Story sponsored by RMB Lawyers.
Life is full of surprises. Some good. Some bad. However, some can permanently change your life for worse, affecting your ability to work, earn a living, be able bodied or even pursue happiness.
Every year thousands of Australians have their lives turned upside down because of an injury which wasn't their fault.
Many of these people are entitled to compensation but a large portion of them are unaware of their rights. As a result they end up shouldering the burden alone.
That's why RMB Lawyers' Chris Sheppard says it is important to contact a solicitor right away. In fact, he says, the earlier a lawyer is engaged the better your chances are of winning.
"It's often difficult to gather evidence, locate witnesses and lodge claims when significant periods of time have elapsed after the accident," he explained.
"There can also be time limits for compensation claims that you're unaware of. For example, a workers compensation claim needs to be made within six months of the date of injury," he continued.
"A motor vehicle accident claim should ideally be made within one month of the date of the accident... within three months at the latest. And, a three year limitation period applies to medical negligence, injuries in public places and assaults."
When it comes to personal injury compensation, you can file a claim for many types of incidents that cause incapacitation or harm.
This includes workplace accidents, motor vehicle accidents and accidents in public places, such as pubs, clubs and shopping centres (where the owners haven't fulfilled their duty of care).
Other common grounds for compensation include botched medical treatment, exposure to silica dust or asbestos and being a victim of an assault (both violent and sexual).
There is also a growing number of Australians who are being awarded compensation for historic or institutional sexual abuse.
By speaking to a lawyer who specialises in compensation, Mr Sheppard says, you stand the best chance of receiving a fair payment. If you know what you're entitled to, you stand a better chance of getting it.
"It depends on the legislation which applies to the mechanism of injury, but in general you can seek compensation for pain and suffering; loss of earnings; loss of capacity to earn in the future; past and future medical treatment/expenses; and domestic assistance. In some cases, you can even be compensated for home modification," Mr Sheppard explained.
"Most people will also have a Total and Permanent Disablement (TDP) benefit attached to their superannuation account. This is essentially an insurance policy which provides a lump sum payment if the person is injured or becomes ill or for whatever reason is unable to work in employment for which they are suited by way of their education, training or experience," he continued.
"A significant portion of people are unaware of the TPD benefit attached to their superannuation account. This can often be a significant benefit when one is unable to work or work to their full capacity."
Mr Sheppard was quick to point out that there are some common misconceptions around personal injury compensation. A major one, he says, is how a lawyer is legally allowed to bill you.
"One of the biggest misconceptions is that the lawyer will charge a percentage of the damages recovered but it is illegal in NSW to do so," he explained.
"We only charge fair and reasonable fees for the work required to successfully pursue the matter. Our fee agreement is always in writing and an estimate of fees is provided from the outset."
RMB Lawyers provide their services to personal injury plaintiffs on a "no win, no fee basis". This means that if the claim isn't settled or if their client isn't awarded compensation, they don't have to pay their lawyers.
"This is significant, particularly given the injured person is either unlikely to be working or unable to work to their full capacity," Mr Sheppard said.
"They may also be receiving weekly benefits which are less than they would otherwise earn. (Engaging a lawyer on a no win, no fee basis) assists in the relief of the financial burden and hardship during this period, when they are attempting to rehabilitate and get back on their feet."
RMB Lawyers cover the expenses associated with the case - such as filing fees, medical reports, expert reports, etc - and can file a claim on your behalf with the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO), who provide grants to help cover your legal fees in workers compensation matters. That way you don't have to worry about out of pockets while the case is underway.
If you've been injured or would like more information visit: https://www.rmblawyers.com.au/
Story sponsored by RMB Lawyers.