Injured while driving for work?

“Case Study – Getting compensation where you are injured while driving for work purposes”.

elringtons has been providing specialist legal advice to clients involved in motor vehicle accidents in the ACT & NSW region for over 25 years. Throughout this period we have been successful in securing awards that allowed our clients to recover for past and future loss of income and medical expenses, general damages for pain and suffering and domestic assistance.
elringtons takes on most motor vehicle accidents on a “No Win – No Fee” basis and we pride ourselves in securing successful outcomes for our clients.

An example that is very common is where a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving for work purposes. In our case our client was working in sales at an executive level. At the time of the accident she was going to visit a client in the ACT. On the way to the meeting, at an intersection, the car behind our client did not stop in time at the lights and rear ended our client’s car. As our client was preparing to stop she had her head turned and the effect of the other car hitting her was strongly felt.

The 2 cars were not severely damaged and neither of them had to be towed away or written off. In this situation, our client even managed to drive the car back home on her own. Just by looking at the pictures of the cars, a person would not think that the driver in the first car was seriously injured.
After the adrenaline rush faded a day or so after the accident, our client started to experience pain in the neck, shoulder, shoulder blade and lower back. Whiplash is a common injury in almost all motor vehicle accidents. After attending her GP our client was recommended to commence physiotherapy. Given that her health was only marginally improving, our client decided to contact our firm. She understood that there would be further costs involved in relation to her treatment and her recovery. As the accident happened in the course of her employment, we assisted her in lodging claim for workers compensation as well as a motor vehicle accident claim against the other driver.
As our client was a sales executive, she would spend the majority of her time at her desk or driving to various meetings. Since the accident, she found it a challenge to sit for more than 15 – 30 minutes at a time, therefore driving became almost impossible. She was put on a rehabilitation programme by her employer which recommended that her working hours be considerably decreased. She was also permitted to work from home as she resided outside the ACT. Even with these new arrangements in place, our client found it difficult to perform her tasks. Eventually, the employer terminated her work and we ran a worker’s compensation claim where she was paid a lump sum settlement.

Our client continued treatment and, as the matter was approaching the limitation period for filing proceedings, she instructed us to initiate a motor vehicle accident claim for her damages. Prior to commencement of proceedings, an informal settlement conference with the insurer was held where we secured an award of $310,000.00. Part of this award had to be paid to the workers compensation insurer for paying the lump sum amount she received after her employment contract was terminated. The amount secured by us through the informal settlement conference permitted our client to continue her treatment for as long as she needed and also to take on part time work until she had fully recovered.

It is important to know that sometimes motor vehicle accidents can be classified and processed as workers compensation claims or both. It is also important that sometimes whiplash or soft tissue injuries do not appear to be serious but, as time progresses; the person who was injured in such accidents could experience different levels of pain that would not permit work to be continued.

As motor vehicle accidents claims are quite difficult and the legislation differs from the ACT and NSW, the best approach is to contact a personal injury lawyer who would be able to assist you in lodging and progressing the claim, as well as securing the highest award possible from the insurer.

For more information or to make an appointment contact:
Matthew Bridger

e: mbridger@elringtons.com.au | p: 02 6206 1300