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Case study: AAI Limited v Caffrey

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Mr Caffrey was a police officer who attended a road accident where a driver had collided with a tree. Upon arrival, Mr Caffrey found the driver was trapped in the car with his legs severely “squashed”, but still alive. Mr Caffrey administered first aid and spoke to the driver until paramedics and fire service arrived at the scene. Mr Caffrey also attended to the driver’s parents who had arrived at the accident and he helped them to say goodbye to their son before he passed away at the scene due to his serious injuries. 

Prior to the incident, Mr Caffrey had been a well-adjusted person with no significant psychological injuries who had attended many serious incidents in his role as a police officer. Following this incident, Mr Caffrey developed a range of psychological symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and specific post-traumatic symptoms such as flashbacks and reliving experiences. These symptoms resulted in his medical retirement. 

Issues 

Mr Caffrey sued insurer AAI for damages alleging that, as a result of the driver’s negligent driving, he had suffered these devastating psychiatric injuries. It was clear the driver had been negligent as he had been driving at an excessive speed while intoxicated by methamphetamine, amphetamine and marijuana, so that was not the dispute. The main issue at the trial and in the appeal was whether the driver owed Mr Caffrey a duty of care to avoid causing him the harm that he had suffered by attending the scene of the crash as part of his duties as a Queensland police officer. 

Findings 

The court ultimately determined that the driver owed Mr Caffrey a duty of care and he was awarded $1,092,948.

If you’ve been injured, contact Sciaccas Lawyers, so that we can advise you on your rights and prospects of successfully pursuing a claim. We always recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can ensure your interests are protected and you do not miss any time limits.  Feel free to contact us today on 1800 658 525.

Ian Leavers Awarded the Con Sciacca Memorial Award

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Ian Leavers, General President and CEO of the Queensland Police Union of Employees, has been awarded the first inaugural Con Sciacca Memorial Award.

This Award recognises and honours the memory of Con Sciacca AO by honouring a member of an Australian union who has shown a willingness and dedication to advancing the rights of Australian workers.

Con Sciacca was a Federal Minister of the Crown and a solicitor of the Supreme and High Courts of Australia. He was also a Labor politician and an advocate for Australian unions and their members. He died in 2017 at the age of 70, following a long fight with cancer.

Mr Leavers enjoyed a long and dedicated career as a police officer. Since 2009 he has been the voice of the QPUE, representing over 11,000 police officers across the State. He has consistently stood up for both the safety of police officers and the public.

The award comes with a $3000 prize. Mr Leavers, however, has declined to personally accept the money and instead chosen to donate $1000 each to three police families. The first is the Poustie family who tragically lost husband and father Brendan in 2017.

To find out more about the Con Sciacca Memorial Award visit https://www.sciaccas.com.au/con-sciacca-award.

What is a redundancy?

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A redundancy is a genuine redundancy when the person’s job doesn’t need to be performed by anybody anymore.
A redundancy usually occurs because of a change in the businesses operations or strategy. Your employer should consult with you before the redundancy occurs and try to accommodate you in other areas of the business.

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Will I lose my job because I’m ill?

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You are protected at work from being treated adversely because you have an illness if your employer is aware of your illness.

This means that if you are suffering from an illness or injury your employer has an obligation (under anti-discrimination legislation) to consider making reasonable adjustments (within the capability of the business) to enable you to perform your role.

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Do I have to give my employer a medical certificate?

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If you have taken paid personal leave (sick leave) and your employer requests that you provide a medical certificate, then you will need to comply.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), section 97 allows you to take paid personal/carer’s leave when you are not fit for work because of a personal illness, or personal injury, affecting the employee; or when you need to provide care or support to a member of your immediate family or household, who requires care or support because of a personal illness, or personal injury, affecting the member; or an unexpected emergency affecting the member.

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Am I still entitled to compensation if I was partly to blame for the car accident?

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When dealing with compensation for motor vehicle accidents in Queensland, there are two aspects that you must prove to successfully bring a claim.

The First aspect is with respect to liability or negligence and the second is with respect to the injuries sustained by the negligence and the damages or compensation that flows from that.

If you are unable to prove negligence / liability then you do not recover any damages / compensation for your injury. This means that if the motor vehicle accident was your own fault, you cannot pursue a negligence claim as the accident was your own fault.

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