Workers Compensation Lawyers Queensland

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Expert Queensland WorkCover and workers compensation lawyers with offices across Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and major regional centres. Free initial advice and 100% risk-free claims with no upfront costs and our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

No Win, No Fee, No Catch®. Queensland work injury compensation with no risks or upfront costs.

Employers in Queensland have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace and to provide workers compensation insurance such as WorkCover Queensland. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

Typical 'no win, no fee arrangements' can leave you at risk of paying the other sides costs if you lost in court. No Win, No Fee, No Catch® is 100% risk free with no upfront costs.

Our expert work injury experts at Smith's Lawyers offer free initial advice to explain your options. We service all regions of Queensland. Request a free case review now.

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What Should I Do When Injured at Work?

If you've been injured at work, the first steps you take are crucial in protecting your rights and ensuring you are entitled to the appropriate WorkCover or workers compensation benefits. The following steps should be your guide:

Seek immediate medical help

Your health should be your number one priority. Depending on the severity of your injury, call for an ambulance, visit a hospital or make an immediate appointment with your GP.

Notify your employer

As soon as you can, let your supervisor or manager know about your injury. This helps to create an official record of the incident.

Document the incident

Write down what happened as soon as you can, while the details are still fresh in your mind. If possible, take pictures of where the incident occurred and any visible injuries you've sustained.

Identify witnesses

Take note of anyone who saw the incident. Their testimony may be crucial later on.

Lodge a WorkCover claim

Complete a WorkCover claim form and submit it to your employer. They are required to forward it to their insurance company within a certain time frame. If they fail to do so, you can directly submit the form to the insurance company (typically WorkCover Queensland).

Seek legal advice

It's important to consult with a work injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will guide you through the process and see if you are also entitled to additional lump-sum tax free compensation, such as a common law claim if your employer or another party was negligent.

It's important to remember that every case is unique. Consult with your work injury lawyer to fully understand your situation and the compensation you may be entitled to.

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Compensation Rights for Injured Workers in Queensland

The compensation rights for injured workers in Queensland are protected by two main methods: the no-fault scheme and common law claims.

No-Fault Scheme

A system that provides compensation to workers injured in the workplace, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.

What is a No-Fault Scheme?

This is a required compensation scheme (referred to as ‘statutory’ scheme) all employers have to hold for their employees, typically managed by WorkCover Queensland, that ensures all workers in the state are covered for work-related injuries, irrespective of whether negligence or fault can be established. It is important to note that some large employers may be self-insured, thereby managing their own workers' compensation claims.

How does it work?

You should always start by reporting your injury to your employer and opening a claim with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's insurer) to help with your lost wages and medical costs.

How do workers benefit?

WorkCover delivers benefits to injured workers by means of rehabilitation and medical expenses, and weekly payment of wages (usually a percentage of) during their period of incapacity. However, these benefits may not entirely cover the loss suffered by the worker, especially when a permanent impairment is suffered. That is where common law work injury claims come into play.

Common Law Claim

A legal action brought in court where the injured worker claims damages from the party whose negligence led to their injury.

What is a Common Law Claim?

In addition to the statutory claim through WorkCover Queensland, injured workers may also have the right to pursue a common law claim. This option is typically pursued when it can be proven that the employer or another party was negligent, culminating in the worker's injury. This is a tax-free lump sum compensation.

How does it work?

Common law work injury claims allow an injured worker to sue their employer for negligence if their injury was caused by the employer's lack of care.

How do workers benefit?

These claims can provide significantly more compensation when compared to WorkCover benefits as they cover not only medical and rehabilitation costs, and lost wages, but also future losses, pain, and suffering. The compensation is calculated based on the severity of the injury, the worker's age, their income at the time of the injury, and the degree to which the employer was at fault.

Compensation Claims Process

The following is the basic legal process the compensation team at Smith's Lawyers take when seeking common law damages for a client:

No Obligation Appointment

If it sounds like you may have a claim, we will arrange a no-obligation appointment at your home, our offices or via phone to explain everything in more detail, to evaluate the case and discuss potential outcomes. Our personal injury lawyers are experts in Queensland work injury compensation.

Building your case

Your appointed lawyer and legal team will gather evidence and investigate the circumstances of the accident, collecting evidence to prove employer negligence. They will also ensure you have taken essential steps such as lodging a WorkCover statutory claim have been completed.

Lodge common law claim

A Notice of Claim is lodged against the employer's insurer (normally WorkCover Queensland) outlining the details of the injury and the negligence claim.


The insurer has an opportunity to respond to the claim, and may accept, reject or negotiate the claim. Our work injury lawyers will enter negotiations with the workers compensation insurer while you can focus on your recovery.

Settling your case

Most cases are resolved without the need to go to court in a meeting known as a 'compulsory conference,' with the legal representatives of your employer's work injury insurer, such as WorkCover Queensland. In the event a suitable lump sum payment for settlement cannot be negotiated, then another meeting may be arranged; a small percentage of matters proceed to court. In the unlikely event a claim is not successful, there will be nothing to pay us, or other parties such as the other side's legal costs.

What can I claim for?

If you've been injured at work in Queensland, it's essential to understand the rights and entitlements you have under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. One of these rights is to pursue a common law claim for damages, which, unlike statutory benefits, aims to more fully compensate you for your actual losses. Under common law, several different types of damages can be claimed following a work-related injury. These include:

Pain and Suffering

This compensates for pain due to physical injuries or psychological conditions caused due to the injury. It is often difficult to quantify as it is highly subjective and varies from person to person.

Loss of Income

If your injury has led to time off work, you can claim for loss of wages. This also includes any loss of future earnings if your ability to work is affected long-term. The average time off work for a serious workers compensation claim in Queensland is 12 weeks.

Past and Future Medical Expenses

These cover any medical costs you've already incurred due to the injury and any anticipated future costs. This can include hospital bills, medication costs, physiotherapy, and any necessary rehabilitation expenses or home care costs.

Loss of Superannuation

This pertains to the loss of superannuation contributions that you would have received if you had not been injured and continued to work.

Several factors will influence the size and nature of your settlement. These include:

The Severity of Your Injuries

The more severe your injuries, the larger your settlement is likely to be. This is because severe injuries often lead to higher medical costs and a greater impact on your ability to work.

Loss of Future Earnings

If your ability to work is significantly impacted, resulting in a loss of future earnings, this will be factored into your settlement.

Years Left to Retirement

If you have many years left until retirement, this could result in a larger settlement, as you have a longer period of potential lost earnings.

Ability to Continue in Given Career

If you are unable to continue in your current line of work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation.

It's important to note that the calculation of these damages is complex and requires expert legal knowledge. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified work injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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Time Limits Work Injury Claims in Queensland

The process of claiming compensation for a work-related injury in Queensland follows certain specified time limits. These are segmented into two sections: Filing a WorkCover claim under the no-fault scheme, and initiating a common law compensation claim. Strict time limits apply to both.

Filing a WorkCover Claim (No Fault Scheme)

The general timeframe for filing a WorkCover claim is within 6 months from the date of the incident or the onset of the injury. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, which include: 

1. Extension due to lack of knowledge: If the worker was not aware of the injury or illness and its relation to their employment, the claim can be lodged within 6 months of becoming aware.

2. Late claims: In some cases, late claims can be accepted if it can be demonstrated that the delay was due to the worker's ignorance, mistake, or absence from the state.

WorkCover delivers benefits to injured workers by means of rehabilitation and medical expenses, and weekly payment of wages (usually a percentage of) during their period of incapacity. However, these benefits may not entirely cover the loss suffered by the worker, especially when a permanent impairment is suffered. That is where common law work injury claims come into play.

Common Law Compensation Claim

In terms of a common law compensation claim, a worker has 3 years from the date of the injury to initiate the process. There are, however, a few exceptions:

Severe capacity: If the worker has been so seriously incapacitated that they have been unable to start the claim within the 3-year window, the court may permit a late claim.

Wrongful death: In the unfortunate event of a worker’s death, the dependents have 3 years from the date of death (which may be later than date of accident) to begin the claim.

Marital change of fact: If the nature of the injury (e.g. the symptoms change, or it becomes significantly worse) or its effect of one’s ability to work change significantly, outside the 3 years from the injury date, potentially, this can be grounds for an exemption.


The details provided herein are of a general nature and should not be used as legal advice. For specific cases, it is advised to consult with a Queensland Work Injury Lawyer to understand the precise deadlines and exceptions applicable to your case.

Workplace Compensation FAQ's

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Are there any upfront costs or financial risks to a claim?

No, there are no upfront costs or financial risks. Our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise ensures that you can proceed with your claim with peace of mind, knowing that there are no upfront costs and absolutely no risk of being left out of pocket.

Typical 'no win, no fee' arrangements may leave you vulnerable to unexpected expenses, such as paying the other side's legal fees if your case is unsuccessful in court. These unforeseen costs could potentially run into thousands of dollars, causing significant financial stress. All claims are run on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis which means there are no circumstances in which you can be left out of pocket to us or the other side.

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How long do common law work injury compensation claims take?

A typical timeframe is 12 to 18 months from opening a claim to settlement for a common law claim. During that time we will help you get the most from your WorkCover claim to help with your recovery and costs while you wait for the settlement.

Note: While the time frame stated is typical, it is critical to understand that each case is unique and may require more or less time depending on various individual factors such as disputed liability or complex injuries.

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Can I Make A Claim for Psychological Injuries at Work?

Yes, it is entirely possible to make a work injury compensation claim for psychological injuries sustained at work. The recognition of psychological injuries such as PTSD as a genuine and significant workplace risk has led to their inclusion within the scope of work injury claims.

The following conditions must be met:

  • Injury Evidence: A medical professional must have diagnosed a psychological injury.
  • Work-Related: The psychological injury must be directly related to your work or events at work.
  • Severity: The psychological injury should significantly affect your work ability. Minor stress or anxiety may not qualify.

Common Types of Psychological Injuries at Work

Some of the most common psychological injuries at work are:

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This can occur after a traumatic incident at work.
  2. Depression and Anxiety: Chronic work-related stress can lead to these conditions.
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Common Work Injuries in Queensland

A wide range of injuries can occur as a result of workplace accidents in Queensland. The following are the most common.

  • Whiplash: Often resulting from road accidents, whiplash involves the sudden jolt of the head and neck, causing strain or tears in the muscles and tendons. This injury can lead to significant pain and discomfort, often requiring extensive medical treatment and rest.
  • Back Injuries: Particularly common in workplaces involving manual labour, back injuries can range from minor strains to severe spinal cord damage. These injuries can have long-term impacts on an individual's health and ability to work.
  • Fractures: Broken bones can happen due to falls, heavy machinery accidents, or road collisions. Depending on the severity, fractures can require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries: These injuries occur due to prolonged, repetitive movements, often linked to certain occupations. Injuries may include carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, both of which can cause chronic pain and limited mobility.
  • Occupational Disease: Certain work environments expose employees to hazardous substances or conditions, leading to diseases such as mesothelioma, silicosis, or occupational asthma. These diseases can have serious, long-term health consequences.

It's crucial to remember that if you have suffered any of these injuries due to your work, you may be entitled to make a WorkCover claim or a common law workers compensation claim. To navigate these processes effectively, consulting with a skilled Queensland work injury lawyer can be invaluable.

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Common Causes of Work Injuries in Queensland

In Queensland, workplace injuries are unfortunately common and can have significant impacts on the lives of workers. Understanding the primary causes of these injuries is crucial for both employers and employees, in order to take proactive steps to prevent such incidents. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Slips, trips and falls: These are often due to inadequate maintenance of the workplace, such as wet floors, loose cables and clutter. Regularly cleaning and organising the workplace can help reduce such incidents.
  • Overexertion and repetitive strain: Physical jobs can lead to workers overexerting themselves or developing repetitive strain injuries. Adequate breaks and ergonomic equipment can help mitigate these risks.
  • Being hit by falling objects: In industries such as construction, workers are often at risk of being hit by falling objects. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and adherence to safety protocols can significantly reduce this risk.
  • Vehicle accidents: Workers who drive as part of their job, such as truck drivers, are at risk of vehicle accidents. Employers can help reduce this risk by providing safe and reliable vehicles and adequate driver training.
  • Workplace violence: Sadly, some workers are injured due to violence in the workplace. This can be mitigated with effective conflict resolution strategies and a strong workplace culture of respect and inclusivity.
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What are the highest risk jobs and industries in Queensland?

In Queensland, certain jobs and industries are characterised by a significantly higher risk of work injuries. These industries often involve physically demanding work, hazardous environments, or both. Approximately 70% of all workers compensation claims in Queensland are made by males. The following is a list of these jobs and industries:

  • Construction:
    Workers in the construction industry are the most likely to make a workers compensation claim in Queensland. The construction industry is known for its high risk due to the physically demanding nature of the work and the presence of heavy machinery and risks on construction sites, which can lead to serious injuries.
  • Agriculture:
    Farmers and other agricultural workers face a range of risks, from machinery accidents to exposure to harmful substances, resulting in high injury rates.
  • Manufacturing:
    Workers in the manufacturing sector are often exposed to hazardous materials and heavy machinery, contributing to a high incidence of work injuries.
  • Mining:
    The challenging conditions in the mining industry, including exposure to dangerous substances and the potential for cave-ins, lead to a high risk of injuries.
  • Healthcare:
    Healthcare professionals, particularly those in hospitals and nursing homes, face a high risk of injuries due to the physical demands of their work and potential exposure to infectious diseases.
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Can I claim compensation if injured on the way to or from work?

Yes, the provisions of the WorkCover Queensland scheme can also apply to incidents that occur while commuting to or from work. These are known as 'journey claims'.

Journey claims are made when a worker sustains an injury while travelling to or from their place of employment. This could include any injuries sustained while driving, walking, or even cycling to work. These claims are covered under the WorkCover Queensland scheme, regardless of who is at fault.

In addition, if your injury was due to the negligence of another party, such as the driver of another vehicle, you could also consider making a claim via a lawyer against the CTP insurer of the at-fault driver.

A CTP road accident injury claim can be pursued if you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver during your commute. This is separate from a WorkCover claim and is made directly against the CTP insurer of the driver who was at fault.

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What are the different types of workers compensation covering Queensland workers?

In Queensland, there are three primary workers compensation schemes available to protect employees in the event of a workplace injury. These are administered by different entities and apply to different types of workers.

  • WorkCover Queensland: The majority of Queensland workers are covered under this scheme. WorkCover Queensland is a statutory body that provides workers' compensation insurance to approximately 90% of Queensland businesses. It is the default scheme for any business that does not qualify to be a self-insurer.
  • Self-Insurers: These are typically large businesses or corporations that choose to manage their own workers' compensation claims. To become a self-insurer, a company must meet stringent financial and corporate governance standards. Self-insurers in Queensland often include major supermarket chains, large retail groups, and multinational corporations.
  • Comcare: Comcare is a federal scheme that covers workers employed by the Commonwealth Government and certain licensed companies. A business may choose to be covered under the Comcare scheme if it operates across multiple states and territories, streamlining their workers' compensation responsibilities into a single scheme.

Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert workers compensation lawyers. We can explain your options to workplace injury claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.