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Causes of action

  • Assault and battery - the intentional infliction of harm
  • Negligence - breach of a duty of care that causes injury
  • Misfeasance by a public officer - deliberate acts by a public officer that are known to be beyond the power of that office

In order to be successful in a claim for compensation you must prove on the balance of probabilities that the incident giving rise to the cause of action occurred, and that it caused your injury. If you succeed in your claim, the amount of compensation you will be awarded depends on the seriousness and ongoing nature of your injury.

In recent years there have been well-reported cases where activists have successfully sued the police for infringements to their civil and human rights (for example, the Richmond Secondary College Protests.)

Requirement of a significant injury for negligence claims

Recently the State government introduced changes to the law that now make it more difficult for all people who are injured to pursue their rights to compensation based on a negligence claim. This includes people who have been injured during protests and demonstrations.

If you have been injured, in order to have a right to sue for compensation in negligence, you must first establish that you have been significantly injured. You must prove that your physical injury is a permanent disability, which impairs your whole body function by more than 5%. You must prove that your psychological injury has caused an impairment to more than 10% of your mental functioning. A qualified doctor must assess your level of impairment according to the American Medical Association Guides and other guidelines that determine impairment levels. If you cannot prove significant injury, you will be unable to pursue compensation.

Soft tissue injuries such as bruises and scratches will be unlikely to exceed the 5% physical impairment threshold. A bit of stress, which lasts 1-2 days will be unlikely to exceed the 10% mental impairment threshold. However, ongoing physical and psychiatric injuries may satisfy the requirement of significant injury.

Where you are unsure about the seriousness of your injury, do not rely on your own assessment or that of your local doctor. Consider consulting with an expert personal injuries lawyer to provide you with advice about your rights to sue. They may arrange for you to be assessed by an expert doctor.