Crush Injury Compensation

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If you've suffered from a crush injury in Queensland due to someone else's oversight or negligence, it's crucial that you’re informed about your rights to compensation. 

This guide aims to provide you with all the essential information about your rights to compensation, common causes and types of these injuries, the process for lodging a claim, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim 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 Crush Injury in Queensland

Common scenarios resulting in crush injuries, particularly in the workplace, have been identified as contact with a machine with moving parts, fall or collapse of construction materials, and contact with mobile equipment. 

Regarding this, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has stated that most injuries of this nature are preventable. Unfortunately, these avoidable injuries are often very serious and financially burdensome for the injured person and their family.

While the particulars of your crush injury compensation claim may differ from other similar cases, if it was caused due to someone else's negligence, you are entitled to compensation. 

Details of the available compensation schemes in Queensland are as follows:

  • Car and Road Accidents: The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claims scheme is a significant recourse if your injury happened while driving or riding a vehicle or as a pedestrian in an accident.
  • Work Accidents: Statutory claims facilitated by WorkCover Queensland or a self-employer are available to you, whether or not fault is attributed. If your employer has acted negligently in providing a safe workplace, additional common law claims can be pursued.
  • Public Place Accidents: There is a provision for you to make common law claims against the public liability insurer if your injury occurred in a public place.
What is a Crush Injury?

A crush injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body part. This most often happens when a body part is squeezed between two objects. 

In 2021, Safe Work Australia reported 5,839 claims made for serious injuries caused by machinery, including crush injuries. This statistic indicates the prevalence and typical severity of these incidents, which can cause nerve, muscle, tissue, and blood vessel damage, along with bruising, lacerations, fractures, and infection. 

These often severe injuries can cause permanent damage and are typically very costly to treat, so it’s important to know you can seek compensation if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Common Causes of Crush Injuries

Recent statistics have indicated that nearly a third of injury hospitalisations were caused by inanimate mechanical forces and transport crashes, many of which were crush injuries. Although these injuries can occur in various circumstances, several situations have a higher likelihood of causing them.

Below are the common scenarios that often result in these injuries:

  • Vehicle Accidents: Typical causes of crush injury include being trapped under a vehicle. This can happen in car or motorbike accidents or even as a result of being hit by a car as a pedestrian.
  • Workplace Incidents: Particularly in jobs involving heavy machinery or equipment, workers may be caught between these and another object, resulting in injury. Industries like construction and mining are often associated with such incidents.
  • Falling Objects: An object falling from a height onto a person can cause a crush injury, particularly if it's large or heavy. This might transpire at work, in public places, or even at home.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: A fall could cause one to land in a way that a part of the body gets crushed, particularly if the fall occurs from a height or involves heavy objects.
Common Types of Crush Injuries

Crush injuries are a severe health hazard that can happen in various situations, leading to serious, potentially life-altering impacts.

Here are some common types of these injuries: 

  • Hand and finger injuries: Common in workplaces where machinery is operated, such as factories and construction sites, these injuries may affect manual dexterity and functioning.
  • Foot crush injuries: Especially prevalent in industries requiring heavy lifting, these injuries are typically very severe, including several broken bones and soft tissue damage, and can impact mobility and quality of life.
  • Chest and torso injuries: Often resulting from road and public place accidents, such injuries can cause complications in vital organs, making them particularly dangerous.
  • Head and facial injuries: Caused by incidents such as vehicular collisions or falling objects, these injuries can lead to severe physical and emotional trauma.
  • Spinal crush injuries: Any impact on the victim's spinal region may lead to paralysis or other debilitating conditions.
Which Workers Are Most at Risk of Crush Injuries?

Certain professions and industries are more prone to crush injuries due to the nature of their work and the equipment involved.

The most at-risk professions include: 

  • Abattoir and Meat Process Workers: The nature of their work involves handling heavy machinery and sharp tools, which pose a significant risk of such injuries. It's also common to work in close quarters with other workers, increasing the risk of accidents, particularly in high-pressure environments. 
  • Farm Workers: On farms, the most commonly injured body parts are the hands and fingers. Farm workers are often exposed to risk due to working with large equipment, handling livestock, or performing manual lifting tasks. 
  • Manufacturing Workers: The manufacturing sector recorded the second-highest number of claim lodgements in 2022-23. In particular, factory settings with production line machinery can escalate the likelihood of injury. 
  • Mining: A profession with inherent dangers due to the work environment, including tunnel collapses and accidents with drilling equipment. 
  • Construction Workers: In a construction environment, the chances of being caught between heavy materials or crushed by mishandled machinery are high. In addition, with workers often operating at heights, the risk of falling objects leading to crush injuries increases.
  • Logistics Industry Workers: Professionals like truck drivers and warehouse workers also face a high risk of such injuries. They are continually loading and unloading heavy goods, and the use of forklifts and other types of equipment can lead to crushing incidents.

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

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

If you've been unfortunate enough to suffer a crush injury in Queensland, it's important to understand the crush injury claims process. It's critical to first seek professional medical help for your injury - your health is paramount. 

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 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 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.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When it comes to determining the payout for crush injury compensation claims, several factors are considered. For complex crush injuries, initial hospitalizations are typically prolonged and rehospitalizations are frequently required to manage the residual complications. In such cases, your medical expenses and the severe impact on your quality of life may be contributing factors in the compensation you receive. 

Other contributing factors include: 

  • Severity of the injury: The nature and extent of your injury, its impact on your health, and any long-term implications are taken into account. For instance, a severe injury that has led to amputations would naturally warrant a higher compensation figure compared to a less severe one that can heal with time.
  • Impact on work and earnings: If the injury has caused you to miss work or will restrict your future earning potential, this will be considered in calculating your compensation. This aspect considers lost wages and any potential losses in future income.
  • Medical and Rehabilitation costs: All past and future hospital bills, costs of physical therapy, necessary equipment, medication, etc., which you've paid or may have to pay due to your injury, are considered in the calculation.
  • Pain and suffering: Also known as 'general damages', this is a subjective amount determined by the court to compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered because of the injury.

Note that the same crush injury can lead to vastly different compensation amounts due to variations in these factors. 

For instance, a young construction worker might receive a higher compensation compared to an elderly retiree if the injury permanently affects his ability to work and earn. 

These examples demonstrate why it’s essential to have expert representation from a law firm to ensure your claim accurately reflects the full impact of your injury and that you receive all the compensation you're entitled to.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Crush Injury Compensation Claim?

Initiating a crush injury claim is a significant step towards securing your rightful compensation. An essential facet of this process involves amassing appropriate evidence, as success largely hinges on the strength of your supporting evidence. Understanding what qualifies as evidence can be instrumental in bolstering your case. 

Evidence needed for your claim may include: 

  • Medical records and reports: These are critical to showing the full scale of your injuries and the subsequent impact on your life. Reports outlining your prognosis, treatments, rehabilitation, and expected future care costs should be included.
  • Witness statements: These can substantiate your account of the incident and offer tertiary perspectives. They help provide a comprehensive recount of the accident and your injury.
  • Photographs or videos: If available, photographs or videos of the accident scene, your initial injuries, and ongoing recovery can significantly strengthen your claim.
  • Employment records: These serve to highlight any loss of income due to your inability to work post-injury.
  • Incident reports: If your crush injury occurred at your workplace or due to a road accident, it's crucial to include copies of the incident and police reports to substantiate your claim's validity.

A robust body of evidence can decisively tip the scales in your favour. Your journey to claiming compensation doesn’t have to be difficult; with the right support and preparation, it can be a smooth, streamlined process.

Time Limits for Crush Injuries

In Queensland, you generally have three years from the date of your accident to lodge a crush injury claim. There are a few more specifics depending on your circumstances which we’ll cover below.

For work-related 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 injuries 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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Can I claim compensation for a crush injury from a road accident in Queensland?

Yes, you can definitely claim compensation for a crush injury sustained in a road accident in Queensland. To make a valid claim, it would need to be proven that the incident was caused by the negligence or fault of another party. The correct procedures must be followed, and it often requires professional legal advice to guide you through the process.

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What is the role of a personal injury lawyer in a compensation claim?

A personal injury lawyer plays a crucial role in your compensation claim, assisting in navigating through complex legal processes, gathering necessary evidence, and negotiating on your behalf. They meticulously calculate your claim, ensuring you receive the recompense you deserve for your pain and suffering. Moreover, their expert knowledge ensures your rights are protected throughout the claims process.

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How can I prove fault in a crush injury incident?

To prove fault in a crush injury incident, you should gather evidence such as accident scene photos or videos, witness statements, medical reports detailing your injuries, and any relevant safety records or incident reports. It's also beneficial to show how the other party breached a duty of care, leading to your injury.

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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 PTSD 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 1, 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.