Free Legal Advice in GoldCoast, Brisbane, Sydney, NSW
This page contains monthly legal news about matters relating to personal injury law in Australia.
If your require legal advice on how on any of the news stories on this page affect your individual circumstances and entitlements, you should contact Legal Injury today by filling in the form on the top right.
Remember: To receive the maximum damages on your injury compensation claim talk to the professionals at Legal Injury!
NSW Victims Rights and Support Bill 2013 (18 June 2013)
On 7 May 2013, the NSW government introduced legislation to Parliament that limits the ability of victims to seek compensation for violent crimes such as sexual assault and child abuse. The new Victims Rights and Support Bill replaces the
Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996. It reduces the maximum compensation payout from $50,000 to $15,000 and introduces a statute of limitations for compensation claims arising from violent crimes. Furthermore, the new law is applied retrospectively to reduce payments to those victims who have already submitted claims. The bill was assented by Parliament on 03 June 2013 at 4am after an all-night sitting. It passed with the support of the Shooters MPs and Christian Democrat Fred Nile.
The Victims Rights and Support Bill 2013 was introduced to Parliament with the support of the NSW Victims Advisory Board for two reasons. Firstly, the NSW Victims Compensation Fund had run over budget and the State Government wanted to reduce the cost of the scheme. And secondly, the legislation prevents victims who testify at the royal commission into child sexual abuse from seeking compensation. Indeed, there is speculation that the NSW government deliberately timed the new legislation to ensure that these child sexual abuse victims do not seek compensation in large numbers, placing further financial strain on the system.
Under the new legislation, applications for compensation must be made within 10 years of the crime. However, if the victim was a child when the crime took place, compensation claims must be lodged within 10 years after they turn 18. This statute of limitations denies justice to the majority of the victims testifying to the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
The new statute of limitations is problematic because compensation claims arising from violent crimes take longer to be finalised than other types of claims - up to 18 months on average. Many claims will now expire during the period from submission to payout. This seems to be a deliberate feature of the new act. The state government claims that the new legislation will permit compensation claims to be processed faster, but it is hard to see how this is the case - the government is reducing the size of the NSW Victims Advisory Board in favour of a new Commissioner of Victims Rights. This may cause a bottleneck in the speed with which claims can be finalised.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has argued that the new legislation is designed around the needs of treasury, rather than victims. He released a statement which claims "This is a disgraceful bill that seeks to cut costs at the expense of victims of crime and their families". Community Legal Centres NSW argues that the law represents "a huge step backwards in the struggle against sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence".
If you have been a victim of a violent crime in NSW and are worried about how the new laws affect your rights to compensation, contact Legal Injury immediately for confidential legal advice free of charge.
Proposed Changes to NSW Workers Compensation Laws (21 May 2012)
The NSW State government is currently considering a major overhaul of the state's workers compensation legislation in addition the recent changes to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 that commenced from 01 February 2011.
The objective of the proposed changes is to reduce the cost of the WorkCover scheme, which is currently running a deficit of $5 billion. Unfortunately, this reduction in spending is being achieved by placing new limits on workers compensation claims. The proposed changes include:
- Eliminating lump-sum payments for injuries that involve "less than 10 per cent whole-body impairment" - including the majority of back and neck injuries.
- Cutting off weekly benefits from the scheme after 2½ years (or 130 weeks) for all recipients who have not suffered a permanent disability.
- Restricting entitlements for after nine years for workers who have suffered a permanent disability, unless they are "totally incapacitated".
In addition, the proposed changes will place statutory limits on the amount of compensation that an injured person can receive after a workplace accident according to a sliding scale. At present, a worker receives 100% of their normal salary for the first 26 weeks on compensation before dropping to the statutory rate of $432 per week. The revised laws will limit the injured worker to a maximum of 90% of their normal wages from the outset, dropping to 80% after 13 weeks, before dropping to the statutory rate after 26 weeks.
At the moment, there is still uncertainty about what the final shape of the revised NSW workers compensation laws will be. However, it looks like the proposed changes will slash the compensation entitlements of workers in the state. Therefore, if you are located in NSW and intend to make a workers compensation claim you should act immediately to ensure that you receive your full entitlements under the current laws. Contact the professionals at Legalinjury by filling in the form on the top right of this page to learn how we can help you to maximise your worker's compensation payout.
Workers Compensation Presentation (21 May 2012)
Legalinjury recently published a presentation on worker's compensation in Australia and we thought that it would be great to share it with you.
Here's a copy of the article:
Compensation Entitlements After A Motor Vehicle Accident (01 May 2012)
Legal Injury has recently published an article about the practical steps that you can take to ensure that you receive your full compensation entitlements after a motor vehicle accident.
You can read the article online by clicking on the link below:
- WorkCover review Compensation case after 11 years
- 100% compensation would discourage RTW
- Actual earnings of self-employed workers not determinative
- Compensation denied for personality
- Federal budget hints at releasing Comcare review,
- Queensland tractor injuries rising
- Sedentary lifestyle caused worker's pain
- Worker loses $300K in compensation
- Name and shame unsafe employers
- More serious injuries didn't warrant higher fine: Court