Australian woman loses sex injury courtcase


The world has gone nuts…

   An Australian civil servant has lost a bid for compensation for an injury incurred while she was having sex during a work trip.

The woman was injured when a light fitting fell on her and a colleague while they were having sex in a motel.

The claimant initially won compensation from government insurer Comcare.

But the High Court overruled that judgement, saying the woman’s employer had not encouraged her to engage in the activity that led to the injury.


She lost her case. I’d say that’s a sane world, not a nuts one :wink:


Sanity ultimately won, after a lengthy and expensive courts case :eek:


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.


Yes, it would. The down side is that people, with a legitimate case would be afraid of losing and having to pay.


Well the hope would be that the law would also state that you did not have to pay your own lawyers if you lose, and thus the entire financial onus on losing would fall on the lawyer’s company.


I would say the motel should pay her medical costs not her employer. After all, the employer had nothing to do it.


That’s what I thought too.


It sounds like this is a workman’s comp case. She was on a work related trip, during the course of that trip had sex with a co-worker, and was injured during the sexual act.

Sounds like a clear cut case to me. :wink: The poor lady had physical and psychological pain, after all!:thumbsup:


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.


Typically, yes. But in Australia, workers comp will also provide coverage for legal liability on the part of the employer (which is why Employers Liability coverage is rare).


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.


Whole lot of shaking going on to tear a light fitting from its mount.

Is she bragging or compaling in this law suit?


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.

So it’s not just about whether you lose or not.


Well, they were playing cards but she lost and she didn’t have any money, sooo . . . .

I don’t think the suit is that outrageous. Here in the US people have won worker’s comp after being injured at company baseball games and the like.


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.

We’d better leave it to the High Court.


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