The common law process is complex and can be hard to understand. Legal representation can help.
Legal representation for workers
Important things to consider before making a common law claim:
- To be successful in a common law claim, you need to prove your employer didn't provide you with a safe work environment and breached their duty of care. You must prove this breach led to your injury. If this can't be proven, no damages will be paid.
- Most common law claims take up to a year to reach an agreement. If your claim can’t be resolved by negotiation, court proceedings may start. This process will then take much longer than one year.
- You may need to have further medical assessments.
- You, your colleagues, and your employer may need to give more detailed factual evidence.
- You'll need to supply information relating to your employment history, taxation records, and medical history.
- There are time limits you have to meet to start a common law claim.
- Common law is generally not covered by Legal Aid. Individual firms may offer payment options to help with any financial concerns. The Queensland Law Society has a list of lawyers by location and fact sheets that explain legal costs. Visit their website www.qls.com.au for more information.
- This video has information which might help you decide whether to proceed with a common law claim.
Legal representation for employers
WorkCover’s legal panel will represent employers who have a common law claim lodged by a worker as we're their insurer. WorkCover’s goal, however, is to reach the best outcome for all parties. We also have a continuing obligation to the worker.
Employers who receive a Notice of Claim for Damages from a plaintiff law firm in relation to one their injured workers should notify WorkCover Queensland immediately.
WorkCover will appoint one of our panel law firms to act on behalf of the insured employer.
A lawyer from the panel law firm will make contact with the employer to confirm they are acting on their behalf and to discuss the common law process and the employer’s role. The panel lawyer will require assistance from the employer with their factual investigations which may include the need to undertake a site inspection at the employer's workplace.
The panel lawyer will maintain regular contact with the employer throughout the claim and will invite the employer to attend conferences or mediations as needed.