phone us right away, you only have limited time. Find out how to challenge a s61 notice.

What Medical Expenses can I claim?

Workers’ Compensation insurers tell workers what treatment they can and can’t have. But a worker is entitled to reasonable medical expenses under clause 17 of the Act, and it’s not up to insurers to say what reasonable treatment is. If an insurer knocks back your surgeon’s request for funding for an operation, call us to find how to make the insurer to pay.

What is a Section 93O Notice?

Under this section the employer is required to notify the worker in writing about the Common Law “Termination Day” and the significance of the termination day for the worker’s ability to seek damages via a common law claim against the worker’s employer. So, what is the Termination day? We have found that this notice confuses workers more than it explains the law in this area. Unfortunately if you don’t act on the s93O Notice in time you stand every chance of losing your common law damages claim. You definitely need advice on what to do about the temination day. Ring us up and find out how to arrange a medical appointment to assess your WPI.

Weekly Payments

Insurers can miscalculate you rate of weekly payment while you are on compensation. Calculation of the right rate under Clause 11(3) or 11(4) of the Act can be difficult and open to interpretation. If you believe that you weekly payment is too low contact Connor Legal to find out how to calculate your weekly payment.ssess your WPI.

What is the Termination Day?

The termination day is the date at which you cease to be eligible to make a claim for common law damages. The termination day generally falls one year from the date your claim for weekly compensation payments was made to your employer, however there are exceptions.

No matter how good your claim is or how much it is worth, you will face difficult opposition and you will need a lawyer to support you through your claim. Why? Insurance companies deal with cases like yours all the time. They have knowledge and experience. This is likely your first and only claim. Level the playing field by knowing as much about the system as they do. Phone Connor Legal to find out your rights and entitlements.

In addition to settlements available in the workers’ compensation system, workers who have sustained at least a 15% permanent whole of person impairment may be eligible to pursue a common law claim against their employer. This area of law is a minefield for injured workers. In general, the compensation obtainable in a common law claim is far more extensive that in a workers compensation claim and can include additional compensation, such as:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering;
  • Compensation for future loss of income;
  • Future medical expenses;
  • Home or nursing help given to you by your friends and family;

However, there are a number of catches to pursuing a common law claim. First, unlike the “no fault” workers’ compensation system, to succeed in their claim a worker needs to prove that their workplace injury was caused by negligence or other fault of their employer. Call us and find out how to make a common law claim in Western Australia.

Second, there are additional legal requirements that need to be met in order to pursue a claim at common law:

Impairment: A worker choosing to pursue a claim for common law damages against their employer must have a level of permanent “Whole Person Impairment” of not less than 15%. The impairment must be assessed by a WorkCover “Approved Medical Specialist”.

Negligence: Workers must prove that their workplace injury was caused by negligence or other fault of their employer.

Timeframes: Timeframes, also known as ‘the termination day’ apply for a worker seeking access to common law damages. If you are eligible to seek common law damages, you must advise of your intention to do so within strict time frames by lodging an Election to Retain Right to Seek Damages Form with the Conciliation and Arbitration Services (CAS).

Note that an election may affect your workers’ compensation entitlements and, once made, is irreversible.

Medical Negligence

Connor Legal specializes in medical negligence cases in Western Australia. Contact Dan Connor and find out if you have a good case.

Medical negligence is when care given by a healthcare professional is below an acceptable standard and causes physical or mental injury, or death. Common reasons for claims include failure or delay in diagnosis, or incorrect treatment. Poor communication between a doctor and patient is a common cause of claims.

Dan Connor has a long history of representing individuals in the area of medical negligence, and continues to regularly represent patients who have been injured, or the families of those who have died as a result of the negligence of medical professionals and healthcare providers.

In order for a negligence claim to succeed, an injured patient must show that the doctor (or other health professional) owed the patient a duty of care, that this duty was breached, and that the patient suffered harm as a result of the proven breach of duty.

Examples of medical negligence claims Dan Connor has successfully handled include:

  • King v Metropolitan Health Services Board (1998) 20 SR (WA) 103. My client had suffered a severe infection as the result of a nurse at the Royal Perth Hospital failing to obey correct procedures regarding a cannula that she knocked out from his arm. We were sccessful at first instance, and on appeal a re-trial was ordered, and the case settled after.
  • Boehm v Deleuil & Anor [2005] WADC 55. My client’s general practitioners misdiagnosed a lump at the back of Mr Boehm’s knee as a lipoma, but it was a life threatening cancer. The cancer continued to grow until a more alert doctor sent a sample of tissue for histopathology, which led to a diagnosis of cancer. Meanwhile, months had passed and Mr Boehm’s leg had to be amputated. We succeeded in recovering compensation on the basis that earlier diagnosis by the GP’s would have enabled a less radical procedure  to have been performed, and our client’s leg would not have been amputated.
  • Strempel v Wood & Anor [2005] WASCA 163.  I represented a man who suffered severe injuries to his leg as a result of complications following a knee replacement operation caused by compartment syndrome. He also suffered injury to his sense of balance and hearing due to administration of an antibiotic (gentamicin). The trial Judge dismissed the appellant’s claims of negligence concerning the compartment syndrome and allowed the gentamicin claim. I appealed that decision and the Supreme Court found that the orthopaedic and vascular surgeons concerned were liable for the complications stemming from the compartment syndrome. The surgeons then applied to the High Court for leave to appeal, but that application was dismissed.
  • Smith v Minister for Health [2010] WADC 77. I  represented a lady who had been overdosed with hydromorphone as the result of the negligent calibration of a Medtronic intrathecal pump by a Perth public hospital. Her case was successful and she was awarded $237,530.00 compensation.

Usually, there is no difficulty in proving that a duty of care was owed, as this is implied by the patient/doctor or patient/hospital relationship itself.

A claimant must prove that whatever the doctor did or did not do fell below the standard of a reasonably competent doctor in that particular field of medicine. The test of whether a doctor breached the duty of care owed to a patient is whether he or she has failed to meet the standard of a reasonable body of other practitioners also skilled in that field. This duty has been supplemented by the Civil Liability Act, 2002. The duty on the doctor to act in a way that is reasonable applies whether the matter concerns treatment, diagnosis or advice.

Usually, to prove negligence, we will obtain advice from a qualified expert in the relevant field of medicine. An expert report is not required where only explanation for harm is that there has been negligence. An example is be where a surgeon performs a procedure on the wrong body part. In these sorts of cases there is a presumption that the doctor was negligent and it is then up to him or her to prove otherwise.

In addition to proving breach of duty, a claimant must also prove that the breach either directly caused the injuries alleged or significantly contributed to them. This element of the claim is often fairly simple the show, but can very difficult to demonstrate in some particular cases. For example, a patient may be able to show that a general practitioner should have taken a biopsy, which would have led to a diagnosis of melanoma (skin cancer). But a patient must also prove that earlier diagnosis with cancer would have made a difference to the patient’s treatment or outcome. If no damage has resulted from a proven breach no compensation is payable.

It may sometimes be the case that the treating medical professional or their employer will admit that there has been a breach of duty. However this is not enough to say that that person or employer is liable for any damages. In order to establish liability it must be shown that the breach of duty caused the damage.

“Damages” is the legal word for compensation. Damages include physical injury and psychiatric injury, as well as financial loss such as loss of earnings and future healthcare provision. Psychiatric injury must be a recognised psychiatric injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder. Grief or emotional upset are not injuries for which damages can be awarded.

The object of an award of damages is to put the claimant into the position he or she would have been in if the negligent act had not occurred.

Not all losses are recoverable. A court will only award damages for losses which are not too “remote”, in other words, which are reasonably foreseeable.

Compensation for any psychiatric or physical injury will include an award for the pain and suffering and “loss of amenity” (or the benefit and enjoyment of life which the claimant has lost). These are known as “general damages”. The court will also award a sum for any past and future financial losses that have been caused by the negligence. This will include lost earnings and the costs of care, aids and equipment (“special damages”).

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Connor Legal specializes in motor vehicle accident claims, usually on a “no win – no fee” basis. Contact Dan Connor to discuss your claim.

Car and road accidents are among the most prevalent serious injury-causing incidents in Australia. More than likely, you or someone you know has been in a crash. Being involved in a crash can is often traumatic, and obtaining fair and reasonable compensation is difficult.

Dan Connor of Connor Legal has represented hundreds of people in personal injury claims resulting from car and road accidents. We would be happy to speak to you about your accident claim. We believe each client is an individual, and each claim will be tailored to the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident. While you are focusing on your own recovery Connor Legal will help with all aspects of your claim. We will investigate the facts of your accident, evaluate your compensation, and communicate with the Insurance Commission of WA (“ICWA”) —all in the course of ensuring the best possible outcome for you.

We handle car, truck, motorbike and motor vehicle accident cases involving:

  • Rear end collisions
  • Intersection accidents
  • Alcohol related crashes
  • Hit and run accidents
  • Passenger injuries
  • Driver injuries
  • Motorbike
  • Semi-trailer and truck crashes
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

There is no fee unless there is a recovery as we handle motor vehicle accident claims on a contingent fee basis (No win – No fee).

If you have been injured in a road or car accident in Western Australia which wasn’t your fault, you can claim compensation. Even if the accident was partly or even mostly you fault, don’t automatically dismiss the possibility that a claim is not worth pursuing. And don’t let ICWA hurry you through the claims process. It does not cost you anything to contact Connor Legal to determine if you have a valid claim—and it could benefit you significantly.

In Western Australia, lawyers call compensation “Damages”. Damages are intended to compensate the injured person for what was lost due to the accident or injury. A damages award is meant to put the victim in the same position he or she would have been in as if they had not been injured, from a monetary standpoint (to the extent that’s possible). This means putting a dollar figure on all the consequences of an accident. Some damages are relatively easy to quantify — like reimbursement for property damage and medical expenses. But it’s harder to place a monetary value on pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy hobbies because of physical limitations caused by lingering accident-related injuries.

Here’s a rundown of the different types of damages that are common in many personal injury cases.

Medical treatment. A damages award almost always includes the cost of medical care associated with the accident — reimbursement for treatment you’ve already received and compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you’ll need in the future because of the accident. If ICWA admits liability for your claim it will usually pay your reasonable hospital and medical expenses as they are needed.

Income. You can claim compensation for loss of salary and wages — not just income you’ve already lost but also the income you would have been able to earn in the future, but for your accident caused injuries.

Pain and suffering. You may be entitled to get compensation for pain and serious discomfort you suffered during the accident and in its immediate aftermath — also for any ongoing pain that can be attributed to the accident. There are important restrictions on this type of damages in the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act, 1943.

As you can see, working out how much a claim is worth can be difficult, as the amount of compensation is tailored to a victim’s individual injuries and personal circumstances.

A fatal accident is the ultimate road trauma. If you are a close relative of a person killed in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1959. Connor Legal can help you through the process for this type of claim.

There are various time limits applying to motor vehicle accident claims, depending upon your age and situation. Generally, you must commence Court action within 3 years from the date you first became aware of your injury (normally the date of the accident). However different rules apply if you were under 18 years of age at the time you became aware of your accident caused injuries. Fatal Accident claims must be lodged within three years of the date of death. The law relating to claim limitation periods can be complex and you should telephone us to obtain a definitive answer to any question you have regarding limitation periods, The relevant law in Western Australia is in the Limitation Act, 2005.

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (“ICWA”) is the sole Compulsory Third Party Insurer for motor vehicle personal injuries in Western Australia. It is the government insurer for bodily injury claims in Western Australia. ICWA must be advised as soon as possible, after your accident, of your claim.

No matter who caused your crash, and whether or not ICWA admits liability for your claim, you will face difficult opposition and you will need a lawyer to support you through your claim. Why? Insurance companies like ICWA deal with cases like yours all the time. They have knowledge and experience. This is likely your first and only claim. Level the playing field by knowing as much about the system as they do. Phone Connor Legal to find out your rights and entitlements.

Motorbike Accidents

Riding a motorbike is dangerous. Even skilled riders wearing the right safety gear, and a helmet, can be involved in a serious accident. Motorcycle riders and their pillion passengers represent a significant proportion of the road toll, even though motorcycles make up only a small percentage of registered vehicles. In Australia:

  • In 2010, 224 fatalities were motorcyclists.[1]
  • Motorcycles account for 4.5% of all Australian passenger vehicle registrations and 1.1% of vehicle kilometres travelled. However, motorcycle riders and pillions account for approximately 15% of all road crash deaths and an even higher proportion of serious injuries. Per distance travelled, the Australian rate of motorcyclist deaths is approximately 30 times the rate for car occupants. The corresponding rate for a serious injury is approximately 41 times higher. Similar elevated rates are also found in other developed countries. [2,3]

The most common motorcycle accident is when a car fails to see you or judges your speed incorrectly, and turns in front of you at an intersection. Blame inattention, distraction, blind spots and even psychology; a driver looking for cars perceives merely an absence of cars, not the presence of a motorbike.

Motorbike accidents often result in more severe injuries than other motor vehicle accidents due to:

  • The rider being thrown from the motorbike
  • The rider being crushed or dragged under the motorbike
  • The rider having little protection from larger vehicles, the roadway or any other solid obstacles.

Motorbike riders are usually not at fault for accidents, but often suffer severe injuries when they have accidents. Dan Connor will analyse your case and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled. This will include compensation from suing the driver or drivers at fault for the accident. It is important that you consult with a motorbike accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. There are time limits within which claims must be filed. If you are physically unable to travel to see your lawyer, accommodations can be made. Delays may cost you more than you can afford to lose.

  1. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, & Regional Economics (2011). Road deaths Australia: Statistical summary 2010. Canberra: Australian Department of Infrastructure & Transport.
  2. International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (2011). Annual report 2010. France: OECD/ITF.
  3. Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
    (2008). Fatal and serious road crashes involving motorcyclists, Monograph 20.

Taylor v Scriven [2007] WASCA 208. I represented a young boy whose father had been killed when his motorbike collided with a parked car. The Judge at trial apportioned liability 55%/45% against the boy’s father because he had not kept a proper lookout and had not done up his helmet strap. I appealed that result on the basis that there was no evidence that doing up the helmet strap would have saved the bike rider nor was there sufficient evidence that the rider had not kept a proper lookout. The Supreme Court found that the deceased motorbike rider was not at fault and awarded his son $70,612.00 which was a finding that the car driver was 100% to blame.

Mining Accidents

Western Australia’s mining industry is the backbone of our economy. It’s worth billions of dollars. But it can be dangerous work: the rate of fatalities in the Mining industry is 70% higher than the national rate. Causes of injuries in the Mining industry include:

  • Vehicle incidents
  • Falls from heights
  • Being hit by falling objects
  • Being hit by moving objects, 18% of claims
  • Body stressing, 34% of claims
  • Falls, trips and slips 22% of claims

Dan Connor has a successful track record of helping injured mining workers in Western Australia recover full and fair compensation for their losses.

If you were injured while working for a mining company, you were likely told to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, which was appropriate. However, as you may have already learned, Western Australia’s worker’s compensation benefits are often not enough, especially after a serious mining injury.

To get fair compensation for lost wages, pain, suffering, and medical bills, it may be necessary to file common law claim against a negligent mining company and/or the manufacturer of any defective equipment or labour hire firm.

At Connor Legal, we have a long track record, almost 30 years, of helping injured workers with workers compensation and common law claims recover the compensation they need to get back on their feet. We also understand the complexities of the laws and regulations that govern mining accidents. Most importantly, we have the skill and experience to make those laws work for you.

[source of statistics, Safework Australia http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/432/Mining-Fact-Sheet-2011-12.pdf ]

Criminal Injury Compensation

Connor Legal can help you claim compensation if you have been the victim of a crime.

Victims of crime can be compensated for their injuries, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003.Compensation can be sought for an incident reported to the police regardless of whether anyone has been identified, charged or convicted of the offence. An application can be lodged by:

  • a victim of an offence where they were injured and/or experienced financial loss as a result
  • a close relative of a person killed as the result of an offence.

Compensation can be awarded for suffering bodily harm, psychological injury, or pregnancy, resulting from an offence. Compensation may cover:

  • pain and suffering
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of income
  • medical expenses

and other incidental expenses, such as travel for medical treatment or damage of clothing. You can also claim the cost of obtaining a medical report to support your claim.

In case of death, a close relative can apply for funeral expenses and loss of financial support.

The amount of compensation that can be awarded depends on the extent of your injuries and the losses suffered. There is a “cap” or statutory maximum depending on the date the offence occurred:

22 January 1971 – 17 October 1976 $2,000
18 October 1976 – 31 December 1982 $7,500
1 January 1983 – 31 December 1985 $15,000
1 January 1986 – 30 June 1991 $20,000
1 July 1991 – 31 December 2003 $50,000
1 January 2004 – Present $75,000

An application must be lodged within three years from the date of the offence. If the claim is more than three years old, you may still be able to claim, but an extension of time must be obtained. We can help you lodge your claim even if more than three years have passed.

Dan Connor has successfully helped dozens of Criminal Injuries Compensation claimants, including appeals against awards of compensation.

Inheritance

Generally, a person has a right to make a Will giving their property to whoever they wish. However, sometimes Wills are grossly unfair and in these cases it is possible to contest the terms of a Will. In Western Australia, the relevant law is set out in the Family Provision Act 1972. The persons who may contest a Will are:

  • Spouses and de-facto partners;
  • Former spouses maintained by the deceased;
  • Children, including unborn children;
  • Stepchildren (in some circumstances);
  • Grandchildren (in some circumstances);
  • Parents.

The time limit to make a claim is within 6 months of personal representative becoming entitled to administer the estate. In other words, a claim for provision must be made within 6 months from the Grant of Probate or Administration.

Contesting a Will in WA is allowed if there are good reasons, for example:-

  • Where a Will does not provide adequate provision for your proper maintenance. But what amounts to proper maintenance and support does not necessarily mean no more than satisfying basic needs;
  • Whether there you were partially or fully financially dependent upon the deceased;
  • Whether the deceased had the mental capacity to understand what he/she was doing;
  • There may be an application made that the Deceased was unduly influenced by another person prior to the signing of the Will and that it in fact did not reflect that persons true wishes. This is known as an “undue influence” claim;

Connor Legal can assist with Probate Applications, Letters of Administration and Inheritance claims, If you have been left out of a Will or feel you have been treated unfairly phone Dan Connor at Connor Legal, and remember you don’t have unlimited time.

Public Liability

If you have suffered an injury (whether a physical or psychological injury) through the fault of another person (even if that person is only partly at fault) then you may be entitled to make a claim against that person, and receive compensation through their insurer. Dan Connor has successfully handled cases involving the following types of situations:

  • Slipping on spills at shopping centres;
  • Playground accidents;
  • Falling down stairs;
  • Defective kitchen implements and power tools;
  • Faulty construction work;
  • Falls on footpaths and pathways.

Please telephone Connor Legal to make an appointment to discuss whether or not you have a claim worthwhile pursuing.

Conveyancing, Will Drafting, Grants of Probate Applications

Connor Legal can help you with conveyancing, and buying and selling properties. We charge no more than the scheduled fee for these services. Call our Gail Harvey to find out more.