Compo Can Still Apply to Journey Claims
Despite law changes aimed at preventing Workers Compensation claims for injuries suffered during journeys to and from work, there are still situations where such claims can be made.
Up until 2012, workers who were injured travelling to or from work were entitled to claim Workers Compensation benefits.
Drastic changes to the Workers Compensation laws in 2012 were thought to have all but removed the right to compensation in such claims.
However, while so-called “journey claims” are commonly thought to have been completely abolished by the 2012 changes, they may still be made in certain circumstances. Most often this will be in situations where there is “a real and substantial connection” between the journey and the worker’s employment.
For example, workers such as couriers or delivery drivers can make claims for injuries sustained during the course of work journeys.
The Workers Compensation Commission considered “journey claims” in a 2018 case, which showed that the definition of a “journey claim” may well be broader than first thought.
In that case, an employee tripped and fell on her way to a work Christmas party. She suffered nasty injuries requiring surgery which resulted in further complications. The insurer denied liability for her workers compensation claim.
The worker gave evidence that one of the reasons she fell was that she was tired after a long and busy day at work and was hurrying to get to the Christmas party on time.
The decision of the Arbitrator in favour of the worker was unsuccessfully appealed by the Workers Compensation Insurer. The President considered the legal principles and concluded that the test of a “real and substantial connection” requires only “an association or relationship” between the employment and the journey. The “employment does not have to be the only or even the main cause”.
The case is important because it suggests that workers may still be entitled to claim workers compensation in respect of “journey claims” if their employment had some impact on their behaviour or ability in the circumstances leading to the accident.
So, as an example, a shift worker falling asleep on the drive home from work may well be entitled to workers compensation benefits.
It is important for injured workers to obtain expert legal advice as to whether the particular circumstances of their “journey claim” may entitle them to receive benefits under the workers compensation scheme.