In NSW, if a person was on their way to or from work (known as ‘journey claims‘) and they suffered an injury, they have always been covered for workers compensation. That was up to 2012. In 2012 the Workers Compensation Act 1987 was amended and one of the changes that came in related to journey claims.
Section 10(3A) of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 provides that for journey claims there needs to be ‘a real and substantial connection between the employment and the accident‘.
The question therefore is ‘what is a real and substantial connection?‘
The two leading cases are:
- Singh & Singh t/as Krambach Service Station v Wickenden  NSWWCCPD 13 – Ms Wickenden was working at the Krambach Service Station and travelled by way of motor bike in the daytime to and from work. On the day of the accident Ms Wickenden was asked to work longer hours for a period which meant that she finished work in the dark and whilst she was driving home a car travelling in the opposite direction, swerved to miss some cattle and collected Ms Wickenden. The question was whether there was a real and substantial connection between her employment and the accident. It was held that as her employer required her to work later than normal and therefore she rode home in the darkness and the darkness was one of the causes of the accident, there was a real and of substantial connection;
- Namoi Cotton Co-Operative Ltd v Easterman (as Administrator of Estate of Easterman)  NSWWCCPD 29. In that case the deceased worker was driving a vehicle home when she was killed. It was established that she fell asleep at the wheel. The applicant had worked 60 hours in the proceeding five day shift. As fatigue was the cause of the accident, and her employment was the cause of the fatigue, there was a ‘real and substantial connection between the applicant’s employment and the accident‘.
These decisions illustrate that employment does not need to be the sole cause of the accident. ‘Real and substantial‘ connection is a wider concept and captures scenarios where there is a more ephemeral connection between employment and the injury.
If you should have any queries in respect to journey claims and other workers compensation questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.
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