Lodging a successful compensation claim in Queensland: pitfalls to avoid
Lodging a successful compensation claim in Queensland can hinge on a number of factors, many of which are time-critical.
Being injured in an accident can have significant ramifications for all aspects of a person’s life, from their overall wellbeing to their ability to work and earn a living. A compensation claim can ease the strain of medical expenses and lost income, as well as compensating for the inability to participate fully or enjoy life as the person did previously, or for disability or disfigurement.
Time-critical tasks for a successful compensation claim
Making a successful compensation claim can hinge on completing a number of tasks that are time-critical, which is why it is essential to seek legal advice as early as possible.
Medical advice: Medical advice should be sought immediately. This is particularly important if there is limited evidence to establish that the accident occurred. It is also essential that the person is frank and honest with the doctor as to the extent of the injury.
Witnesses: Contact details of all potential witnesses to the accident should be collected and retained, in case statements are required to corroborate the evidence of the injured person.
Carers: The injured person should retain a diary that records the tasks performed by family and friends who have provided care, as well as the time spent performing those tasks. This is important where a claim for gratuitous assistance is made.
Employment: Records should be kept of applications for employment and the responses to the applications. This is important where a claim is made for economic loss.
Out-of-pocket expenses: Records should be kept of all out-of-pocket medical expenses in order to substantiate a claim for this component.
Be consistent and avoid stretching the truth
Compensation claims have been brought undone where people have provided different versions of events – for example, providing a version of events to their medical provider which contradicts a version they provide to their manager or co-worker.
It is very important to be honest and consistent in the information provided to all parties.
Multiple versions of events undermine a claimant’s credibility
I have previously acted in a claim where it became apparent that a client had provided quite a different history, in relation to the circumstances of his injury, to his employer and to each of the numerous doctors he consulted following the injury.
Unfortunately, due to this, we were not prepared to continue to represent this client, because of the real risk he faced of losing the claim and being subjected to an adverse costs order from the insurer.
Social media posts can undermine the client’s claims
Social media can also adversely impact compensation claims, where material posted online paints a different picture to the one being presented to the insurance company. I have previously acted for a client whose claim was compromised as a result of photographs which she posted on her Facebook page while overseas.
The pictures depicted her undertaking certain activities which appeared to be inconsistent with those of a person who had suffered the injuries which she had claimed.
As there are many different kinds of compensation claim and each case is different, seeking legal assistance early is critical to finding out how the claim is calculated and what factors will be taken into account.