VIC Contractor Mine Death in 1989 - WorkSafe Claim?

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26 June 2015
Widow settled out of court back in 1989/1990 and under duress, accepted an out of court settlement offer for her husband's (a mine contractor) death, and is only now realising two things:
  1. 1. She believes secrets were kept from her about HOW AND WHY her husband died
  2. 2. She believes she was underpaid as she had no one to advise her how to work through the legal aspects of his death. She was just offered and she accepted in her grief.
Now she wants to know if the WorkSafe Victoria will represent her and redress the poor outcome for her and her children. The youngest was 14 at the time and she had increasing continued involvement in comforting and raising all three (14,21,23) in view of the emotional mess that ensued.

She has been told to get together $10,000 for the Supreme Court (application cost only) and go to a lawyer. But I wonder if she should not approach the WorkSafe Victoria to represent her? (as she has no money, is a pensioner at 68) OR WorkSafe to at least advise her HOW AND IF it is possible to reopen the case and make the information that was NOT OFFERED and not asked for in her grief NOW TRANSPARENT. She is reluctant to make waves.


Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
Hi there,

Are you enquiring for yourself or someone else? I'm not sure what you mean by being reluctant to make waves. With whom? If the widow is claiming that they were lied to about the circumstances of their husband's death and there is a court hearing, then this matter could potentially drag out for quite some time.

WorkSafe is an insurance scheme that makes payments to workers and their families. They wouldn't represent the victim in a claim.
I am not sure about all the laws that would apply in this matter as it sounds quite complicated. There are various factors to consider including whether this is brought as a criminal matter or a civil matter. Civil matters generally have limitation periods and then there is the settlement that was reached that may limit future claims. But, if as you say, the widow was lied to, then this may be enough to bring a case.

There is no panacea and unfortunately this forum is limited in its capacity to provide information about such a complicated matter.

I suggest that the widow starts by contacting Legal Aid Victoria and seeing if they can either provide advice on the matter or refer the widow to a solicitor and barrister who can assist pro bono.


Well-Known Member
31 October 2015
Worksafe Vic would have conducted a full investigation into the fatality and therefore findings including penalties to the employer would have been given.

I agree with Ivy that if you were lied to then you may have grounds to pursue. That said it is likely to be a very costly activity and due to the long time since it occurred it is unlikely you would be successful. The company may not even exist in the form it once was. At the very least you should be able to contact Worksafe Victoria to get a copy of their investigation.