Construction Accident Lawyers

We are expert 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.


If you, or someone close to you, has suffered a construction accident injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to construction accident injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits to claim compensation specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Construction Accident Injury in Queensland

If you've been unfortunate enough to suffer a construction injury in Queensland and it wasn't your fault, you may have the right to a workers compensation claim. As well as pursuing matters at common law, you could be eligible for one of the state's compensation schemes.

  • Car and road accidents: The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme is for when your injury occurred on the road - whether you were a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian. This scheme allows you to claim damages against the negligent party's CTP insurer.
  • Work accidents: WorkCover Queensland or your employer's workers' compensation scheme (if they are a self-insurer) can provide statutory benefits regardless of who was at fault. In addition, if your employer did not provide a safe workplace, you might be able to make a common law claim for negligence against them.
  • Public place accidents: If your injury occurred in a public place, you could make a common law claim against the at-fault party's public liability insurance.

If you think you have the grounds to claim compensation, you should consult a construction accident lawyer who can explain your options. Smith's Lawyers provides a free case review that can help you understand your workers compensation claim.

Common Causes of Construction Accident Injuries

It will come as no surprise to a construction worker that their risk of getting injured is high. The industry involves a lot of manual labour and heavy machinery. The construction industry accounted for 13% of all serious claims in Australia in 2019–20. 

Some of the most common causes include: 

  • Falls from height: Often due to a lack of proper safety precautions on a construction site, falls from scaffolding, ladders, or elevated work platforms could lead to severe injury or death.
  • Trench collapses: When soil unexpectedly shifts, trenches can collapse and potentially bury construction workers. This could result in suffocation or crush injuries.
  • Electrical accidents: Mismanaged electrical cables or equipment can cause shocks or burns. In worst-case scenarios, it might result in fatal electrocutions.
  • Equipment-related accidents: Incorrect use, poor maintenance, or failure of machinery, such as forklifts, can cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
  • Moving or falling objects: Materials not properly secured can move or fall, causing serious injuries. Hard hats often provide limited protection in these cases.
  • Trips and slips: Slippery surfaces, debris, or poor lighting can create hazardous conditions, leading to trips, slips, or falls, often followed by injuries.
Common Types of Construction Accident Injuries

In the hustle and bustle of construction sites, if you get injured, there are a range of conditions that you could suffer. Some you will recover from quickly; others may require long-term care. 

Some injuries you should be aware of are: 

  • Fractures: Whether it's from a fall or having part of the body hit by an object, bones could be broken. A minor break might heal quickly, but something like a compound fracture may take months and require extensive treatment to recover. 
  • Head injuries: A slip or knock to the head could leave you with a concussion or a serious cut that requires stitches. 
  • Back injuries: From a strain to displaced vertebrae, back injuries could require an employer to provide reasonable adjustments or lengthy treatment to get back to normal.
  • Crush injuries: These occur when a part of the body is squeezed between two objects, often resulting in broken bones, internal bleeding, or even amputation in severe cases.
  • Electrocution: From exposed wiring to faulty power tools, electrical accidents can cause severe burns, heart problems, or debilitating neurological damage.
  • Burns: These can be caused by fires, explosions, hot liquids, or chemicals. Burns can be very painful and can require extensive medical treatment.
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI): Continually executing the same motion can damage your tendons, nerves, and other musculoskeletal structures. These injuries often develop slowly over time, leading to long-term or even permanent function loss.

If you think you've suffered an injury and it wasn't your fault, you could be entitled to workers' compensation. You should speak to a construction accident lawyer who can advise you on your next steps.

Workers Most at Risk of Construction Accident Injuries

In 2019, there were 26 fatal injuries in the construction industry in Queensland. Building sites are dangerous workplaces, meaning those who need to be there should be aware of the risks. 

 Some of the most at-risk professions include:

  • Concrete and masonry workers: These construction workers are often at risk due to the extensive physical labour involved in their roles. These can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, among other things. In addition, they regularly work at heights, increasing the potential risk of fall injuries.
  • Electricians: Accidental electrocution is a common risk among electricians. Conducting electrical work on an active construction site increases the risk of electrical injury due to the presence of loose wiring, faulty equipment, and wet conditions.
  • Heavy machinery operators: Operating heavy machinery on construction sites comes with its own set of hazards, including the possibility of rollovers, collisions, or equipment malfunctions causing severe injuries.
  • Roofers: They frequently work at heights and are exposed to risks associated with falling, slips, and trips. These hazards can become even more dangerous in poor weather conditions or when safety equipment is not used correctly.

No matter how safe you are, where there is negligence, there is a high likelihood of an accident. When it happens on a building site, and it wasn't your fault, you could be entitled to construction injury compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Construction Accident Compensation Claim Process

If you're involved in a construction accident, seeking immediate medical help should always be your first concern. Once you're stable, you can start to think about making a workers' compensation claim.

We understand this process may seem complex and overwhelming. That's why we've broken down the main steps to give you a guide on what to expect. Bear in mind that your claim may involve more or fewer steps. 

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a construction site injury claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all compensation claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence do I Need to Support my Construction Accident Claim?

The more evidence you have, the better your chances of a successful claim. Each claim is different, which means what you need in your case could be different from what a similar case needs. 

Things you may want to think about getting include:

  • Medical reports: Documentation from healthcare providers that details your injuries, along with their severity, proposed treatment plan and prognosis. These can provide an objective overview of the physical repercussions of the accident.
  • Witness testimonies: Anyone who saw the incident occur could be an invaluable asset to your case. Their accounts can back up your version of events and provide additional details that you might have missed.
  • Proof of accident: This could be a formal accident report from your employer or even photos or videos of the circumstances leading up to the accident. This serves to establish that the accident did indeed occur and the conditions around it.
  • Details of expenses: You will need to calculate all your expenses resulting from your injury. This is everything from medical bills, travel expenses, appointments and the costs of any necessary home modifications.
  • Proof of lost earnings: If your injury has caused you to miss work or if it will affect your capacity to work in the future, you'll need to provide documentation, such as payslips or tax returns, to account for this monetary loss.

When you are starting to think about a claim, experienced construction injury lawyers can guide you through what's necessary to give you the best chance of success. 

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

Calculating compensation after an accident on a construction site involves a number of different factors. Claims from the construction industry accounted for the largest proportion (15.7%) of statutory claim payments in 2020–21. Amounting to around $204M.

Things that will be considered include: 

  • Past and future loss of earnings: This covers income lost due to being unable to work after the accident as well as future loss of earnings due to disability. Superannuation contributions are also included in this.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: All expenses arising from medical treatment you've had to undertake due to your injury. This includes hospital stays and medications.
  • Rehabilitation costs: Necessary rehabilitation such as physiotherapy, counseling or expenses for mobility aids and home modifications can be considered.
  • Pain and suffering: Also known as 'general damages,' this compensates for the pain and trauma experienced due to your injury.

You need to understand that the same injury does not result in a set payout amount. The amount of compensation awarded depends on several factors: 

  • The severity of the injury: More severe construction injuries or those causing permanent impairment could result in higher compensation.
  • Recovery: How well you recover from your trauma can impact the compensation amount.
  • Your occupation: The impact of the injury on your ability to perform your job or if your career progression is hindered can be considered.
  • Age: Your age plays a factor too. If you are closer to retirement, the calculations for future pay loss could be different.

Claims are complex and every case is unique. That's why you'll stand the best chance of success by speaking to a personal injury solicitor. 

Smith's Lawyers can provide a no-obligation case review to discuss your options.

Time Limits for Construction Accident Injuries

Being aware, there are time limits for filing a construction accident injury claim in Queensland. As a general rule, you have three years from the date of the accident. However, it's important to note that these time limits can sometimes vary, depending on the specifics of the accident involved.

For work-related construction injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related construction accidents in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I wasn't directly employed by the main construction company; can I still claim?

Most likely, yes. Your position as a subcontractor, labor-hire worker, or even a visitor to the site could still make you eligible for compensation if injured. Workers' compensation laws extend to various personnel present on site, protecting their rights after an injury. Experienced construction accident lawyers will ensure that the proper claim is being made with the relevant insurer.

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There were multiple companies on the construction site – who do I make the claim against?

Unraveling liability amongst various contractors requires specialist legal help. The responsible party for a claim could be your direct employer, another company contributing to the unsafe condition, or a combination of entities. This significantly influences the outcome and amount of compensation you can access.

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I was at fault for causing my own construction injury, can I still get any compensation?

Potentially, but compensation amounts are often reduced compared to instances where there was zero fault on the victim's end. Consult a lawyer for a realistic assessment of your available compensation despite having contributed to the accident. It's vital to note there could still be other responsible parties who bear partial liability.

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The accident made an existing injury worse; what compensation is available?

These "aggravation" scenarios require careful exploration. You could pursue compensation covering the worsening of the pre-existing condition by the accident. These cases become complex, needing expert legal and medical analysis to secure appropriate compensation.

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Who is responsible for safety on a work site?

Under Queensland Laws, multiple parties on a construction site share "Chain of Responsibility" in maintaining safety. These include:

  • Principal Contractor: Oversees the overall project and holds significant safety duties.
  • Employers: They must ensure the safety of their employees and the workplace itself.
  • Designers and Engineers: Play a role in eliminating risks within the plans themselves
  • Workers: Hold individual responsibility to use equipment and follow processes correctly.

The specifics of a worker's injury determine which party ultimately bears primary responsibility.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Construction Accident Compensation 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.

Last updated:
March 10, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.