News & Legal Updates

Legal Update

Retail employee wins compensation for carpark injury

Tea Tree Gully retail employee Mr. Barr suffered a fall in his workplace car park, resulting in a broken leg. He made a workplace injury claim but was rejected by Return to Work SA on the basis that he was not ‘at his place of employment’ when he was injured.
After seeking legal advice from Mahony’s Lawyers, it was identified that Mr. Barr was directed by his employer to enter his workplace from the Tea Tree Gully shopping centre carpark each day, and so Mahony’s Lawyers appealed the decision and argued that the place of employment included the car park. It was argued that once Mr. Barr arrived in the staff carpark his workday had commenced and that this satisfied the criteria to make a claim.
After four days of argument, Mahony’s Lawyers were successful in appealing the decision and recovering compensation for Mr. Barr. The Mahony’s team secured weekly payments as compensation and received further entitlements under the Return to Work Act 2014.
Even if an insurance company says that you’re not entitled to a claim, it’s important to check with your lawyer to make sure that you receive compensation if you are entitled to it. We offer a free first consultation for services of this nature and we specialise in supporting clients with workplace injuries; get in touch to discuss your case needs.

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Legal Update

Contractor wins workers compensation despite not being an employee

In November 2017, contract roofer Mr. Truman fell off scaffolding from three stories high and broke his arm, leg and finger. He was off work for a considerable period of time, without income protection insurance, and was losing money fast. He sought legal advice from Mahony’s Lawyers and lodged a claim for workers compensation. Unfortunately, Return to Work SA (RTWSA) rejected his claim on the basis that he was not employed by the roofing company, he was a contractor, and therefore could not seek compensation under the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA).
Had Mr. Truman done nothing in response, he would have been without money and suffered further hardship. Thankfully, Mahony’s Lawyers provided advice and appealed RTWSA’s decision on the basis that even though he was not an employee, he was able to bring a claim as a “deemed worker” on the basis that there is an extended definition under the Return to Work Act (2014) SA.
After a two-day hearing, Mahony’s Lawyers were successful in having the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) accept that Mr. Truman was entitled to compensation. Mr. Truman received his compensation and has since recovered from his injuries. He continues to work as a roofing contractor.
It is extremely important that you consider your legal rights as soon as you get injured. Insurance companies do not always have your best interests at heart. It is important that you seek thorough advice and we are happy to assist you, offering no win: no fee.

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Legal Update

Injured worker wins compensation for loss of teeth and dentures

Furniture retail employee Ms. Figallo was struck on the jawbone by a table she was carrying as she moved through a showroom door one day at work, causing significant injury to her jaw including loss of teeth. She lodged a claim for workplace injury, and this was accepted by Return to Work SA (RTWSA).
However, as a result of her injuries Ms. Figallo required dentures to her lower jaw and these dentures continued to cause her difficulty when she spoke or chewed, causing her discomfort and embarrassment. Ms. Figallo was assessed for her remaining impairment but RTWSA rejected the claim for compensation, despite the clearly sustained permanent impairment that she suffered due to an injury at work. Upset at the lack of support received, Ms. Figallo sought assistance from Mahony’s Lawyers about obtaining a lump sum for permanent impairment. Mahony’s Lawyers lodged an appeal in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) and argued that the decision RTWSA made was wrong and that Ms. Figallo was entitled to compensation for permanent injury to her teeth.
Mahony’s Lawyers argued that if an injured worker loses teeth and requires dentures, when someone assesses the damage of the injury, they must include any damage from the dentures within this assessment.
Mahony’s Lawyers argument was accepted by SAET and Ms Figallo was awarded compensation for her ongoing injuries. If Ms Figallo did not seek expert legal advice on her entitlements, she would not have been granted compensation.
Competent legal advice can be vital to the success of your claim, and if you should have a similar experience to Ms. Figallo, it is recommended that you seek swift legal advice.

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Legal Update

Café worker paid less than minimum wage wins supreme court case

After café worker Ms. Robinson sustained a workplace injury in 2014, she lodged a successful claim with Return to Work SA (RTWSA) for weekly income payments. However, RTWSA used another unrelated workplace injury settled out of Court in 1998 against Ms. Robinson as a reason to reduce her entitled payments.
This was despite the 1998 injury occurring 16 years prior to the 2014 injury and having no relevance to the case. Feeling that this was unfair, Ms. Robinson sought advice from Mahony’s Lawyers. Mahony’s Lawyers found that RTWSA was paying Ms. Robinson a weekly income payment below the Federal Minimum Wage, which was against the law. Mahony’s Lawyers launched into action and argued against RTWSA’s decision in the South Australian Employment Tribunal.
Due to the fact that this argument had never been raised before in the State of South Australia, the full bench of the Tribunal heard Ms. Robinson’s case. Mahony’s Lawyers successfully convinced the full bench that it was unfair to prevent Ms. Robinson from obtaining more weekly income simply because of an unrelated injury many years before. RTWSA were displeased with this outcome and appealed this decision to the full bench of the State’s highest Court, the South Australian Supreme Court.
Due to the significance of this case, the Government of South Australia intervened and the Supreme Court sought the assistance of senior Queen’s Counsel to assist them with the ruling. Eventually, the Supreme Court found that RTWSA were incorrect in the manner that they determined Ms. Robinson’s entitlement and that she was actually entitled to compensation.
If Ms. Robinson had not sought advice from expert solicitors, she would still have been living below the minimum wage. Mahony’s Lawyers assisted Ms. Robinson with no out of pocket expense to her. If Mahony’s Lawyers had not done so, Ms Robinson would not have been able to afford legal representation.

It is extremely important to seek advice on every decision from RTWSA and query your solicitor about the fairness of any decision. If you have experienced something similar, Mahony’s Lawyers will fight for your rights. Get in touch to schedule an obligation-free meeting with our expert team.

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