Scooter Injury At Home Leads To Workcover Claim
A 41 year old man who broke his elbow when he fell off a scooter while playing at home with his son has been awarded workers compensation for the injury. This recent case in the SA Employment Tribunal looks at the question of how and when an injury that doesn’t happen at work can still be regarded as a work injury.
It’s probably no surprise that according to the Return to Work Act, to be entitled to workers compensation for an injury it must ‘arise from employment.’ So how could this injury at home meet that test? Can an injury at home still be a work injury?
The Original Workers Compensation Claim
The man was originally injured at work in 2009 while lifting a heavy air pump when he felt a twinge and sharp pain in his lower back. He had some time off of work but returned to unrestricted duties. Later he aggravated his back injury at work and made a further claim for compensation which was accepted. After then he continued on light duties until he was made redundant in 2011. Following this he obtained work as a part-time computer technician, initially working 15 hours a week but increasing that to 20 hours per week.
Ever since the original injury in 2009 the man had experienced muscle spasms in his lower back. These would range from minor spasms to severe ones that would immobilise him for hours or days. On the advice of a neurosurgeon he underwent a lumbar spine fusion in mid-2016 after which he was off of work for three months. This was successful in preventing the severe spasms but he continued to have minor back spasms two or three times a week following the surgery.
The fracture to his elbow occurred in January 2017 when he was at home playing in the backyard with his son. They were both riding scooters on an area of concrete when he experienced a minor low back spasm which caused him to lose balance and fall off of the scooter onto the concrete. He landed on his outstretched right arm and sustained a fractured radial head.
The workers compensation insurer rejected the man’s claim on the basis that it was not a work injury. They argued that the man was injured while involved in a purely recreational activity which had nothing to do with his employment.
When Can Workers Compensation Be Claimed?
To be compensated for a physical injury under the workers compensation scheme the injury must ‘arise from employment’. The Return to Work Act says that an injury arises out of employment if it ‘arises out of or in the course of employment and the employment was a significant contributing cause of the injury.’
It was necessary then for the man to provide that his right elbow injury arose out of or in the course of his employment, and that his employment was a significant contributing cause of the elbow injury.
In a situation where there has been an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation, deterioration or recurrence of a prior physical injury, then employment must be a significant contributing cause of that occurring.
Even though the elbow injury did not occur in the course of the man’s employment, the injury still arose out of that employment as there was a strong causal connection between the employment and the injury. As a consequence of the 2009 work injury to his lower back the man experienced lower back spasms. A lower back muscle spasm happened while he was riding the scooter and caused him to lose balance and fall. For the same reasons it was also held that the employment was a significant contributing cause of the right elbow fracture.
The man was therefore entitled to compensation for lost earnings along with medical expenses and potentially a lump sum payment for permanent disability if his injury resulted in a whole person impairment of 5% or more.
This case shows how a injury that happens at work can have lasting effects and why it is important to always consider whether there is a connection between that earlier injury and any subsequent event. Anyone who suffers an aggravation or deterioration of a prior work injury should obtain advice from an expert workers compensation lawyer, especially if as in this case there is a further injury as a result. Websters Lawyers offer a free initial interviewwith a specialist in workers compensation law. To arrange to discuss your case call 8231 1363 or send through a request for a call on our contact page.
FREE FIRST INTERVIEW
NO WIN NO FEE
LOCAL LAWYERS FOR LOCAL NEEDS
GET THE RIGHT LAWYER FIRST
Having such a short time frame I was very impressed with the outcome made by [my solicitor]. Excellent and timely manner
Very professional mannerism and overall great outcome was delivered by Websters Lawyers.
West Ryde NSW
Helpful, explained fully, patient, excellent service.
Patient and helpful in explaining the process.
Call Websters Lawyers for a most professional and friendly service. All understanding with [my solicitors] and the reception staff. Thank you so much.
Making my will was effortless on my part, with everything explained clearly. Well done to all.
Great service, professional, explains things clearly, definitely recommend Websters Lawyers.
Patient, professional, good communication about procedures and probable outcomes.
Thank you for all your work over the course of the case. You [both] were always very approachable and I appreciated your understanding and professionalism in all areas.
All in all my experience was great. Thank you for your time and expertise.
My matter was dealt with efficiently and was explained in an understandable language. A pleasant experience.
Practical and very helpful. Reasons and explanations given where needed
I stumbled across Websters in the Yellow Pages and I rang, explained my situation and immediately they took my case on. Greatly appreciate their services.
The service from Websters Lawyers was outstanding. [My solicitor] was caring, had patience and was very professional. Wonderful personality.
[My solicitor] made everything so simple to understand. [The receptionist] was wicked too, would recommend them anytime. Level of entire service was outstanding.
I had dealings with Websters over 20 years ago. They were my first choice when I recently needed legal advice. Both legal and office staff were professional, courteous and accessible at all times. Everything was explained up front in a clear and concise manner. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.
It has truly been a pleasure communicating with you throughout the process. I really appreciate your patient and speedy replies to my questions and requests. You were always able to provide an easily understood response and this helped me deal with the process. Your friendly and positive manner encouraged me to seek your advice.
Battery Hill QLD
[My lawyer's] service was prompt and efficient with all questions explained clearly with all our requests carried out within the laws. Overall service was very satisfactory.
[My lawyer] was excellent.
Excellent service. Professional. Clear advice and instructions. Prompt actions. Overall 10/10!
Overall, I was happy with my outcome and my lawyer, would definitely recommend [my lawyer].
[My solicitor] was excellent at helping us through preparing our wills which were particularly challenging as they involved assets in multiple countries. She was professional and knowledgeable and spent time tailoring the wills to our needs.
[My solicitor] was very helpful, respectful and polite. She made sure I understood the process and documentation of our wills.
Professional. Smooth Transaction.
I found the whole experience from Receptionist to Solicitor excellent. They completely put us at our ease.
This was a new experience for us and didn’t have a clue what to do. [Our solicitor] on our first visit put us at ease, explained what will happen, pointed out there was a strong case. [Our solicitor] was genuine in her approach, kept us well informed, explained actions several times with patience and understanding. Overall very happy with the service we received.
[My lawyer] was very reassuring in her approach to my case. I felt that every possibility in terms of evidence to provide and possible outcomes were explained to me, The result of the case was the best possible outcome I could have expected.
With no previous dealing with the criminal justice system, [our solicitor] gave us excellent advice and guided us through a nightmare to achieve a just and correct outcome. [Our lawyer] was both forthright and compassionate in her handling of our case.
[My lawyer] explained all the legal terms in language I could understand – she was very easy to talk to.
Cameron, Munno Para
I felt confident knowing my matter was in good hands. Very professional!
Shravan, Christie Downs
Initial phone call was fantastic and the role of an executor was fully explained.
Penny, Henley Beach
The service I received was efficient and promptly finalised. The solicitor clearly explained the details and I was happy with how easy it was.
Dale, Fairview Park
[My lawyer] was exactly the lawyer I needed in a serious matter. The outcome was as predicted which was a fantastic result. I received prompt professional and personal service at all times. Capable and supportive in a very stressful period.
Jason, Munno Para West
I had any of my concerns answered to my satisfaction and understanding.
Valda, Ingle Farm
[My lawyer] is an excellent professional lawyer who assisted in achieving a great positive outcome/result. I sincerely thank you and your great staff for your assistance and guidance throughout my claim. Would highly recommend [my lawyer], staff and Websters Lawyers. Kept fully informed and guided, professionally throughout the matter.
Our work was dealt with very efficiently and speedily. Our lawyer was very professional, at the same time as being approachable. Communication was great.
My experience with Websters Lawyers was far beyond what I expected. From the moment I spoke to [my lawyer] she made me feel very comfortable and eased my stress. In my case I had a court appearance the day before we were scheduled to fly to Spain, Considering my first appointment with her was only 2 weeks before the court hearing, she was able to obtain the police statement and thoroughly work on my case within that limited time frame. She was very knowledgeable, understanding and confident which greatly relieved so much pressure from me and my family. At court, she explained everything thoroughly and advised me of all the possible outcomes. Price, service and result, very highly recommended. Thank you Websters Lawyers.
Rafael, Davoren Park
I have high expectations and they were met. Websters service was swift, courteous, professional and met the agreed budget. I will recommend Websters to my family, friends and colleagues. Thank you.
I would recommend Websters Lawyers, especially for [my lawyer's] dedication and exemplary attitude and advice. She is the epitome of a good lawyer. The service was impeccable.
Pamela, West Lakes
[My lawyer] was very professional and I was made comfortable to understand.
I was very pleased with the end result and how well [my lawyer] conducted herself.
Jesse, Morphett Vale
[My lawyer] has been very prompt , reliable and provided a high level of communication.
My experience at Websters was very positive. The stress was taken from me and I could not be happier with the outcome. [My lawyer] at Websters was professional, personable, available and caring. Thank you for making the experience stress free.
Magda, Holden Hill
Found my lawyer upfront and reliable – I would highly recommend Websters Lawyers.
Lee, Evanston Park
Top bunch of solicitors and admin staff. Very friendly and to the point service.
Bradley, Hallett Cove
Websters Lawyers were very professional in their service, I would be happy to recommend them.
Carole, Tea Tree Gully
We would not hesitate in recommending Websters for any legal matter. They are professional and courteous at all times and call back when they say they will.
David and Dianne, Lockleys
I fully recommend Websters Lawyers. This was the 3rd time myself & my family have used Websters Lawyers. In these stressful times we have found them to answer and guide us through the process needed to accomplish the legal requirements in a timely and courteous manner.
Solid, to the point, no hustle. Highly recommend.
George, Windsor Gardens