I don’t know if this is true or not, but my dad was telling me that, in the UK, if you lose a court case, your lawyer has to pay your opponent’s legal fees. If they brought that to other countries, lawyers would stop taking all these frivolous cases.
I think the argument was that the employer had encouraged her to use that motel. The original ruling was based on that she was engaged in some lawful activity, while in a room that her employer was paying for, which she was in for the purposes of a business activity. The judge that upheld it originally said she would have been equally entitled to compensation if she had been “playing a game of cards.”
But is the employer liable for the condition of the motel? After all, it isn’t the business of employers who send employees on business trips to ensure they won’t be hurt by the motel’s accommodations. That’s why hotels/motels have insurance. She should have sued the motel.
I’d need more legal details. My impression is that many worker’s comp policies function more as insurance than as implying liability. So if this happened by a freak accident in her office, worker’s comp would cover even if there was no negligence.
Is that all it provides? My brief impression is that, if she was deemed to have been injured in work situation, she’d get worker’s comp. And that the liability of the employer wouldn’t necessarily enter into it.
In any case, the “sex injury” bit in the headline is rather misleading, and somewhat incidental to the case. The real issue here is the status of injuries during business travel.
Not sure about the UK, but here in Australia what happens is that if a lawyer encourages a client to go to court or continue a court case either without a chance of success or in a frivolous or vexatious way (eg simply to cause trouble for the other side or as a delaying tactic) then they might have to pay at least part of the other side’s legal costs.
Agreed. Australian workers comp isn’t about negligence.
If you fall over walking from the train station to your place of employment, then workers comp. covers you. Yet it is not the responsibility of the company to maintain the footpath. Australian workers comp isn’t about negligence.
The only time I know of workplace negligence coming into it is if someone was compensation over and above what they actually lost in terms of medical bills and loss of pay. Which this lady did - I wonder if the result would have been different if she wasn’t trying for compensation for psychological distress.
You’re right about the “sex injury” as being misleading. It no doubt makes an eye catching headline for the media. Suppose she’d merely been asleep when the light fitting fell on her. Who then is responsible - the motel with the faulty light fitting, or the government / employer which sent her on the business trip, when she otherwise would have been at home in her own bed?
I strongly suspect that if a Worker’s Comp insurance company were forced to pay for wages due to time off and trauma, and medical costs in a case like this, then I’m pretty sure they’d then sue the motel for their payout due to the faulty light fitting.
I don’t know how Workers Comp in Australia regard an employer’s liability in the legal sense. However my experience of Workers Comp (when I had a job where we had a couple of employees claim compensation for one reason or another) is that Work Cover (or the appropriate state or federal body) pays the employee the wages or payment, and not the employer.
What does affect the employer is that in the next financial year their Workers Compensation premium will go up, based on a percentage of their estimated wages bill for the next year. The difference in premium between estimated and actual wages for the year is then adjusted when they get the following year’s premium notice.
To give an example, suppose the estimated wages bill for next year is $100,000 and you’re a brand new business. If the premium rate for your industry (varies according to risk) is 5%, then you’d have to pay $5000 in advance for the year (or by instalments).
Suppose by the end of the year, wages were actually $90,000, but you estimated your next years’ wages to be $120,000, then you’d be credited 5% of $10,000 ($500) which would reduce your next years premium of $6000 to $5500. However if you’d had a claim or two, and they increased your premium to 6%, even if the industry rate stayed at 5% overall, then you’d have to pay $7200 less $500 credit, totalling $6700.