A worker has failed in his claim for $426,000 from his employer after injuring his back whilst performing first aid.
The worker, a trained and nominated company first-aider, went to assist a woman who fell over on a nearby staircase. He injured his back when the woman grabbed his arm and pulled herself up.
As we all know workers compensation is a no fault system and the worker was entitled and received all necessary medical treatment, including back surgery and support for recuperation.
This case is about a claim for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, as a result of ongoing disability and discomfort. To succeed in such claims workers need to demonstrate negligence of another party (who has the money to pay), usually their employer.
The first-aider alleged the employer was liable as they should have instructed him not to lift an injured person “under any circumstances”, but the court found the first-aid training included this instruction.
The first-aider further alleged the employer was vicariously liable for the actions of fellow employees e.g. the injured woman who pulled herself up on him. However the court found there was no evidence the woman was an employee, and therefore the employer was not liable.
This case highlights the sometimes illogical way in which work injuries are compensated or not, simply by way of luck or bad luck of who was involved.