Serious Injury Compensation Claims

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 serious injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to serious 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 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 Serious Injury in Queensland

If you've been unfortunate enough to suffer a serious injury due to someone else's negligence in Queensland, you have the right to seek compensation. As well as a common law claim, the state has several schemes in place you may be eligible for.

These include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: If you've been injured in a car or road accident, you can make a claim under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claims scheme. This compensates road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, because of a negligent driver.
  • Work Accidents: If you've been injured at work, you're entitled to a statutory claim via WorkCover Queensland or through your employer's workers compensation scheme if they're a self-insurer. This applies regardless of who was at fault for your injury. Additionally, if your employer was negligent, you can make a common law claim.
  • Public Place Accidents: If you've suffered a personal injury, such as a trip or fall, due to someone else's negligence, you can make a common law claim against the public liability insurer.

Personal injury law can be incredibly complex, so it's always best to seek legal advice on what steps to take if you want to make a claim. Smith's Lawyers offer a free personal injury claim review which could help you understand your next steps.

Common Causes of Serious Injuries

Serious injuries can happen to anyone, and often when you least expect it. There are several ways your accident can happen and some of the most common causes include: 

  • Car Accidents: In Queensland, road accidents account for approximately 50 percent of all serious injury claims. Whether it's two cars that collide at high speed or a pedestrian suffering a serious injury from being hit by a vehicle, the results can be devastating.
  • Workplace Accidents: According to Safework Australia, 30 percent of all serious injury claims come from workplace accidents. Although many of these will happen in places you'd expect, like a construction site, they could also happen in an office. They can be caused by falls, machinery or improper lifting techniques, leading to injuries such as fractures, sprains or back problems.
  • Public Place Incidents: Slips and falls due to poor maintenance of public spaces can lead to serious injuries like head trauma or spinal injuries. These accidents often occur in shopping centres, parks or restaurants.
  • Medical Negligence: Although less frequent than a car accident or workplace fall, if you've been for surgery or spent time in hospital and something has gone wrong, you could be left with serious personal injuries. 

In all these cases, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.

Common Types of Serious Injuries

No matter where your injury occurs, it could still leave you with life-changing consequences. Several types of injuries frequently tend to be severe and life-altering.

Some of the most common include: 

  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Traumatic blows to your spine can leave you partially or even fully paralysed. As well as a dramatic recovery, you may have to completely change how you live your life.
  • Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur due to a violent blow or puncture to the head, often seen in road accidents. These can result in prolonged unconsciousness, memory problems and behavioural changes.
  • Fractures: Broken bones occur regularly in accidents, particularly fractures to the hip, which can be debilitating and require a lengthy recovery period.
  • Amputations: Serious accidents can lead to a loss of limbs, affecting mobility and quality of life. This often results from severe trauma or a crush injury.
  • Burns: These can occur due to fires, chemicals or electricity, commonly seen in workplaces. Severe burns can cause significant scarring and infection and can even be life-threatening.

No matter how you're injured, if it was someone else's fault, then you could be entitled to make an injury claim. You should seek independent legal advice from a personal injury lawyer who can explain your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Serious Injuries

As a large, diverse state, Queensland has lots of occupations at risk of serious injury. Some of the most at-risk are:

  • Construction: This industry is physically demanding and often involves working from heights, operating heavy machinery and exposure to hazardous materials. Construction accidents often lead to serious injuries such as fractures, spinal damage and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Healthcare: Demanding jobs with long hours in hospital can easily lead to strains, slips, trips, falls or worse. Heavy lifting or regularly moving patients can also result in musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Mining: Despite strict safety regulations, the mining industry can pose significant risks due to the nature of the work. Serious injury can occur from machinery malfunctions, exposure to hazardous substances, and mine collapses.
  • Transportation: Workers in this industry, from truck drivers to couriers, face risks from vehicle accidents, lifting heavy items and long periods of driving or sitting.
  • Agriculture: Farming activities often involve the use of heavy machinery, contact with animals and exposure to harsh weather conditions, all of which can lead to serious injuries.

Remember, no matter where you work, if you suffer an accident and it's not your fault, you could be entitled to a serious injury claim. Personal injury lawyers, such as Smith's Lawyers, can help you understand your options.

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

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

Did you know that the success rate for serious injury claims in Queensland is 85 percent? That doesn't mean that embarking on a compensation claim isn't daunting. With that in mind, we've created a simplified guide to explain what your personal injury compensation claim might look like. 

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.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Serious Injury Claim?

Serious injury compensation claims are most successful when they have comprehensive documentation. The nature and impact of your injury, as well as your pain and suffering, need to be thoroughly demonstrated.

Some documentation you might need includes: 

  • Medical Reports: A detailed medical record is essential. It validates the extent and severity of your injury. Include all diagnoses, procedures, medical receipts, prescriptions and referral letters you may have. Details of any medical professionals involved in your treatment should also be included.
  • Witness Testimonies: If anyone witnessed your accident, their accounts could significantly strengthen your claim. They can help confirm how the accident occurred and testify to the immediate impact it had on you.
  • Proof of Accident: Any photos or videos capturing the accident site, vehicle damage in case of a road mishap or any unsafe conditions can provide tangible evidence about the accident circumstances.
  • Expense Details: Receipts and invoices related to your injury can testify to your costs. It may include medical bills, legal fees, rehabilitation costs, travel expenses to medical centres or even costs of home adjustments if necessary due to your injuries.
  • Evidence of Lost Earnings: In case your injury has impeded your ability to work, proof of lost income will be necessary. This could be a letter from your employer outlining the time you needed off or an overview of your normal wage versus what you were able to earn post-accident.

Injury claims are more likely to be successful with evidence that connects your injury to the action of the negligent party. Speaking to a solicitor can help you understand what your case for serious injury compensation might look like. 

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

In personal injury claims, there is no fixed amount of compensation for a particular type of injury. How the courts decide how much you will receive involves many factors. Some of these include: 

  • Past and Future Loss of Earnings: Your injury could mean time away from work, or it might permanently affect your capacity to earn. Injury compensation claims take into account both past and future losses, including superannuation contributions that you would have made if not for the injury.
  • Hospital and Medical Expenses: Compensation claims can cover the cost of medical treatment immediately following your accident, as well as any ongoing treatment you may require due to your injury.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: Serious injuries often require extensive rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy. These costs are included in the compensation amount to ensure you get the help you need for recovery.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation claims take into account the impact on your quality of life after the accident, whether it's persistent pain, loss of ability to enjoy hobbies or activities or any other mental and emotional distress.

However, even if two people suffer similar injuries, the resulting payout can vary greatly. Factors such as the severity of your injury, the level of permanent impairment, your recovery progress, the effect of injury upon your occupation and even your age can influence the compensation amount. 

For example, someone close to retirement might receive less than a younger person with several working years ahead of them.

This can all seem quite complex. But, speaking to a personal injury lawyer can help you understand what you might receive. 

How Can a Serious Injury Impact Your Ability to Work?

If you have experienced a serious injury, you can all too easily find your work capacity compromised. In the short term, this could mean needing time off to recover and go through necessary medical treatments and therapies. Throughout this period, you could find it impossible to perform your regular tasks or to be as productive as you were before your accident. 

In the long term, serious injuries might lead to permanent changes in your physical abilities and reduce your capacity to work or to find similar employment elsewhere. Worse still, they could result in an inability to perform any work at all. 

The financial burden from a reduced work capacity can be substantial. It's important to remember that in Queensland, your compensation will heavily consider the impact of the injuries on your ability to earn an income, allowing you to secure some financial comfort for what may be a challenging future.

Time Limits for Serious Injuries

If you've suffered a serious injury in Queensland, it's essential to know that the law requires a compensation claim to be lodged within three years of the injury or accident taking place. However, it's important to be aware that there may be variations to this rule, depending largely on the specifics of your incident.

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 nine 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 nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have one 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 (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within one month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three 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 three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three 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.

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.

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 if the accident was partly my fault?

In cases where the injured party was not entirely blameless, a concept called 'contributory negligence' applies in Queensland. This doesn't bar you from seeking compensation, but your entitlement may be reduced depending on your degree of fault.

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What counts as a 'serious injury' for a compensation claim?

A 'serious injury' generally refers to an injury that significantly affects your lifestyle or your ability to work. This can include severe physical injuries, psychological trauma or chronic conditions that have developed as a result of the accident.

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Can I claim if the at-fault party has no insurance?

Even if the party who caused your accident is uninsured, you may still be eligible to make a claim. In Queensland, the Nominal Defendant Scheme ensures victims of uninsured or unidentified drivers can still seek compensation. 

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What kind of evidence is required to support my claim?

Evidence like photographs of the accident scene, medical reports detailing your injury and its impact on your life, witness accounts and any documentation related to expenses incurred because of the injury can significantly strengthen your claim.

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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 Spinal Injury 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:
July 3, 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.