If you have suffered an injury caused by the negligent acts of a third party then you’ll likely be pursuing a compensation claim. This can help with the economic loss you may have as your injury may be affecting your work performance or employability.
Therefore we suggest you follow these 10 RULES below. These will help to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your claim:
RULE 1 - We can help you if things get tough
Injuries can impact on your life in many ways and dealing with these issues before your claim is finalised can be a challenge.
For example, you may have financial commitments that you simply can’t avoid, leading you to look upon a reduction in work hours, or a cessation of employment as too drastic a step to be considered even though your health would benefit from the change.
If you are struggling to deal with the impact of your injuries, you should always let us know so we can look for ways to help.
RULE 2 - Regularly visit your General Practitioner to report problems due to your injuries
Visiting your General Practitioner regularly and informing them fully and accurately about the impact your injuries are having on your physical or mental well-being, or your ability to work or to enjoy your usual daily routine is really important.
NOTE: You should always let your doctor know:
If you have taken pain relief before your visit;
If you are suffering from chronic pain or are not coping with a job that you find difficult because it causes you pain; or
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety or other similar condition as a result of your injuries.
For example, you might be unable to undertake domestic chores such as gardening or vehicle maintenance anymore, or you might have lost the ability to participate in your usual recreational activities, or you might be having trouble sleeping.
This information is all extremely relevant to your claim so it is essential that you take the trouble to disclose it to your doctor.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Never tell your doctor that you are only consulting with them because your solicitor told you to do so. Firstly that statement wouldn’t be true as any medical consultation you have is solely because you have been injured. Secondly your doctor may record that statement as evidence that your injuries aren’t as bad as you have said even if the statement was made in jest.
RULE 3 - Take sick leave (if needed)
You should neither exaggerate your injuries nor downplay them. If your injuries flare up or you find that your work is aggravating your injuries, then take sick leave. Don’t be stoic and just keep working through the pain.
You not only risk making your injury worse but you also risk allegations that your injury may not be as debilitating as you say it is. Take holiday leave or unpaid leave if necessary – and keep a record of the time off that you have to take because of your injuries.
RULE 4 - Report any problems you are having at work to supervisors and/or co-workers
Advise your supervisor at work of the problems you are having, or at the very least, if you are not willing to do this, advise your co-workers of the difficulties you experience and seek assistance with those duties you are having difficulty with.
This way we can obtain statements from your supervisors or your co-workers, or both, confirming the restrictions you experienced in your work.
RULE 5 - Reduce your work hours (if needed)
If you have difficulty undertaking full work hours and you feel that working fewer hours may assist your recovery, then arrange to reduce your work hours and see how your injury responds.
The law does not require you to work in pain. If you start to suffer pain during your usual work shift, then you should see your doctor and ask whether he or she thinks that reduced hours might be beneficial to you.
If they agree they will give you a medical certificate advising your employer that you need to reduce your work hours to enable you to deal with your health issues.
NOTE: It is too late to do this after your claim is finished – you need to do it before your claim ends.
RULE 6 - Seek alternate work more suited to your injuries (if needed)
If your doctor recommends that you cease work altogether or that you should find alternate work more suited to someone with your injuries, then you must do this before your claim finalises.
NOTE: as with Rule 5, it is too late to do this after your claim is finished.
RULE 7 - If you resign due to your injuries, ensure your resignation letter states this
If you have to give up your employment because you can no longer do the work due to your injuries, make sure you tell your employer in writing that this is the reason for your resignation.
RULE 8 - Report any termination of your employment
If you are terminated from your employment after your injury and you believe your termination was as a result the impact your injuries were having on your work performance, then you should take the trouble to go and see your General Practitioner and tell them what has happened so your belief is recorded on your records.
NOTE: it is vital that you keep us informed of any change in your employment whether it is due to a termination or a rescoping of your duties by your employer as this is a key element in your economic loss claim.
RULE 9 - Provide us with details of witnesses to your income loss
Good witnesses are a vital element of any successful claim. Make sure you collect and keep a record of the contact details of your work mates so we can obtain statements from them.
NOTE: Memories fade with time and people can change employment, so the sooner we can get this information from you the more likely it is that we will be able to successfully obtain favourable statements from them.
RULE 10 - If self-employed, keep records of income lost and expenses incurred
If you are self-employed and are struggling to undertake your work due to your injuries, then you can employ someone to help you. When doing so, ensure that you keep records of the extra wages incurred and the nature of the assistance provided.
If you cannot afford to employ someone or just cannot find the right person for the job so that you have to turn down work, then you should keep records of the work you have to turn away and the income lost as a result.
It is also important that you keep a record of any future income opportunities in your business that you believe you have lost because of your injuries i.e. loss of other projects because of turning away a regular client or contractor, or simply because you are just unable to undertake certain types of work due to your injuries.