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    Can I settle My Workers’ Compensation Case Without Going to Court in Queensland?

    Can I settle My Workers’ Compensation Case Without Going to Court in Queensland?

    It is a common misconception that making a workers’ compensation injury claim will end in a trial before a Judge in Court. The reality is, very few matters proceed to trial. Our systems and laws are set up to try to keep these matters out of Court allowing the injured party to settle their matter and have access to compensation without the cost and delay of a trial.

    A point comes in every workers’ compensation claim when the procedural matters are taken care of, injuries are stable and the evidence is all gathered. At some point the parties will explore whether there is an opportunity to settle the matter before involving the courts. In fact, the law requires the parties to participate in settlement negotiations before any Court documents can be filed to initiate the Court process (pre court procedures). Very few workers’ compensation claims require Court documents to be filed as they are able to be resolved before this step is taken.

    Who decides whether my Workers’ Compensation claim is settled?

    The decision to settle your claim or not, is yours. That can be incredibly empowering and overwhelming at the same time. While it’s the moment you have waited for and anticipated, it’s not uncommon to have a flood of questions and fears when faced with the reality that this claim could soon be over! Understanding what your options are, what the process involves and what role your lawyer will play at this time will be the key in making the decision that is best for you.

    Every claimant has a choice, to settle the claim or go to trial and let a Judge decide. A settlement is where you and the other party come to an agreement and the terms, and any payments are agreed by both of you. The agreement is final, neither party can change their minds later. This will give you a certain outcome. You know exactly what you have agreed to and when payment is due.

    If you go to trial, you are leaving the outcome to the decision of a Judge. Sometimes a reasonable settlement cannot be reached and going to trial is warranted. Each side will present their evidence before the Judge and the Judge will decide if the other party is at fault or not and how much compensation, if any, you should be awarded. Which Judge hears your case, their decision and how long they take to make a decision is out of your control. The compensation laws are written in a way so that there are procedures in place to encourage people and create an opportunity to settle out of court. This reduces legal costs and keeps the courts from overflowing with these matters. Approximately 98% of claims settle between the parties before a trial is commenced.

    There will come a point in your claim where you are faced with a decision to accept an offer from the insurer or to prepare to go to trial. Keep in mind, the matter may still settle before a trial commences. It is your lawyer’s job to give you advice about what they recommend you do. Ultimately, the decision is yours though, only you can make the actual decision as to what to do. We recommend listening to your lawyer’s advice, asking any questions you may have so that you feel fully informed when you give the lawyer your instructions about whether you want to settle your workers’ compensation claim or not.

     

    Further information on workers’ compensation claims in Queensland

    https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/claims-and-insurance

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    Kathryn MacDonell

    Kathryn MacDonell

    Chief Executive Officer