Personal injury law in Western Australia is an area of legal practice which includes the following types of law:
- Negligence; and
- Compensation claims made under contract law and statutory schemes.
Negligence in Western Australia is governed by the Civil Liability Act 2002. The Civil Liability Act 2002 places restrictions on the amount of monetary compensation (in the form of damages) you can claim.
The types of situations which give rise to a personal injury claim can include the following:
- Injuries, including catastrophic or fatal injuries caused by motor vehicles;
- Harm suffered as a result of being a victim of crime;
- Injuries sustained in the workplace;
- Accidents on someone else’s property which has caused injury; and
- Harm caused by faulty goods or products.
This page provides information only about the operation of the law of negligence and personal injuries in Western Australia. If you believe that you have a claim, it is important to seek independent legal advice.
The laws in Western Australia restrict what statements we can make about our experience and client satisfaction in the area of personal injuries on our website. If you would like to know more about this, please contact us through our Legal Hotline on 1300 636 846 for a no obligation, confidential discussion with a lawyer 7am to midnight, seven days per week.
In Western Australia, the Limitation Act 2005 applies to restrict the time you have to make a personal injury claim for compensation. The rules under the Limitation Act 2005 are complex and deadlines are only extendable in very limited circumstances.
Motor vehicle accidents
Compensation claims for injuries suffered as a result of a motor vehicle accident are claimable under both the laws of negligence in Western Australia as well as the compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme under the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 and Motor Vehicle (Catastrophic Injuries) Act 2016.
Regardless of whether a claim is made under negligence laws or the CTP scheme, you must be able to demonstrate that the driver or another person involved was at fault. The only exception to this is if you are deemed to be ‘catastrophically injured’ which requires assessment in line with the guidelines set by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia. Catastrophic injuries can include the following:
- Brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Multiple amputations;
- Permanent traumatic blindness; and
- Severe burns.
A CTP claim can be made if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident even if you were a passenger, pedestrian or cyclist.
Victims of crime
People who have suffered injury as a result of being a victim of criminal activity can obtain compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003. You may also be able to bring a negligence claim under the Civil Liability Act 2002 against the offender directly.
Under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003, a claim for compensation can still be made even if a conviction has not been made against the alleged perpetrator. Compensation is dependent on the co-operation provided to police by the victim. Compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 is awarded for the following:
- Medical expenses, including the costs of obtaining medical reports;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of income; and
- Incidental expenses including travel and the loss of clothing.
Claims for compensation over injuries suffered at work are made in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. To be eligible, you must meet the definition of worker under section 5 of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, which includes:
- Full time, part-time, casual and seasonable workers on a wage or commission;
- Piece workers; and
- Workers on commission.
In some circumstances contractors and sub-contractors are also classified as workers under the workers’ compensation legislation.
Injuries suffered on someone else’s property
If an injury was suffered as a result of a property owner or occupier not exercising a reasonable duty of care, a claim against the owner or occupier can be made. This is in accordance with both the Occupier’s Liability Act 1985 and the Civil Liability Act 2002.
For a personal injury claim to be successful against a property occupier or owner, you must be able to demonstrate that they were at fault by not taking reasonable care to ensure the safety of their premises. That fault must have been the cause of the injury.
Occupier’s liability is also known as public liability. It is a highly complex area of law, and for this reason it is important to seek independent legal advice if you believe you have a claim.