Labour hire companies are emerging as a dominant force in the Australian labour market, with many businesses displacing their directly employed and permanent staff with hire-in personnel.
Businesses benefit from the reduced risk and responsibility to offer continued work for employees. However, many labour hire workers are left wondering what their rights are, particularly if they sustain a work-related injury. The good news is that labour hire workers still have rights in these circumstances and are just as entitled to compensation as other workers.
What Can Labour Hire Workers Claim?
If you are injured during the course of your employment with a labour hire firm, you may be able to make a claim both against your employer (the labour hire firm) and the host employer (the person or company who you were hired out to). This can include weekly benefits, medical treatment and lump sums for permanent impairment.
The first, more common pathway for making a claim is workers’ compensation. These are statutory claims, meaning they are awarded regardless of who was at fault. Every workplace in Queensland has to be insured to protect employees in the event of an accident. The insurer, which in most cases is WorkCover Queensland, pays the medical costs and wages of the injured employee.
Making a Common Law Claim
Workers’ compensation acts as a safety net for employees involved in work-related accidents so they don’t have to stress about medical costs and wage loss. However, if the worker wants to make a claim for damages, they need to make a common law claim.
This involves claiming for all the loss or damages you have sustained as a result of your work injury. The main distinction from the “no fault system” of workers’ compensation is the necessity to prove that another person was wholly or partially responsible for your injury. This means you need to prove that the employer’s, host employer’s or a co-worker’s negligence caused your injury.
Who is Responsible?
Lodging a work-related injury claim can be a complex process, especially when it comes to determining who is responsible in a common law claim in a labour hire scenario. In many cases, the injured worker must be able to prove that the host employer owed them a duty of care then demonstrate that the host employer was negligent.
Determining negligence involves obtaining an expert opinion about whether the circumstances that caused the injury presented a clear risk and whether that risk could and should have been mitigated.
Seek Legal Advice
If you are a labour hire worker, it’s essential that you seek advice from experienced compensation lawyers immediately to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Claims are subject to strict time limits and can involve a lengthy process of investigation, negotiation, settlement or potential litigation.
For expert advice and assistance with work-related injury claims in Queensland, get in touch with the team at Brisbane Injury Lawyers by calling (07) 3171 9313 or contact us online.