NIIS Injuries

In Queensland, NIIS claims are governed by the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Act 2016 (Qld) and the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld)

To be eligible to receive NIIS benefits under either scheme, you have to have suffered “serious personal injury” on or after 1 July 2016. A “serious personal injury” includes:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • permanent spinal cord injury
  • permanent brachial plexus injury
  • multiple or high level amputations
  • severe burns
  • permanent blindness caused by trauma

This is how a claim being managed by NIISQ generally proceeds:

  • In the case of a motor vehicle accident, you, your guardian or the hospital lodges an “Application Form – Interim Participation” with NIISQ. NIISQ then makes a determination in relation to your eligibility;
  • In the case of a work related injury, WorkCover Queensland are required to make a determination in relation to your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits themselves (without being asked);
  • Once you are deemed to be eligible to receive NIIS benefits by NIISQ or WorkCover, NIISQ will take over and manage your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.
  • You will be assigned a NIISQ Agency Support Planner who will liaise with you and your treatment providers to ensure that you are receiving all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.
  • All participants deemed eligible for NIIS benefits are accepted as an interim participant for up to two (2) years (although very young children remain as interim participants until age six).
  • Towards the end of the two (2) year period, NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland (or the self-insurer) will re-assess your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant.
  • If eligible as a lifetime participant, NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland (or the self-insurer) will fund your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services for the rest of your life, unless you choose to opt out.
  • Some NIIS participants choose to opt out of receiving lifetime treatment, care and support from NIISQ and instead pursue a lump sum for those expenses in their personal injury claim.
  • With respect to motor vehicle injury (CTP) claims, in order to notify NIISQ and the CTP Insurer of your decision to opt out, you must provide them with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days of being accepted as a lifetime participant of NIISQ or, if your CTP claim is not commenced until after you become a lifetime participant, within 14 days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim.
  • With respect to work related injury claims, in order to notify WorkCover (or the self-insurer) of your decision to opt out, you must state in your Notice of Claim for Damages served on WorkCover (or the self-insurer), when commencing your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

Am I eligible to receive benefits from NIISQ for injuries sustained in a MVA?

To be eligible to receive benefits under the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) (NIISQ), you have to have suffered “serious personal injury” in a motor vehicle accident on or after 1 July 2016. It does not matter who caused the accident.

You may also be entitled to make a claim under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to cover any benefits that NIISQ does not cover. For more information about the NDIS, click here.

Am I eligible to receive NIIS benefits for my work related injury?

To be eligible to receive NIIS benefits under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), you have to be considered a “worker” as defined by that Act and have suffered “serious personal injury” at work on or after 1 July 2016.  You do not need to prove that the accident was your employer’s fault or anyone else’s fault.

You may also be entitled to make a claim under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to cover any NIIS benefits that the workers’ compensation insurer does not cover. For more information about the NDIS, click here.

Am I eligible to receive NIIS benefits for my serious personal injury if I was not injured at work or on the road?

No. At this stage, the Queensland Government has only introduced legislation enabling individuals who have suffered serious personal injury at work or in a motor vehicle accident to qualify for NIIS benefits. Click here to learn more about public liability claims.

You may, however, be entitled to make a claim under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). For more information about the NDIS, click here.

What benefits does NIISQ and WorkCover Queensland (or a workers’ compensation self-insurer) provide?

NIISQ and workers’ compensation insurers provide eligible participants with lifetime treatment, care and support that is considered necessary and reasonable, including:

  • medical or pharmaceutical treatment
  • hospitalisation
  • dental treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • ambulance transportation
  • respite care
  • attendant care and support services
  • aids and appliances, other than ordinary personal or household items
  • prosthesis
  • education or vocational training
  • home, transport or workplace modifications

How do I apply to NIISQ following a motor vehicle accident?

Where you have suffered serious personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, a claim can be made to NIISQ by completing the “Application Form – Interim Participation”, which is available on the NIISQ website. Your doctor can then complete the Medical Certificate that forms pages 6 to 9 of the Application Form.

The application can also be lodged by the hospital, guardian or CTP insurer. Your application should be made within twelve (12) months of the date of your injury.

Your eligibility and funding decisions, when you have suffered serious personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, are determined by the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Act 2016 and Regulation 2016. As specialists in this area, we can help. Call us now for your free initial advice and consultation.

How do I apply to WorkCover Queensland (or a self-insurer) for NIIS benefits?

Where you have suffered “serious personal injury” at work, you need to make a claim for workers’ compensation through WorkCover Queensland (or your employer’s self-insurer).

The workers’ compensation insurer should automatically make a decision as to your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits for serious personal injury under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld). If WorkCover (or the self-insurer) fails to properly consider your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits in a timely manner, you should seek legal advice immediately, so that this can be rectified. 

If WorkCover (or the self-insurer) accepts that you have suffered a serious personal injury and are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, they will engage the NIISQ Agency to manage your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.

You will be assigned a NIISQ Agency Support Planner who will liaise with you and your treatment providers to ensure that you are receiving all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.

Interim and lifetime cover

All participants deemed eligible for NIIS benefits are accepted as an interim participant for up to two years (although very young children remain as interim participants until age six).

Towards the end of the two year period, NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland (or the self-insurer) will re-assess your eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a lifetime participant. If eligible, NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland (or the self-insurer) will fund your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services for the rest of your life, unless you choose to opt out.

Opting out of NIISQ in CTP claims

Some participants in NIISQ can choose to opt out of receiving lifetime treatment, care and support from NIISQ and instead pursue a lump sum for those expenses. We can advise you on whether you should or should not opt out.  Strict timeframes apply once you have been accepted as a lifetime participant in NIIS to preserve your right to opt out (so you can claim a lump sum for these services in your CTP claim instead). If these timeframes are missed, you may lose this entitlement. Speak with us today to ensure your rights are protected.

To be eligible to opt out of NIISQ (so you can claim a lump sum for these services in your CTP claim instead), you have to satisfy the following conditions:

  • you have to have been accepted as a lifetime NIISQ participant;
  • you have to have a valid CTP claim with contributory negligence of less than 50 percent – ie be able to sue someone for causing your injuries in a motor vehicle accident; and
  • you must not have been excluded from receiving a lump sum by the Court – ie which can occur where the Court considers a lump sum inappropriate.

In order to notify NIISQ and the CTP Insurer of your decision to opt out, you must provide them with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days of being accepted as a lifetime participant of NIISQ or, if your CTP claim is not commenced until after you become a lifetime participant, within 14 days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim.

Opting out of NIIS benefits in workers’ compensation common law claims

Some participants receiving treatment, care and support for a serious personal injury from a workers’ compensation insurer (managed by the NIISQ Agency) can choose to opt out of receiving those benefits and instead pursue a lump sum for those expenses. We can advise you on whether you should or should not opt out.

In order to be eligible to do this, you have to satisfy the following conditions:

  • you have to have been accepted as a lifetime participant;
  • you have to have an entitlement to pursue a workers’ compensation common law claim for damages – ie be able to sue your employer for negligence; and
  • you must not have been excluded from receiving a lump sum by the Court – ie which occurs where the Court considers a lump sum inappropriate.

In order to notify WorkCover (or the self-insurer) of your decision to opt out, you must state in your Notice of Claim served on WorkCover (or the self-insurer), when commencing your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

If I bring a CTP Claim and receive benefits from NIISQ, do I have to refund the benefits they have funded out of my settlement monies?

No. Whether you remain as a NIISQ participant or opt out of the scheme, any settlement of your claim would exclude the amounts funded by NIISQ for treatment, care and support, so you would not have to repay any amount.

If you have received and claimed NDIS benefits (and these benefits were reasonable and relate to your injuries sustained in the accident), however, these will be refundable. We would claim the benefits already paid and they would then be refunded to the NDIS out of your settlement monies (ie the amount is in and out), so that you do not lose anything.

If I bring a workers’ compensation common law claim and have received NIIS benefits, do I have to refund the NIIS benefits out of my settlement monies?

No. Any settlement of your common law claim is “clear of” the refund payable to WorkCover Queensland or the workers’ compensation self-insurer.

If you have received and claimed NDIS benefits, however, these are refundable but you do not lose anything. We claim the amount for NDIS benefits already paid as a part of your offer of settlement and that amount is then refunded to the NDIS out of your settlement monies which means that you end up all square (ie the amount paid is added in and then deducted from your offer/settlement, leaving you with a nil balance in relation to those benefits).

How can we help?

We will:

  • assess the accident that led to your injury and provide you with our expert opinion as to your prospects of success in relation to a CTP claim or workers’ compensation common law claim for damages;
  • agree to act on your behalf on a “no win no fee” basis, if we consider your claim to have reasonable prospects of success. Click here for more information on how we charge;
  • assist you with lodging your claims with NIISQ, the NDIS, the CTP Insurer and/or WorkCover (or self-insurer);  and
  • provide you with all the advice, guidance and assistance you require in order to get the treatment, care and support you need funded and happening as soon as possible.

Don’t delay! Very strict time limits apply with respect to personal injury claims. Speak with one of our expert personal injury lawyers today. We offer free initial advice.

FAQs

The short answer is “as soon as possible”. This is so we can:

  • assist you with lodging your claim(s) with NIISQ, the CTP Insurer, WorkCover Queensland (or a workers’ compensation self-insurer) and/or any other insurer;
  • make sure that your version of events surrounding the accident is accurate and comprehensive;
  • give you advice in relation to your rights and obligations;
  • ensure that you are telling the insurers and the doctors the whole story;
  • ensure that your doctors note down in your medical records all injuries that you have suffered, no matter how minor;
  • ensure that the insurer is aware of all the injuries you have sustained;
  • ensure that NIISQ or another insurer is paying for all reasonable and necessary treatment, care and support (where possible); and
  • start compiling the evidence we need in order to put an offer of settlement together for you once your injuries are stable and stationary.

If lodged within twelve (12) months from the date of the accident, NIISQ or WorkCover Queensland (or the self-insurer) have to consider your application for NIIS benefits by determining your eligibility. If the application is lodged outside the twelve (12) months timeframe, it is at NIISQ’s discretion or WorkCover’s discretion as to whether or not they will accept the application.

Once accepted, some NIIS participants later choose to opt out of receiving lifetime treatment, care and support from NIISQ or WorkCover so that they can pursue a lump sum for those expenses instead.

In motor vehicle injury (CTP) claims, in order to notify NIISQ and the CTP Insurer of your decision to opt out, you must provide them with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days of being accepted as a lifetime participant of NIISQ or, if your CTP claim is not commenced until after you become a lifetime participant, within 14 days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim.

In work injury claims, in order to notify WorkCover (or the self-insurer) of your decision to opt out, you must state in your Notice of Claim for Damages served on WorkCover (or the self-insure), when commencing your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

Injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident (CTP claim):

Where you have suffered serious personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, a claim can be made to NIISQ by completing the “Application Form – Interim Participation”, which is available on the NIISQ website. Your doctor can then complete the Medical Certificate that forms pages 6 to 9 of the Application Form.

The application can also be lodged by the hospital, your guardian or the CTP insurer. Your application should be made within twelve (12) months of the date of your injury.

Your eligibility and funding decisions, when you have suffered serious personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, are determined by the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Act 2016 and Regulation 2016.

Injuries suffered at work:

Where you have suffered “serious personal injury” at work, you need to make a claim for workers’ compensation through WorkCover Queensland (or your employer’s self-insurer).

The workers’ compensation insurer should automatically make a decision as to your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits for serious personal injury under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld). If WorkCover (or the self-insurer) fails to properly consider your eligibility to receive NIIS benefits in a timely manner, you should seek legal advice immediately, so that this can be rectified. 

If WorkCover (or the self-insurer) accepts that you have suffered a serious personal injury and are eligible to receive NIIS benefits, they will engage the NIISQ Agency to manage your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs.

You will be assigned a NIISQ Agency Support Planner who will liaise with you and your treatment providers to ensure that you are receiving all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support services that you need.

These are the steps you should take to lodge a claim if you are injured in a road accident:

  1. Make sure that the hospital records all injuries and symptoms you have suffered (no matter how insignificant they seem).
  2. Obtain a QP number (Traffic Incident Number) from the police, so that we can obtain a copy of the police report.
  3. Contact one of our offices to make a time for our of our expert personal injury lawyers to see you.  If it is easier for you, we will come to the hospital or your home or we are happy to meet at a nearby coffee shop.
  4. At our initial consultation, we will complete a Notice of Accident Claim Form with you.
  5. You will then need to have a doctor complete the Medical Certificate which forms pages 11 and 12 of the Notice of Accident Claim Form. We will provide you with the Medical Certificate to take to your doctor.
  6. Provide us with the original Medical Certificate and a copy of any referral(s).
  7. We then serve the Notice of Accident Claim Form (with the completed Medical Certificate) and a copy of any referrals upon the CTP Insurer of the vehicle that caused or significantly contributed to the accident.
  8. The CTP Insurer will then respond to your claim and start paying for all reasonable and necessary treatment until NIISQ takes over.
  9. If you haven’t done so already, we will also complete an Application Form – Interim Participation form to apply for NIISQ to cover all treatment, care and support that you need and will lodge that with NIISQ for you.
  1. Ask the hospital to complete a work capacity certificate: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/77119/form-132m-work-capacity-certificate-workers-compensation.pdf
  2. Provide your employer with a copy of the work capacity certificate.
  3. Complete WorkCover’s online Claim form, which can be found here: https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/claim/lodgement.wc
    OR
    Complete a hard copy of the Claim form and upload using WorkCover’s online service (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/uploadNewClaim.wc?code=NEWCLAIM), or fax it to 1300 651 387 or post it to GPO Box 2459, Brisbane Qld 4001. 
    The pdf of the Claim form can be found here: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/3057/Claim-form-FM106-v10.pdf
    OR
    Where urgent surgery is required, a claim can be lodged over the phone by calling WorkCover on 1300 362 128.
  4. Upload a copy of the work capacity certificate using WorkCover’s online service (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/uploadNewClaim.wc?code=NEWCLAIM) or fax it to WorkCover on 1300 651 387.
  5. WorkCover will then contact you to confirm that the claim has been received and will contact your employer to obtain confirmation that the injury is work related.  If satisfied it is a work related injury, your claim will be officially accepted and WorkCover will then pay weekly benefits for your time off work and any reasonable and necessary treatment and rehabilitation.
  6. Once WorkCover accepts that you have sustained a “serious personal injury”, as defined by the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) Act 2016, they will ask NIISQ to manage all of your treatment, care and support needs.

Who you make the claim(s) against will depend on how you sustained your injury (eg in a road accident, at work, in a hospital or in a public place).

If you were injured on the road:

Provided the accident was not your own fault, or not entirely your fault, you will be able to make a CTP claim. You cannot claim against a CTP Insurer if the accident was your fault.

Your claim will be against the CTP insurer of the vehicle that caused or significantly contributed to the accident. Negligence is alleged against the driver of that vehicle but the CTP insurer then takes over the conduct of the matter.

Where the vehicle that caused the accident cannot be identified, the Nominal Defendant (a government insurer) becomes the relevant insurer in relation to your claim.

For “serious personal injuries” sustained in a motor vehicle accident a claim can also be lodged with NIISQ, irrespective of whose fault the accident was.

If you were injured at work:

In a common law claim you are alleging that your employer or a co-worker was negligent in some respect, so the claim is directed at your employer but WorkCover Queensland takes the claim over as your employer’s insurer and handles the claim on their behalf.

For “serious personal injuries” WorkCover Queensland (or the workers’ compensation self-insurer) will ask NIISQ to manage all of your necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs on their behalf.

If you were injured on the road:

Subject to the exceptions set out below, there are simply no adverse consequences to your family member or friend, if they caused the accident, provided their vehicle was registered. They do not even have to pay an excess when you make a claim. The CTP insurer of the vehicle simply takes over the conduct of the matter.

If you were the passenger in a vehicle driven by a family member or friend, you can still make a claim against the CTP insurer of that vehicle (even if it is your own vehicle) and there is no impact upon your family member or friend.

Of course, the CTP insurer will want a statement from your family member or friend about what happened but that would be it. In the unlikely event that the matter was to proceed to trial, they may also be called upon to give evidence if liability is in dispute (ie there is some doubt as to who caused the accident).

Exceptions to the rule:

  1. If your family member or friend was using the vehicle without the owner’s authority or without legal justification or excuse for using the vehicle, then the insurer will have a right of recovery against the driver for some or all of the compensation and costs paid.
  2. If your family member or friend intended to harm you or some other person (resulting in your injury), then the insurer will have a right of recovery against the driver for some or all of the compensation and costs paid.
  3. If your family member or friend was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident and their intoxication caused or contributed to the accident, the insurer will have a right of recovery against the driver for some or all of the compensation and costs paid.
  4. If your friend’s vehicle or family member’s vehicle was not registered, then the Nominal Defendant will have a right of recovery against the owner of the vehicle for some or all of the compensation and costs paid.

If you were injured at your friend’s home or property or when using their equipment:

Most homeowners have home and contents insurance, which has public liability insurance attached to that. Most boats, jetskis and the like also have public liability insurance.

Your family member or friend will only have to pay the (usually quite small) excess on their insurance policy and the public liability insurer then takes over the claim. Sometimes no excess at all is payable.

Of course, the public liability insurer will want a statement from your family member or friend about what happened but that would be it. In the unlikely event that the matter was to proceed to trial, they may also be called upon to give evidence if liability is in dispute (ie there is some doubt as to who caused the accident).

Exceptions to the rule:

Your friend’s public liability insurance may not cover them if, for example:

  1. Your family member or friend was using a vehicle, machinery, equipment or property without the owner’s authority or without legal justification or excuse for using it.
  2. Your family member or friend intended to harm you or some other person (resulting in your injury).
  3. Your family member or friend was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident and their intoxication caused or contributed to the accident.

The advantages of opting out of receiving treatment, care and support from NIISQ or the workers’ compensation insurer and, instead, pursuing a lump sum from the CTP Insurer or WorkCover for these expenses in your common law claim include the following:

  • You are able to manage your own money and have control over the funding of your treatment, care and support;
  • You are able to maintain control over the decisions that are made with respect to your treatment, care and support;
  • You do not have to liaise with an insurer and seek approval for every little thing you want; and
  • You are able to avoid any changes or reductions in the funding of treatment, care and support that the government might introduce in the future.

In motor vehicle injury (CTP) claims, in order to notify NIISQ and the CTP Insurer of your decision to opt out, you must provide them with a “Preservation Notice” within fourteen (14) days of being accepted as a lifetime participant of NIISQ or, if your CTP claim is not commenced until after you become a lifetime participant, within 14 days after the CTP Insurer provides written acknowledgment of your CTP claim.

In work injury claims, in order to notify WorkCover (or the self-insurer) of your decision to opt out, you must state in your Notice of Claim for Damages served WorkCover (or the self-insure), when commencing your common law claim, that you elect to seek treatment, care and support damages for the injury.

Every case is different and the amount of compensation or damages payable to you will depend on many things, including:

  • How you recover from your injuries
  • The medical evidence
  • Your age
  • What other pre-existing injuries or conditions you had
  • What permanent restrictions you have, particularly with respect to your work capacity
  • What your earning capacity was like prior to the accident, compared to what your earning capacity now looks like
  • How much care and support you have needed in the past and how much you are likely to require in the future
  • How much ongoing treatment and medication you need

Many serious personal injury claims that end up under the care of NIISQ resolve for well in excess of one million dollars.

Costs are only payable to the insurer if you proceed to trial and lose or receive a judgement for less than what the insurer has previously offered to you.

Less than 2% of claims actually proceed to trial, so there is almost no chance of you having to pay the insurer’s costs.

  • daily personal activities needs
  • transport to enable participation in community, social, economic and daily life activities
  • workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market
  • therapeutic supports including behaviour support
  • help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home and home environment
  • help to a participant by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, setup and training
  • home modification design and construction
  • mobility equipment
  • vehicle modifications

The NDIS will NOT fund a support that is:

  • the responsibility of another government system or community service (eg something funded by NIISQ)
  • not related to a person’s disability
  • relates to day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participants support needs
  • is likely to cause harm to the participant or pose a risk to others

If you have a “serious personal injury” from a motor vehicle accident in Queensland, you will be eligible to receive benefits from the National Injury Insurance Scheme (Queensland) (ie NIISQ).

Once NIISQ accepts that you are eligible to receive benefits, they will take over the management of, and pay for, all the necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs that you have.

The CTP Insurer will then manage your CTP claim procedurally but will not be involved with your treatment and rehabilitation, unless you choose to opt out of receiving lifetime treatment, care and support from NIISQ and instead pursue a lump sum for those expenses.

We can advise you on whether you should or should not opt out from NIISQ. For further information on NIIS benefits and how the scheme works with CTP claims, click here.

If you have a “serious personal injury” from a work accident in Queensland, WorkCover will ask NIISQ to manage all necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support needs that you have.

WorkCover will continue to pay your weekly benefits and manage your WorkCover claim but they will not be involved with your treatment and rehabilitation, unless you choose to opt out of receiving lifetime treatment, care and support from NIIS and instead pursue a lump sum for those expenses.

In Australia, you are not taxed on any settlement monies that you receive from your personal injury claim. If, however, you invest that money and earn interest or a have a capital gain from that investment, then tax may be payable on that interest or capital gain. You should seek financial and/or accounting advice about this where applicable.

During your free initial consultation, we will:

*East Coast Lawyers is led by Accredited Specialists; Sean Delpopolo, Helen Ashton, Nickelle Morris.

Our Promise To You:

*Strict time limits apply when making a claim. Do not delay.

Need some advice? Contact us today.

Managing Director

Sean Delpopolo

Sean Delpopolo

Sean is an expert in compensation claims and has been recognised in his field as a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist.

He has been running compensation claims in Queensland for over 25 years and specialises in work related claims, motor vehicle claims, public liability claims and total and permanent disability claims. He has been voted by his peers to be one of the best compensation lawyers in Queensland.*

Sean started the firm in 2004 and it has gone from strength to strength on the background of outstanding service, incredible results and charging really fair fees.

With an innate sense of fairness and justice, this motivates Sean and his team to do everything they can to ensure that the results they achieve for their clients is something that they can all be proud of. In Sean’s mind, the interests of the firm’s clients come first, before anything else, and this value has flowed on through to the entire team.

As a father of two daughters, Sean understands that his clients’ compensation claims can make a huge difference to their lives and the lives of those around them. This is why he has made it his life’s work to fight for the “little guy” to assist them with obtaining the compensation they deserve.

Director

Helen Ashton

Helen Ashton

Helen Ashton is an experienced and skilled lawyer who fights every day to achieve what is right for her clients.

As an accredited specialist, having been awarded the highest achiever award for the course in 2015, Helen has a high level of knowledge and technical expertise.

Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2001, Helen has extensive experience in running all types of claims.

Helen has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to ensure that her clients are kept well informed and are provided with quality and practical legal advice.

As a mother of three young children, Helen understands the impact events can have on a family unit and works proactively to achieve the right result for her clients in the shortest possible timeframe.

Helen has the ability and the experience to assist clients’ with a wide variety of claims, including claims with a high level of complexity and those that have had catastrophic consequences.

Special Counsel

Nickelle Morris

Nickelle Morris

Nickelle is an expert in compensation claims and has been recognised in her field as a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist.  She was awarded the highest achiever award for the accreditation course which she completed in 2022.

Nickelle has been practising exclusively in compensation litigation for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in catastrophic claims and fatality claims across all practice areas.

Nickelle prides herself on being a technical, yet practical and compassionate lawyer. Nickelle takes her time to understand her client’s situations and to ensure that they have an understanding of their rights and entitlements. Nickelle is a tenacious and passionate advocate for her clients and is dedicated in being proactive in ensuring client’s needs are met and achieving the best outcome for clients.

Nickelle was a finalist in the Special Counsel of the Year for Australian Law Awards in 2019.

Outside of work, Nickelle is a mother of two children and is a member on a number of committees both within the legal industry and community.

Special Counsel

Barry Mcgee

Barry has always loved a spirited debate, and, with over 20 years specialising exclusively in litigation, his passion, skill, and ability to assist his clients is well known throughout the Queensland profession.

Barry’s legal career began in his native Scotland, where he qualified as a Solicitor in 1998. Upon qualifying, he worked for a boutique practice, and then a top-tier national firm, representing a number of different insurers across a variety of industries. With years of working for insurers under his belt, Barry is able to see matters through the eyes of his legal opponents. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say!

He was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2007. In Australia, he commenced working for a large national firm, where he spent 15 years. He was made a Partner of the firm in 2011 and spent 11 years as the firm’s dedicated in-house Special Counsel. As Special Counsel, Barry provided expert advocacy and strategical advice and assistance to the qualified lawyers and clients of the firm alike.

Barry has significant and extensive experience across a wide variety of claims. He is compassionate, personable and straightforward, with a keen sense of what is fair and just, and a reputation for not settling for anything less than his client deserves.

Outside of work he enjoys surfing, the outdoors, music and spending time with his wife and 3 young children.

Special Counsel

Charlotte Evans

Charlotte has practised solely in compensation litigation for over 20 years.

She is committed to fighting for the rights of plaintiffs and helping her clients through the legal maze, to achieve outcomes that put people back in control of their lives. She has had experience in taking a number of matters to Trial and winning hard fought cases for her clients and she does not shy away from a challenge.

Charlotte has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to cut through the legal jargon to make the process understandable for her clients whilst ensuring that her clients are also kept well informed throughout their claim.

Out of the office Charlotte is a busy Mum, who now enjoys the privileges of living in beautiful Queensland and making the most of all it has to offer.

Special Counsel

Prue Prescott

Prue has been running compensation claims for nearly 20 years. This has involved acting for claimants in most areas of compensation law including work related claims, motor vehicle accident claims, public liability claims, serious claims and total and permanent disability claims.

Prue enjoys handling complex claims, including those claims involving complex legal principles. Prue seeks to use her masters qualification in writing and literature to tell each and every client’s individual story, ensuring they are treated fairly by insurers and that they obtain the compensation to which they are entitled.

In 2019, Prue was nominated by the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc as an Inspirational Lawyer.

Outside of work, Prue is a busy mum of boys but also tries to find the time to read, write and explore nature.

Office Manager

Julie Hollonds

Julie is a highly dedicated and experienced office manager who has been an integral part of our team for the past 14 years. Bringing a wealth of knowledge with over 35 years of experience in administration, Julie keeps our office running smoothly and efficiently.

Outside of work, Julie loves to walk, snorkel, spend time with friends and explore the beautiful Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

Legal Assistant

Aleisha Harrigan

Having worked as a legal assistant for over five years, Aleisha has a wealth of experience in the field of personal injury. Since joining East Coast Lawyers, she has been an essential part of providing invaluable support to solicitors and our clients. Her abilities extend beyond legal matters with Aleisha providing training to our assistants and administrative team, and streamlining processes and procedures, ensuring that the workflows operate smoothly and effectively.

Outside of work, Aleisha has a passion for reading and music. She can often be found immersed in a good book or a live concert. She values spending quality time with her family, friends and her beloved dog, Kevin.

Legal Assistant

Kym Arrowsmith

Kym is a knowledgeable legal assistant with fifteen years of expertise in the field of personal injury law. She is passionate about supporting clients through the process and obtaining the best possible outcome for them. As a valued member of our team, Kym takes pride in her work and is committed to sharing her extensive experience and knowledge with our other team members.

When Kym is not busy with work, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoys discovering new places, whether it be through the pages of a biography or on her push bike.

Legal Assistant

Alece Turner

Alece is a law student who is extremely motivated and passionate about personal injury law. She is hardworking, and always strives to produce the best possible results for our clients.

Her dedication and eagerness to learn more about the law makes Alece a great addition to our team.

When not working or studying, she loves spending time with her son at the beach or at one of our amazing theme parks.

Legal Assistant

Georgia Ryan

Georgia recently joined the team in February 2023 and has been working within the industry for the last three years. She is enthusiastic about helping new and existing clients, and with her bubbly personality and can-do approach makes her an excellent addition to our team.

Raised in Tasmania, Georgia moved to Queensland in early 2017 and hasn’t regretted it since. She loves the warm weather and lifestyle. Outside of work, Georgia loves travelling, dining out and spending time with family and friends.

Legal Assistant

Claire Rezny

Claire is one of our hard working and devoted Legal Assistants. With over 25 years’ administrative experience, her attention to detail, willingness to help others, and calm demeanour makes her a real asset to our team.

Claire is well travelled and, during her time in the USA, Claire discovered a newfound love for reading, which led her to become a proofreader for several published novels. Claire also enjoys landscape and wildlife photography and spending time with her family and puppy.

RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Shayla Riley

Shayla joined our team in September 2023, coming from an extensive background in customer service.

Shayla is a law student who is very passionate about personal injury law. With her bubbly personality and can-do attitude this makes her the perfect person for her administration support role.

When Shayla is not in the office you can find her enjoying all things outdoors, getting lost in a good book or spending time with her two rescue dogs Bear and Ella. 

RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Brooke Gribble

Meet Brooke, our receptionist and administration assistant. Brooke has over 3 years’ administration experience in personal injury law and is eager to provide high quality customer service to our clients.

Brooke finds joy in helping others and is extremely hard working making her a real asset to our team.

Out of the office you may find Brooke at a racetrack as she has a passion for fast cars. Brooke also likes spending her time enjoying outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking but will never pass up the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy.