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If you are thinking of making a claim following an accident at work, we understand that the legal jargon and terms involved can be confusing. This plain English guide explains what some of the common terms used in accident at work claims mean.

Ability to work

Injuries can have an impact on your ability to work and meet your earning expectations. Your ability to work refers to how capable you are to do your job after an accident or injury.


A moving object or person that comes into contact with another object.

Constructive dismissal

If your working role and/or conditions are changed with the direct intention of pressuring you or forcing you to resign.

Industrial deafness

Industrial deafness can also be referred to as noise-induced hearing loss or occupational deafness. It is a condition that is a direct consequence of a working environment.

Legal duty of care

Employers have a legal duty of care to provide you with the correct protection and training for your working environment to eliminate potential hazards or risks that can lead to workplace accidents.

Loss of earnings

This refers to the earnings that a person loses as a result of an accident that restricts, reduces or impedes their ability to earn a usual wage or salary.

Manufacturing defect

A failure, fault or shortcoming in a product that is a result of a difference to or change from the original design specifications during production.

Medical treatment

Medical treatment is the management and care given to a patient to combat an injury, disease or disorder. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medications.

Psychological trauma

This refers to a type of impairment to the mind. Stress-induced trauma can be a common mental health problem following any type of accident.

Serious injuries

A serious injury is an injury sustained as a result of an accident that requires hospitalisation for over 48 hours, such as a bone fracture, third degree burns, injury to internal organs and nerve, muscle or tendon damage.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

RSI is a condition that is brought on by the continuous performance of repetitive actions. It most commonly affects the hands, causing pain and resulting in a loss or limitation of function in the tendons and muscles.

Toxic fumes

Any smoke, fumes or chemicals that can be inhaled, causing illness or ill health.

Unfair dismissal

This refers to an employment contract being terminated without fair reasoning. It also applies to a dismissal that has been handled wrongly, even if there was fair reasoning for the dismissal.

Workplace violence

Any work-related incident that results in a person being threatened, abused or assaulted, either verbally or physically.