Workers' compensation

Workers’ compensation is one of DibbsBarker’s most significant areas of insurance experience. In the past 10 years, DibbsBarker has been instructed in more than 1,500 personal injuries matters by WorkCover, and over 2,000 matters for Comcare and a variety of self-insurers under both the Commonwealth and Queensland compensation schemes.

These have included, but are not limited to, catastrophic injury claims, dependency claims, multi-party claims, multiple claims against the same employer, dust diseases, claims involving contractual indemnities, cross-border and jurisdictional issues, indemnity, limitation issues and recovery actions. We have been trusted to conduct several highly sensitive claims (including staff claims and scheme sensitive claims) and believe we have always repaid that trust. Supervising partner Terry Killian is a member of the Queensland Law Society Specialist Accreditation Committee.

We have particular expertise defending claims in the mining, resources and retail industries for organisations including:

  • Rio Tinto
  • Glencore
  • Anglo American
  • Peabody Energy
  • Thiess
  • Wesfarmers
  • Woolworths.


Supporting an insurer's performance review: A major insurer requested we conduct a portfolio-wide review of outstanding claims estimates. We appreciated the critical importance of ensuring accurate claims estimates and this process resulted in a necessary but significant revision of the portfolio-wide estimates for the insurer, which had a positive impact on the insurer’s claims management and budgeting.

Reducing claim duration: We act for a major self-insured corporation in the public liability arena. Prior to our retainer, the client had tried, with limited success, to change from a philosophy of hard line contesting of each and every claim to early appropriate resolution of the majority of claims, while still vigorously contesting those less than meritorious. Three years after appointing us the client reported that:

  • average claim duration has reduced by more than 60%
  • average legal cost per file has decreased by 38%
  • average total claim cost has decreased by 18%.

At the time of our appointment, the client maintained a panel of four firms. As a demonstration of our success in implementing the client’s objectives, the panel has been reduced to us and only one other firm.

Protecting our client's brand: We acted for a tyre manufacturer and their insurer on a coronial inquest, and claims for property damage, loss of dependency and personal injury arising from a double fatality accident from an alleged defective tyre. Complex circumstances included a voluntary product recall, threats of recommendations for prosecution under the Occupational Health Act 1991 (Cth) legislation and significant and sensitive litigation. We considered regulations, Australian and International Standards, expert evidence and volumes of commercial records. We briefed international technical experts in various areas that were subsequently involved in expert conclaves. We provided advice concerning quantification, indemnification and liability including alleged breaches of the Trade Practices (now Australian Consumer Law) legislation. We responded to enquiries by the coroner and managed an eight week coronial inquest, resulting in no adverse findings and no recommendations for prosecutions. The client was extremely pleased with the outcome as it protected the corporation, officers and their brand reputation.

Responsive, timely advice - no matter the complexity: A regulator’s key KPI was a timely return on draft decisions. The initial timeframe for draft decisions was five business days. DibbsBarker had the best rate of return of all panel members at the time, averaging a 3.5 day turnaround. Since the last tender, the panel has been reduced to three firms (including DibbsBarker). The new timeframe for draft decisions is 10 business days, and again we are averaging a turnaround time of 8.3 days from receipt of instructions.

Special Counsel
T +61 7 3100 5056
Doyles Guide leading list rankings

Terry Killian - Recommended Lawyer in Workers Compensation & WorkCover (Defendant - Queensland, 2017)

Kelli Stallard - Recommended Lawyer in Workers Compensation & WorkCover (Defendant - Queensland, 2017)

DibbsBarker - Second Tier Law Firm in Workers Compensation & WorkCover (Defendant - Queensland, 2017)

Doyles Guide is an independent guide with rankings compiled through feedback from those in the legal profession.

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