Injured bull rider wins workers’ compensation in legal test case

Injured bull rider wins workers’ compensation in legal test case

Injured bull rider wins workers’ compensation in legal test case Twenty-two year-old Mitchell Gajkowski has been awarded workers’ compensation three years after a bad fall ended his career as a bull rider.

On April 04, 2014, a day before Gajkowski’s 19th birthday, he was thrown from a bucking bull, resulting in catastrophic injuries that ended his bull riding career.
In a legal test case, Mitchell and his lawyer successfully fought for workers’ compensation, as they argued that the young bull rider was working as an “entertainer” - a “deemed worker” under Australia’s Workplace Injury Management and Workers’ Compensation Act 1998, Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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Mitchell’s insurance coverage under an industry policy was offering up to $50,000 for his injuries – an offer which lawyer Chris Clarke, a partner at Attwood Marshall Lawyers, said was inadequate.

The accident that led to Mitchell suffering a traumatic brain injury occurred during a public performance held by the Camden Show Society and Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association Limited.

“There was no case law on it,” Clarke told SMH. “It was basically a test case to make sure he could be categorised as a worker and the commission has determined that he is a worker under the deemed worker provisions.

“It comes down to the definition of an entertainer.

“It is obscure and a part of the regulation which is very rarely used, but it was of great assistance on this occasion.”

Clarke said Mitchell had been awarded lifetime cover for medical expenses, travelling expenses, weekly payments of workers’ compensation until retirement age, a lump sum estimated at about $200,000 and payments for his mother Megan Judd as his carer, the report said.

The lawyer noted that Mitchell’s case had set a precedent that may help other bull riders receive compensation for their injuries.

Meanwhile, despite having a “great deal of sympathy” for Mitchell and his family, Hugh Southwell, president of the Camden Show Society, said his organisation did not agree with the Workers’ Compensation Commission decision.

“It is in the hands of our insurers as to whether they wish to accept the determination or encourage icare [Insurance and Care NSW] to lodge an appeal,” he told SMH.

“Camden Show [doesn’t] agree with the finding and think[s] it has wider ranging implications for the agricultural show movement, rodeos, and other sporting groups and community events,” Southwell said.


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