Workplace Injuries

Have you been injured at work or because of somebody else’s negligence?

Compensation laws regulate the processes and circumstances through which a person may seek compensation for loss suffered through personal injury. For over 20 years, we have assisted clients seeking compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the confusion and difficulties faced when trying to navigate these complex laws.

We can assist with:

  • Workplace accident compensation for injuries suffered during the course of your employment or undertaking work duties outside the workplace;
  • Motor vehicle accident claims for injuries suffered (by pedestrians and passengers) in accidents involving cars, motorbikes, boats, trains, buses or bicycles;
  • Public liability claims made against owners or occupiers of public (and private) property such as shopping centres, car parks, sporting facilities, or supermarkets;
  • Product liability claims made against a manufacturer for personal injuries caused by their defective products;
  • Occupier’s liability claims for injury sustained from a defective property;
  • Medical negligence claims encompassing a range of claims against health care providers for injury arising from negligent medical treatment or services;
  • Professional negligence claims resulting from financial loss after having relied on the advice of a professional such as a financial planner, accountant, lawyer, real estate agent or valuer;
  • Victims’ compensation (whether direct victims or a disadvantaged family members of the victim).

Compensation laws are complex with strict time limits and specific rules and processes applicable for each category. It is important to commence your compensation claim promptly under the guidance of an experienced compensation lawyer to maximise your entitlement to compensation.

Compensation if you are injured at work

If you are injured or suffer an illness or disease while undertaking your work-related duties at work or while working outside of your workplace, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation.

In South Australia, the workers compensation scheme supports workers who are injured, aggravate an existing injury, or become ill while performing their usual work duties. The scheme operates as a no-fault system, providing injured workers with weekly income support and paid medical benefits for any loss of income and access to reasonably incurred medical expenses.

The scheme also provides an entitlement to lump sum compensation once the injury has reached maximum medical improvement and the injury meets the requisite threshold.

Compensable injuries include physical injuries, psychological injuries and diseases caused by employment.

Following a workplace fatality, the scheme also provides for counselling services, funeral benefits, lump sum death benefits and weekly payments for dependants.

Workers compensation entitlements under the Return to Work Scheme

In South Australia, the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) underpins a worker’s entitlement to compensation under the current scheme. Most claims are managed by Employers Mutual Limited or Gallagher Bassett Services, acting as a claims agent for the Return to Work Corporation of South Australia. Some exempt employers operate under the same legal framework but are self-insured and these employers manage their own claims.

The scheme reforms which were enacted on 1 July 2015, have created significant claim management difficulties for the inexperienced injured worker. While the fundamental protections remain largely available to injured workers, the modern legal framework is complicated, and a lack of knowledge and proficiency can easily have a negative impact on any future lump sum compensation or other entitlement that you may be entitled to.

The law places strict time limitations and legal thresholds on injured workers. While the system operates under the no-fault principle, meaning that you do not need to prove that your employer’s negligence caused your injury, many legal issues can arise from seemingly straightforward claims.

An injury is not limited to the physical body. A claim for workers compensation can also be lodged for a psychological injury, illness or disease. It may include hearing loss caused by a noisy work environment. Your injury may even be an aggravation or an exacerbation of a previous injury.


At Tolis & Co Lawyers, we are committed to ensuring that you successfully obtain the benefits that you are legally entitled to.

Depending on your circumstances and how serious your injuries are, you may be entitled to one or more of the following payments / benefits:

  • income support for loss of wages;
  • reasonable and necessary expenses for medical treatment, for example, hospital admissions, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, rehabilitation and pharmaceuticals;
  • reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses necessary to attend medical treatment;
  • return to work services, for example, job placement and retraining;
  • lump-sum payments for permanent impairment for physical injuries;
  • non-economic loss for pain and suffering;
  • economic loss for loss of future earnings
  • serious injury

We will professionally manage your claim from start to finish to ensure any monies you are entitled to are accurately calculated and paid to you in a timely manner.

We will also make sure that your injuries are properly managed medically and financially and your return to work progresses in a manner that is safe and sustainable.

Our objective is to utilise our decades of experience and guide you through the Permanent Impairment Assessment process for the maximum benefit possible.

What should I do if I am injured at work?

You should report the injury to your employer, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Your doctor will assess your injury and recommend treatment options for your recovery. Your doctor should also complete a Work Capacity Certificate, setting out the injuries you sustained, a recommended treatment plan as well as any work they consider you could perform safely while you are recovering.

Failing to promptly notify your employer of your injury and failing to lodge a claim without the requisite documentation may affect your claim.

Even minor injuries can develop into more serious ones. It is for this reason we encourage you to report any injury sustained in the course of your employment.

A claim for workers compensation should be made as soon as possible by completing the prescribed Claim Form and submitting the claim with the accompanying Work Capacity Certificate.

Common law claims

In addition to the Return-to-Work Scheme you may have a claim directly with your employer. This is called a common law claim.

In circumstances where you have been assessed as a seriously injured worker and where the liability for the cause of your injury or injuries can be attributed to your employer’s negligence, an entitlement to pursue a claim for compensation under the common law may be available to you. In such cases you will need to prove that the employer by act or a failure to act (either directly or through another employee or agent) was negligent and therefore responsible and liable to pay damages for your injury or injuries.

Damages that can be awarded for work injury may include any one or more of:

  • lump sum payment for permanent impairment
  • payment for past and future out-of-pocket expenses
  • payment for past and future earnings
  • compensation for lost superannuation
  • costs for ongoing care and assistance

Statutory time limits do apply when pursuing a common law damages claim, and an award of damages may impact your entitlements under the Return to Work scheme.

Workplace fatalities

At Tolis & Co, we have a deep understanding of the added difficulties faced by families confronted by the trauma of a death in the workplace.

We have professional legal experts who can assist you in looking after claims for counselling services, funeral benefits, lump sum death benefits, and weekly payments.

We can also provide you with expert legal advice relating to death benefits under a superannuation policy, as well as any wills and estate questions you may have.

Importantly, a workplace fatality will meet the requisite threshold of what constitutes a seriously injured worker, providing immediate access to a common law damages claim where evidence of negligence can be made out.

As one of Adelaide’s leading compensation law practices, we have over twenty five years’ experience in assisting our client’s in their personal injury, with a track record for protecting our clients’ rights and maximising their entitlements to compensation.

If you have suffered an injury, whether physical or psychological, at work, in the course of your work, or because of somebody else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation.

If you need any assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 08 8443 4888 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.