Scots College Order to Pay Almost $500,000 in Compensation Over Student Death

Nathan Chaina with his father.

Nathan Chaina with his father.

The family of Sydney teenager, Nathan Chaina, have been awarded $492,373 in damages following his death at a school camp, but it’s only a fraction of the $100 million in compensation they originally claimed.

The Scots College student fell into a flooded river at Kangaroo Valley on October 23, 1999. The 15-year-old was on school camp at the time and was hiking as a part of group of students, that also included his older brother Matthew.

The subsequent coronial inquest found that the school was responsible for the death as they’d failed to properly prepare the students for the tough hiking conditions and had ignored weather forecasts for the day.

The Chainas made moves towards compensation in 2002, claiming the death of their young son had left them suffering from nervous shock and legal fees had throw them into financial hardship.

Nathan Chaina’s father, George Chaina, also claimed that at the time of his son’s death he had been on a revolutionary new cleaning detergent that would have earned them millions of dollars, but that he’d subsequently lost interest in the business.

The sum awarded to the Chaina family did not include interest, which is in dispute and will be the subject of another hearing later this year. Reports indicate that the Chaina family appeared dejected by the courts decisions, who reportedly spent millions of dollars in legal representation since proceedings began.

You can read more about a recent court decision regarding recreational and adventure operators and their responsibilities regarding liability: ‘Obvious Risk’ saves Operators from Compensation Claims

What is Compensation Law?

The law can be a tricky thing to unfurl. To really help you get your head around things we try to regularly explain some of the fundamentals. Today we’re taking a quick look at compensation law – what it is and how it works.

Compensation Law

Workers compensation is a complicated thing.

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The WorkCover government website groups New South Wale’s workers compensation system into four key elements:

1.     ‘WorkCover Scheme – provides workers compensation insurance through contracted Scheme Agents to employers operating in New South Wales.

2.     SICorp (through the Treasury Managed Fund) – manages workers compensation, administration and financial liability for most public sector employers except those who are self-insurers.

3.     self insurers – organisations with enough capital to underwrite, pay and manage their own claims. There are strict criteria that employers must meet prior to WorkCover granting a self-insurers licence.

4.     specialised insurers – hold restricted licences to underwrite workers compensation insurance risk for a specific industry or class of business or employers.’

The current system operates through two previous acts, the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998. Both acts are designed to assist and protect employees who have become ill or injured as a result of work activities, as well as employers facing litigation.

Worker Compensation may pay for your hospital and medical costs, along with your regular wages, until the time when you can work again. Your employer must be paying a premium in order for you to be covered. You are not automatically covered by Workers Compensation and not all employees are considered ‘workers’ under the relevant state or territory compensation laws. Prior to commencing any job potential employees should ask if they will be covered in the instance of a work-related injury.

The Government site for WorkCover describes that there are two roles in which it plays in the workers compensation scheme

‘WorkCover acts on behalf of the Nominal Insurer, which is the legal entity responsible for the performance of the WorkCover Scheme. The Nominal Insurer contracts Scheme Agents to deliver case management and policy services within the WorkCover Scheme. WorkCover also regulates and manages the workers compensation system, including the licensing of self and specialised insurers and oversight of service providers.’

Under NSW law, employers must have a workers compensation policy in place if they are paying in excess of $7500 in wages per annum, are employing an apprentice or trainee, or are a part of a group for premium purposes. These are businesses that are related entities paying over $600,000 in wages per annum.

If you require more information about workers compensation you should contact your state or territory’s workers compensation authority.

Obvious Risk: A Man Claims Compensation After Falling Down a Stairwell At a Sydney Ice Rink

Regardless of whether a person is clumsy or has a skewed view of their own skills there are times in life when accidents and injuries happen that could be, in a court of law, deemed a result of obvious risk. Take, for instance, the case of Moor v Liverpool Catholic Club, an ice skating rink in Sydney where Moor’s lawyer argued that he was entitled to compensation for his injuries.

Compensation

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The basic facts of the questioned incident are that Moor was wearing a pair of ice skating boots as he was about to begin skating. As Moor began to descend the stairs down to the ice rink he lost his footing and fell, fracturing his right ankle. The question that was then raised was is falling an obvious or inherent risk that comes with walking down stairs in ice skating boots.

When it came to working out whether walking down those stairs in ice skating boots was an obvious risk it was brought to the court’s attention that there was no warning or suggestion present from the actual club that doing such a thing would be dangerous. It was furthered argued that the fall wasn’t an obvious risk because CCTV footage showed that Moor wasn’t acting in a way that would’ve lead to a fall or injury, i.e. he was carefully walking down the stairs.

It might seem like an obvious risk to someone else that walking down a flight of stairs in a pair of shoes that aren’t made for walking could easily end badly, but the key to Moor receiving compensation was that the club hadn’t provided any warning or information to suggest that such a practice was dangerous. In the end, Moor received over $100,000 in compensation.

For information on achieving a successful compensation claim, see Being Honest to Get the Best Results: What You Need to Know About Workers Compensation.

Sydney Workers May Not Receive Compensation for PTSD

With over a100,0000 peopleworking in Sydney a psychiatric injury can be the undoing for any worker, whether it’s from being involved in a harrowing robbery to working the front line as a police officer. The definition of worker’s compensation covers all types of injuries, not just the ones you can see like a broken leg, so obviously a matter like PTSD doesn’t need a lawyer to get a worker’s compensation claim fulfilled, does it?

Compensation

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Joe Noonan is a former police officer suffering from PTSD after a series of very distressing incidents during the course of his time as a detective. He had a shotgun pointed at him in a situation where he genuinely feared for his life, he saw five deaths in one shift, he was shot at at close range, he was holding a colleague in his arms when they died of a gunshot to the head, along with many other situations that were either extremely distressing or that left him fearing for his life. If anyone’s entitled to compensation, it’d be Noonan, wouldn’t it?

Not so according to the County Court of Victoria and the Victorian WorkCover Authority. To receive compensation Noonan’s injuries would have to be classed as serious. Noonan argued that as a result of his job he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as depression, anxiety, panic disorder and nervousness, which all sounds like quite a handful. The judge found that Noonan’s symptoms couldn’t be considered severe enough to receive compensation as they didn’t meet the requirements of the severe injury test. But why?

The reason was that Noonan was quite a high-functioning person. His life now is quite good and he’s quite productive, which is what really what undid his case, though there is evidence that his experiences do still affect his life but it still wasn’t enough for the judge. Noonan attends to appeal this decision.

If you’d like to read more about worker’s compensation, check out How Facebook Can Kill Your Worker’s Compensation Claim.

Man Wants Compensation for Millions Lost Gambling Template

There are plenty of places to gamble in Sydney but surely the people who choose to enter them and gamble are entirely responsible for any and all the money they lose? Is it just rubbish to try and argue that a casino made you lose all your money and get compensation for it? Whatever you think, one man tried to do exactly that.

Compensation

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Harry Kakavas went to the High Court to argue that Crown Casino victimised him and made him lose 20 million dollars over a year. He claimed that the casino knew he had a gambling problem and that they offered him incentives to go there, including the use of a private jet.

Kakavas could be classed as a high-roller, a businessman on the Gold Coast who would often make a turnover of about one and a half billion dollars. The life blood of casinos are high-rollers and so plenty of incentives are used to encourage them to come back time after time. Not only was Kakavas given private jet rides to take him from the Gold Coast to Crown Casino in Melbourne, he was also given free luxury accommodation, gift boxes of cash and one and a half million dollars in credit. That’s certainly a lot to just get one man down to play at the tables.

Originally he tried to argue a negligence claim against the casino but when that looked like it would fail he changed his argument to one regarding poor treatment of a consumer by breaching consumer laws. However, from Crown’s side they didn’t do anything wrong. They may have allegedly been aware of Kakavas gambling problem and history of law proceedings against other casinos but he did present to the casino each time as a man who could afford to gamble and, more importantly, afford to lose large amounts of money. He would often come to the casino and place initial deposits of up to a million dollars.

As a result of this appearance of capability, the High Court decided that there was not enough premeditated or predatory behaviour to suggest that Crown Casino had actually gone out of its way to get such a large sum of money off Kakavas. To be realistic, he was the one accepting the incentives and deciding to continue to gamble.

It’s not just casinos that get drawn into gambling-related compensation cases, have a read of A Gamble on Love: The Not So Happily Married Couple Could Find Themselves in Family Court if They Win Big on Lotto to find out more.

Compensation for Those Injured in Police Chases | BPC Law Blog

It’s hard to ignore the debate that arises every now and again in the media about police chases. There are advocates who believe that if police can’t engage in high-speed pursuits then the entire of Sydney will be swamped with criminals, while others argue that the chases are too dangerous. Whatever side of the fence you are on you can’t deny that if someone were to be injured in a police chase then they should be duly compensated. You don’t have to be a lawyer to figure that one out.

Compensation

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At the start of this year Susan Delaney was awarded more than nine million dollars in compensation after a high-speed pursuit in 2006 left her with brain injuries that have severely affected her ability to function and have a normal life.

The chase lasted 40 kilometres after police noticed that a motorcyclist was a member of the outlaw motorcycle gang Odin’s. This motorcyclist was Delaney’s then-boyfriend and she was sitting on the back of the motorcycle.

The chase only came to an end when the motorcycle crashed, resulting in Delaney’s boyfriend dying.

The main reason it took so long for Delaney to receive compensation was the existence of arguments that suggested that she had in some way contributed to the accident. There were also arguments that asked why she didn’t get off the motorbike at some point before the fatal crash.

However, this also proved to be the crux of the defendant’s argument.

In court Delaney argued that the police hadn’t even realised she was on the motorbike at all during the chase. Perhaps if she’d somehow been taunting or egging on police than she would’ve contributed to the accident but as they were unaware of her presence it could be seen that Delaney was entirely passive in the matter.

Delaney’s entire focus was on staying alive – she hadn’t wanted to enter this chase but had been pulled along into it.

Susan Delaney’s case will prove to be a landmark case in the realm of police chases and contributory negligence. In any other sort of incident she’d simply be seen as being in the wrong place at the wrong time but the circumstances of the case made details and evidence murky to say the least.

If you’re interested in learning more about compensation cases see How Victims Compensation Could Work for You.

The Law of Healing: Retrospective Compensation for Bali’s Terror Victims | BPC Law Blog

If you happen to walk down any Sydney street, you might be able to spot the person injured at work, or the one whose operation was botched, but what about the victims of terror attacks? Just because you can’t see the injury, doesn’t make it any less real. It’s a cause that’s been championed for some time, by compensation groups, communities and even politicians, and as of just over a fortnight ago, there’s now retrospective compensation for victims of terrorist attacks.

Compensation(image: Shutterstock)

The government has announced compensation for all Australian victims of terrorist attacks, which will include all terrorist attacks going as far back as September 11.

Under the scheme, which started on October 21 this year, victims of terrorist attacks will be able to claim up to $75,000 in compensation.

You could argue that this scheme has come incredibly late, but for many victims it will be a welcome relief. Though the scheme can’t change what the trauma and hardship these victims have suffered,  it can at least go some way to support the lives of those who’ve been affected, for instance children who’ve been left without parents or those who’ve been severely disabled as a result of terror attacks.

Current estimates suggest that the compensation scheme will help around 300 individuals, as well as their families. In total, this’ll cost about $30 million, a drop in the ocean when you consider what these people have gone through and will continue to go through. Also, Mr Abbott has ensured victims and compensation groups that the latest scheme will not prevent these victims from receiving any pre-existing benefits that they’re entitled to.