Australia's Biggest Compensation Payouts
While not all workplace compensation cases are front page news, certain shocking injuries have seen compensation payouts soaring into the millions.
While they may seem excessive, these payments are often awarded to compensate for horrific injuries which will last the rest of one’s natural life.
Here are some of Australia’s biggest compensation payouts.
Zachary Quinn – $9 million
One of the biggest medical negligence payouts in Australian history was an award of $9 million dollars in damages because of complications at birth.
During pregnancy, Zachary’s mother headed to the hospital complaining of a lack of foetal movement inside her womb. Doctors and hospital staff dismissed as a young and anxious first-time mother and performed only cursory checks before releasing her.
As a result of this negligence, Quinn was born with severe learning difficulties and cerebral palsy. He is confined to a wheelchair, fed through a tube, will never talk and has a reduced life expectancy.
On winning the case, his mother stated that the payout would help with the costs of caring for her son, and would help him receive the best quality of life possible under the circumstances.
Dale Hargreaves – Millions for Falling When Working from Home
Dale Hargreaves worked for Telstra, working from home two days a week and the rest in Telstra’s city office.
She suffered two injuries while working at home, slipping and falling on the stairs. Telstra denied liability as the accidents occurred while she was at home and away from the computer.
However, the tribunal ruled the injuries to be work related because Hargreaves was logged into the Telstra system and only moving away temporarily to get the medicine. This was likened to normal work breaks, such as going to the bathroom.
The precise figure has not been reported, but the court ruled that all medical expenses would be covered and that she receive weekly compensation payments in the place of work. She was expected to receive these payments until retirement age – putting the total figure in the multimillion mark.
Rodney James Carr – $1.9 million – Injured on the Job
Rodney sued his employer, Wagga Mini Mix and Pre-Cast Concrete Pty Ltd after he suffered injuries when a bulldozer he was driving hit an obscured metal post.
In court, Justice Harrison described the injury:
“… as he (Mr Carr) reversed, the bulldozer came to an immediate halt and spun to the right, causing him to be thrown off the seat, backwards and downwards in the cabin”.
Crucially, the court heard there was no “spotter” at the work site that day to look out for potential hazards, such as hidden metal poles.
Due to his experiences and constant pain, Rodney has been unable to work since the accident and is unlikely to gain paid employment in the future. As such, a compensation payment was ruled in his favour to cover the rest of his lifetime wages.
Peter Doulis – 1.3 Million – Workplace Stress
Peter Doulis was awarded more than $1.3 million in damages for chronic depression after he was allocated excessively heavy workloads when dealing with a suburban school’s worst-behaved students.
The figure may seem large – but this is because mental injuries are often very complex. Mental injuries tend require compensation and medical support over longer periods, often leading to a higher cost.
Linton Shirreff 1.26 Million – Workplace Injury
In another workplace injury case, an employee called Mr Sherriff was on a ladder inside the lift shaft attempting to fix the elevator as part of his work duties, when he fell and sustained a devastating injury to his right foot.
He suffered restriction of movement in his right foot and has been advised that the foot will need to be amputated eventually. As a result of this traumatic situation and permanence of the injury, Shirreff began suffering severe stress, anxiety and depression. He was subsequently awarded 1.26 million in damages.
Legal Support for Your Compensation
These payouts may seem luxurious, but it’s important to keep in mind the extent of the injuries suffered. A common theme among these cases is the permanent loss caused by the injuries, preventing the victims from enjoying a normal life or being able to work ever again.
You can’t put a price on your health, and no figure is worth losing your livelihood. If you are seriously injured, it’s important to get the cover you need so that you can afford medical bills and proper care.
If you’ve suffered a life-impairing injury that affects your future, Brisbane Injury Lawyers can help you to assess the extent of that injury claim.
For more information, get in contact with one of our personal injury law experts at [email protected] or via phone on (07) 3009 8444.