If you have been injured at work, you will normally be entitled to Workcover, which pays most of your salary and your medical expenses. If your employer is at fault for the incident which caused your injuries, you may bring a claim against your employer for damages.

If you have been injured outside of work and another person caused your injuries, you may bring a claim against them. In the case of motor vehicle accidents, your claim is effectively against the compulsory third party insurer of the at fault driver (or, if the at fault vehicle was uninsured or unidentified, the Nominal Defendant). In other incidents, it is often a public liability insurer.

Strict timeframes apply to Queensland personal injury claims, so if you wish to make a claim you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.


Liability refers to who is considered to be legally at fault for the accident or incident which caused the injuries. It is decided according to the facts of the case, legislative provisions, precedents and what a reasonable person in the defendant’s shoes would have done.

In a negligence action, a court can make any of the following decisions on liability:

  1. The court finds the defendant is liable (damages are therefore awarded). See for instance Kerle v. BM Alliance Coal Operations Pty Limited & Ors [2016] QSC 304 (16 December 2016) or  Heywood v Commercial Electrical Pty Ltd [2013] QCA 270.

  2. The court finds the defendant is not liable (the claim is dismissed). See for instance Robinson v Lorna Jane Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 266.

  3. The court finds the defendant is liable but that the Claimant was also at fault, and an apportionment is made in accordance with the extent of each party’s negligence (in effect, damages awarded being reduced by the extent to which the Claimant is determined to have contributed to his or her own loss). See for instance the unreported case of Boyd v Trindall & Ors 2022 QDC, where the plaintiff had a judgment in his favour, but had a 10% reduction for contributory negligence.

If your claim proceeds to trial and the issue of liability is wholly decided against you, the court will not award any damages.


Quantum refers to how much your claim is worth, assuming that liability is determined in your favour. The quantum of a claim depends on a number of factors, including the following:

1. the symptoms, disabilities and prognosis of the injury(ies)

2. What medical treatment has been given or may later be required

3. the Claimant’s age

4. the Claimant’s work and earnings history

5. the extent to which the injury(ies) affect the Claimant’s employability

6. the extent to which the Claimant required gratuitous (unpaid) care following the incident

7. whether the Claimant has any injuries or conditions that were not caused by the incident the subject of the claim but which may also affect their employability.

It is impossible to precisely predict what a court will award if the matter proceeds to trial. Another unofficial factor affecting quantum if the matter proceeds to trial is which judge assesses quantum. It is well known that some judges assess quantum generously, whilst others take a more conservative approach.

Unfortunately, Queensland legislation prohibits us from advertising the results we have obtained or can obtain for you in personal injury cases. In our view this is an unacceptable restriction on free speech which should be repealed. However, once you book an appointment we can fully discuss your potential claim and answer any questions you may have.


Sterling Law can be contacted by phone on 07 3667 8213, or by email:

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