Over $1m in the pocket of AWU members in first 12 months of partnership with Maurice Blackburn.

Tuesday 18th December 2018
On 1st July 2017, the AWU in Queensland broadened its relationship with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers to make sure that all of our Queensland members have access to a greater range of the law firm’s local legal advice and services. In the first twelve months, over $1m has been paid AWU members. 
Here are the stories of some of those AWU members who have been assisted by Maurice Blackburn thanks to this partnership. 

Ryan's Story

When lifting a 35-40kg wheelie bin on to the back of a truck Ryan from Townsville injured his back.  

There was no fixed or standard procedure or safe work method to assist in the lifting of the bins and Ryan had received no training on how to lift them safely. 

As such, Ryan prematurely took the weight of the bin which caused him to injure his back. As Ryan was an older employee in his late 50s when this injury occurred. It has seriously impacted his ability to go back to work.

Thanks to Maurice Blackburn he was able to receive over $140,000 in his pocket 


Lachlan's Story

Lachlan was employed on the mines and was treated inappropriately by his supervisor after a complaint was made about him. His supervisor acted unreasonably and swore at Lachlan and threatened him with violence. 

After this incident Lachlan found it difficult to return to work and eventually was unable to attend work at all. 

Lachlan was offered a lump sum compensation from the insurer of $30,000.00. He was told by another law firm that his case was too hard and that he should just accept the offer.

Lachlan then came to Maurice Blackburn who told Lachlan, he should not accept the offer and should bring a common law claim against his company. 

The company that he worked for denied liability for his injuries and fought hard to defend the claim brought by Lachlan. However, Maurice Blackburn was able to settle the claim on Lachlan’s behalf and he received more than $130,000.


Max's Story

Max was employed as a truck driver/labourer for the Council. Operating loud machinery for 15 years but had been working in a noisy environment for at least 30 years and suffered hearing loss as a result.

Max had worked for many employers where hearing protection was not provided, resulting in industrial deafness. 

When he approached us at Maurice Blackburn we were able to schedule and arranged a hearing test for him, which revealed Max had developed tinnitus due to his many years in noisy workplaces. 

Maurice Blackburn was able to provide him with advice as to the criteria he needed to meet in order to bring a claim for his hearing loss.  They explained that a Workers Compensation claim for Industrial Deafness is a “no fault” scheme so there was no requirement for hearing protection to have been worn, and no need to prove negligence against his employers.

Through Maurice Blackburn’s hard work and perseverance, he received compensation for his loss amounting to over $20,000 without needing to go to court. 

Max had previously had negative experiences with his employer’s self-insurer and was keen to engage Maurice Blackburn to assist him even though original estimates of his likely compensation were quite low.   

Maurice Blackburn attended to all communication with the self-insurer so that Max did not need to be involved with any aspect of this. 

Maurice Blackburn was able to ensure that Max’s severe Tinnitus was added to his industrial deafness claim resulting in an additional $6,000.00 in compensation, which was settled within three months from lodging his claim. 


Jill's Story

Asbestos and Dust Disease specialist lawyers Maurice Blackburn recently settled a claim for the estate of a union member who died as a result of asbestos-related lung cancer.
Tony* a 60-year-old Council worker was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer in January 2017 after being exposed during his many years of employment laying old asbestos cement water pipes and being near and in asbestos lined telephony pits.
Despite being told by doctors to seek legal advice, Tony decided not to use a lawyer and instead himself lodged an application for workers’ compensation directly with WorkCover in March 2017.  The claim was later transferred to the Council’s self-insurer.  This decision proved to be both a difficult and lengthy one, with the Council’s insurer taking several months to accept that Tony’s injuries were as a result of his employment. Tony’s claim was finally accepted but only eleven days before he died in August 2017.  
Following Tony’s death, the Council’s insurer advised his wife Jill* that they would only pay Tony’s Estate for loss of wages and medical expenses and urged her to lodge a fatal accident claim as his dependant.  But Jill found the paperwork and process difficult to navigate and contacted us for help via the AWU Maurice Blackburn app.
We put Jill in touch with the AWU’s preferred asbestos and dust disease specialist lawyers Maurice Blackburn.  Jill’s expert lawyer quickly discovered that the insurer’s assessment of the Estate’s entitlements was unfair and wrong and seriously underestimated the amount of compensation it was entitled to.  As a result of Maurice Blackburn’s in-depth investigations, they determined that the insurer had grossly mishandled Tony’s original claim and also exposed the insurer for taking advantage of Tony’s decision not to seek legal help so they didn’t have to pay him as much compensation. 
In only a short amount of time, Maurice Blackburn successfully recovered over $750,000 for Tony’s Estate, all of which went to Jill as his beneficiary. If not for Maurice Blackburn Jill would have only received a small fraction of this amount.  
It’s important members remember that exposure to asbestos dust and fibre can result in severe forms of lung disease, which usually don’t reveal symptoms until decades later. Maurice Blackburn has a team of dedicated asbestos and dust disease lawyers who can help people suffering from asbestos-related diseases make a claim for compensation. If you or anyone you know is diagnosed with a lung disease which you suspect may be related to asbestos, please urge them to obtain advice immediately.  The vast majority of entitlements to compensation and family benefits are dependent upon action being taken during a worker’s lifetime. Contact the AWU for more information or to get a referral to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
*The worker’s name has been changed for legal reasons

Like to know how Maurice Blackburn Lawyers can assist you?

On 1 July 2017, the AWU broadened its relationship with Maurice Blackburn to make sure that all of our Queensland members have access to a greater range of the law firm’s local legal advice and services, including claims for injured workers and other personal injury claims.
  • Work injuries and Workcover
  • Road injuries
  • Death claims
  • Superannuation and disability insurance
  • Medical negligence and malpractice
  • Asbestos and other dust-related diseases
  • Occupational cancers
  • Free standard Will
  • Wills disputes
  • Claims from poor financial advice
To find out more about how Maurice Blackburn Lawyers can assist AWU members, click here
Contact Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 1800 623 386.