WorkCover has stated that all volunteers registered with a Queensland Government rescue relief operation will receive statutory benefits if they are injured (and their claim is accepted) whilst assisting the clean-up efforts following the devastation of cyclone Debbie. This position will run for an initial period of 3 months.
Additionally, anyone volunteering through a third party operating on behalf of the government will also be covered by WorkCover.
However, WorkCover will only pay statutory benefits and a common law claim for damages cannot be instigated against WorkCover. A damages claim is most often a higher award of compensation then any statutory benefits that might be received.
Given that, potentially an injured person may nonetheless be able to bring a public liability claim which is different to a claim against WorkCover.
- Can I make a Public Liability Claim?
If you have been injured as a result of another person’s or entity’s negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. Generally, the insurer of the person or entity at fault will compensate you.
- What Injuries are covered?
All physical (including fatal) and psychological injuries as a result of the incident are covered. An injury also includes any aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
- Time Limits!
Strict time limits apply in respect of claiming compensation and suing for common law damages.
A part 1 Notice of Claim Form must be lodged within 9 months from the date of the incident or within one month after consulting a lawyer – whichever is sooner. These time limits may be varied in limited circumstances.
Proceedings for common law damages must be commenced in Court within 3 years from the date of the incident.
So if you are a mud army volunteer and have any queries about an injury you have sustained, please do not hesitate to contact McColm Matsinger Lawyers for an informal chat (no obligation). We can talk with you about making a WorkCover claim and potentially making a public liability claim.