Each legal jurisdiction in Australia (Commonwealth, State and territory) has a statutory insurance scheme that indemnifies employers for work-related injuries incurred by their employees.
The scheme provides compensation to employees whose claims are accepted in three areas:
This legislation usually restricts the right of injured workers to bring common law claims to recover damages for their injury. Absent these legislative restrictions, these common law claims might allow an employee to seek damages from a court for the employees’ breach of duty arising contract (ie the employer’s contractual duty to ensure the safety of employees) or tort (failure to take reasonable care to ensure worker safety, or negligence).
The right to bring a common law action is usually confined to a serious injury. The test for what is a serious injury is significantly high and usually requires validation by an independent medical panel.
Under workers compensation statutes in Australia it is an offence to dismiss an employee because she/he has taken steps to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.