Common Law Claims

Most claimants start with a Statutory claim, and move on to a Common Law claim, if their employer is at fault. It is particularly important to seek legal advice with respect to a common law claim if you have been left with a permanent impairment. 

Common Law claims must be lodged within three years from the date of the injury, and damages can include payments for pain and suffering, past and future loss of income (including superannuation), treatment and other expenses, and pain and suffering. 

Will I be suing my employer if I proceed with a Common Law Claim? 

Your employer is insured for the cost of these claims by WorkCover Queensland, or some large employers have their own and are self-insured. 

A common law claim for damages is a process that involves preparing and serving a detailed Notice of Claim outlining details of the incident, the injuries sustained, the amount of damages you are seeking and the reason/s you say your employer is negligent. 

Generally, the lump sum offer made in your Notice of Assessment is far less than you are likely to receive in a claim for common law damages. 

Other parties or contributory negligence. 

If negligence by another party/other parties has contributed to your injuries, as in the case of an accident caused by faulty equipment supplied by a third party, they may be required to contribute to your damages claim. 

An example of times when another party may need to contribute to your damages claim:

  • An accident caused by faulty equipment supplied by a third party;
  • Your employer is an employment agency, and you work with a host employer;
  • You are injured during the course of your employment on another person’s/company’s premises.

Common Law Claims

Time Limitations Apply

You have 3 years from the date of accident (3 years from the date on which the cause of action arose) to submit a complying Notice of Claim to WorkCover, otherwise you may lose all rights to claim for damages.


Legal advice is highly recommended before lodging a Common Law Claim in Queensland. If you would like help in doing this, please call the Workers’ Compensation Rights team.