Legislation covers most deaths, illnesses, injuries and diseases caused by work, and these are under the authority of WorkSafe. Some common law negligence claims still go to court. Under workers compensation schemes, employers pay fees and injured employees receive compensation benefits and medical expenses. Commonwealth employees have a similar system.

Unless otherwise indicated, this chapter refers to work injuries sustained on or after 1 July 2014. All legislative references are to the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic) ('WIRC Act') unless otherwise indicated.


Brian Wright

Reserve Magistrate

Seek legal advice about work injuries

Last updated

1 July 2022

It is important that legal advice be sought if a worker believes they may have a claim for damages for an injury. (See Chapter 2.4: Legal services that can help.)

The legislation covering this area is very technical and rigorous as to time requirements. Generally, court proceedings should be issued within six years of the date of injury, or after that time if a court allows. Also, the legislation has been, and will continue to be, subject to interpretation by the courts from time to time.

If damages are obtained but they are less than the above minimum amounts for injuries, then each side must bear its own costs. There are also other provisions covering such matters as the amount of costs that can be awarded and the right of a solicitor to charge their own clients costs as well.

Generally, once the proceedings for damages are finalised, a worker will not be able to make any further claims save for medical and like expenses (see ‘Medical and like expenses’ in ‘Work injuries‘).

Pecuniary or monetary loss damages will not include any claim for medical and like expenses.

When assessing damages, benefits received to date, by way of either weekly payments or other benefits, will be taken into account.

There are limitations on the amount of legal costs paid on successful serious injury applications.

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Accidents, insurance and compensation