Workers Compensation – Firefighter sustains injuries from work

The facts:

Our client, a firefighter, sustained serious injuries to his neck and back during the course of his employment.

At the time of the injury, our client was attending to a carport fire when he was instructed by his supervisor to maneuver a very heavy and long solid metal bar as a lever. At the time, our client was wearing heavy breathing apparatus, and although hydraulic lifting equipment was available to perform the task, our client’s supervisor did not instruct that this equipment to be deployed.  Subsequently, our client heard a ‘pop’ whilst using the metal bar and developed excruciating pain throughout his entire neck, back and legs.

The Injuries:

As a result of his injuries, our client was forced to undergo major surgery.  By all accounts, the surgery did not greatly improve his symptoms, and he continues to rely on a walking stick and scooter in order to mobilize.  He has been unable to return to any form of employment as a result of his injuries.

Our strategy:

In order to bring a claim against his employer for negligence, Monaco Solicitors first had to establish this client’s injuries exceeded the restrictive threshold imposed in New South Wales for bringing a Work Injury Damages claim.  After obtaining an expert medical opinion from one of NSW’s premier medical specialists in workers compensation law, the matter proceeded through the Workers Compensation Commission where we successfully established that our client greatly exceeded the threshold for bringing the claim.  As a result of this determination, our client received substantial compensation for his injuries and pain and suffering.

Next, in order to establish that our client’s employer had been negligent in causing his injuries, expert opinion was then sought from a Safety Management and Ergonomics expert.  This opinion was able to successfully establish that our client’s employer had been negligent in numerous areas, including by failing to provide appropriate equipment to our client and in ordering him to perform duties that were extremely dangerous in the circumstances.  Our expert was also able to identify numerous breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000.

The result:

Armed with the above, our client was then able to swiftly reach a negotiated agreement with the respondent at mediation.  His matter was successfully resolved for a settlement figure of $575,000.00 including costs.

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