Journey Claim Successful
In Namoi Cotton Co-operative Limited v Stephen Easterman (as Administrator of the Estate of Zara Lee Easterman)  NSW WCC PD 29, the Estate of the deceased worker was successful in recovering compensation for death benefits in respect of injuries sustained by the deceased worker as the result of the motor vehicle accident. The Arbitrator found that the deceased worker fell asleep while driving home after completing her 6th straight shift, having worked 5 previous 12 hour night shifts and driving home after partially completing her 6th shift.
The Arbitrator decided that the deceased worker’s employment had a real and substantial connection with the accident “by reason of her tiredness from her employment activities and the duration of them”.
The main challenge to the Arbitrator’s decision was whether it open to the Arbitrator to find that the cause of the accident was in fact the worker falling asleep. President Keating found that the Arbitrator was entitled to rely on inferences from the evidence to support his finding.
President Keating determined that the deceased worker’s Estate had discharged the onus of establishing that employment had a real and substantial connection to the accident having regard to the fact the worker was relatively new to night shift and had complained of tiredness, and having regard to the number and duration of shifts undertaken immediately prior to the accident.