Injury claims

Personal injury in Adelaide

If you have suffered an injury in Adelaide, you may have a claim for damages. In most instances except for Work Cover and Comcare claims there is a requirement that the injury, loss or damage was caused by another party’s negligence and/or a breach of duty.

Personal injuries may arise as a result of:

  • damaged or defective products
  • dangerous premises
  • medical negligence
  • motor vehicle accidents
  • sporting accidents
  • crime
  • negligence of Government authorities

We understand that personal injury can cause distress and confusion to a person, and are committed to acting in an understanding and professional manner. Our firm and qualified personal injury lawyers in Adelaide are passionate about enabling people to receive the compensation they and their families are entitled to.

Whether the injury is large or small, our team of highly experienced personal injury lawyers in Adelaide will spend time with you to ensure you receive honest advice about your situation. We have secured compensation for people with minor injuries through to catastrophic injuries requiring large sums for medical treatment and ongoing care.

Additionally, we negotiate and provide advice relating to settlement. When it is not possible to settle matters this way, we are experienced and effective in litigation.

If you have been injured, time limits do apply and failure to bring an action within certain time frames may mean you are not able to receive compensation. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us about your personal injury claim in Adelaide.

Dust Disease


If you been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness that is causing you symptoms, you are likely to have rights to obtain compensation. 

Our Locations

We can visit our clients at their homes or, if necessary, in hospital.  We also have offices in Adelaide, Murray Bridge, Clare, Port Augusta, Whyalla and Roxby Downs.

Legal Costs

We are happy to meet with you to explain the compensation process and provide preliminary advice on a no obligation basis.  If we consider that you have a viable claim we will offer to act for you on a no-win no-fee basis.  This may include funding the disbursements, which are the out-of-pocket expenses associated with preparing a claim, such as Court filing fees and medical report fees.

Legal costs and disbursements are only payable if you receive a successful outcome. In the majority of cases we are also able to recover a significant contribution to your legal costs from the other party to the claim.

Compensable Asbestos Related Conditions

There are a number of health conditions that can be caused by exposure to asbestos.  The most common conditions are:


Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the lining of the lung or stomach. Sadly, it is a terminal condition.  There is a strong causal link between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma and the majority of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma will have rights to compensation.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer may be attributable to asbestos exposure, although there are also other significant causes of lung cancer, including, most notably, smoking.  If a moderate to heavy exposure to asbestos can be established, or if a lung cancer sufferer also has asbestosis, it may be possible to claim compensation for lung cancer.


Asbestosis is scarring of the lungs caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres.  It is generally a slowly progressive, irreversible disease restricts the lungs capacity to expand and makes breathing difficult.  Asbestosis may develop after moderate and sustained exposure to asbestos.  The severity of asbestosis can vary from mild to severe and symptoms may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, cough and chest pain and tightness.

Asbestos Related Pleural Disease

Asbestos related pleural disease can take the form of asbestos induced pleural effusions, which is an accumulation of fluid around in the pleural space (the lining of the lung).  Pleural effusion can result in pleural thickening, which may restrict breathing and cause pain.

Potential Entitlements

Entitlements for asbestos related diseases vary depending on the type of claim that is available to a claimant and the State or Territory in which a claimant experienced exposure to asbestos.

The types of claims that may be available include workers compensation claims and common law negligence claims.  The most common type of claim in South Australia for asbestos related disease is a common law claim in negligence.

Compensation may be available for:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Care needs;
  • Therapeutic equipment needs;
  • Loss of income; and
  • Loss of financial dependency on another person.

In South Australia damages may also be sought for the loss or impairment of a claimant’s ability to provide care for another person, such as a spouse, child or grandchild.

Damages may be obtained on a provisional basis, meaning that it is possible to resolve a claim for asbestos related pleural disease or asbestosis and maintain rights to bring another claim in the event that a claimant is diagnosed with an asbestos related lung cancer or mesothelioma in the future.

Time Limits

Strict time limits apply to claims for asbestos related diseases, particularly in respect of terminal conditions such as mesothelioma.

For a common law negligence claim it is necessary to issue Court proceedings within a claimant’s lifetime in order to protect an entitlement to damages for pain and suffering, which often constitutes a significant component of an overall award of damages.

In South Australia there is also a three year time limit from the date of diagnosis within which a claimant must bring an action for personal injury.  If a claim is not brought within this three year period a claimant may be barred from pursuing an action. In certain cases it may be possible to apply for an extension of time within which to commence a claim.

We recommend that people who are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease seek advice as to their potential compensation entitlements at the earliest opportunity.

Our Experience

Asbestos claims at Johnston Withers are managed by Matthew Windsor, who is one of South Australia’s most experienced asbestos litigation lawyers.

Matthew has successfully acted for hundreds of clients with asbestos related diseases in South Australia.

Matthew’s experience and knowledge in this area assists him with quickly identifying the sources of asbestos exposure and potential defendants to a claim.  Johnston Withers also maintains a database of records and information which allows us to identify potential exposures, including products containing asbestos and buildings and workplaces where asbestos was used.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t recall exposure to asbestos?

Our background in asbestos litigation gives us knowledge of particular buildings, workplaces and occupations where asbestos was used.  We will take the time to talk through your history and assist you in identifying potential exposure to asbestos.

What if my former employer is no longer in business?

In the majority of cases the fact that an employer is no longer in business is not a barrier to pursuing compensation.

What if my exposure happened at home?

Claims involving exposure to asbestos outside of work, including as a result of home renovations or from washing the asbestos-contaminated clothes of another person, form a significant number of the claims that we handle.  We can assist in identifying and corroborating such exposures.

What if I am or was a smoker?

Many of our clients have been or are smokers.  This usually does not preclude a claimant obtaining compensation for the asbestos related component of a disability for people with asbestos related pleural disease, asbestosis or lung cancer.  In addition, there is no causal link between smoking and the development of mesothelioma.

What if my exposure to asbestos was in another State or Country?

We are able to assist with claims for exposure to asbestos in other States and Territories of Australia aside from South Australia.  We can also assist with making enquiries of suitably qualified and experienced lawyers in the United Kingdom for clients with exposure in the UK.

How to Contact Us

For a confidential  consultation please contact us by calling 08 8223-4912 or by filling out the on-line enquiry form.


Medical negligence

Medical negligence occurs where the actions of a health provider (such as a doctor, hospital or dentist) are below an acceptable standard. Medical negligence is not only restricted to injuries which occur in the course of treatment, and can include the following

  • failure to properly diagnose
  • failure to treat
  • failure to perform surgery or provide medical services in a proper or adequate manner
  • failure to warn patients of risks prior to surgery or procedures

Although there are many circumstances which may amount to medical negligence, it is important to remember that all procedures carry risks and sometimes the best care and treatment may still be unsuccessful or lead to injury.

This is why it is important to have honest and professional advocates to give you advice on how best to proceed. Medical negligence is a complex area of law, and our experienced practitioners have the knowledge and skills to navigate it.

If you believe you may have suffered personal injury, loss or damage due to medical negligence it is crucial you seek prompt and early advice about your potential entitlement. You should also keep all medical records so that Johnston Withers can best advise and act for you.

Motor accident

Persons injured in a motor vehicle accident in South Australia are entitled to claim compensation under the CTP insurance policy for vehicles registered in South Australia.

The right to compensation is dependent upon the person other than yourself being at fault, either wholly or partially, causing the accident and injuries.

Subject to proof of fault, a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian is entitled to make a clam for damages as a consequence of personal injury suffered.

There is no requirement to prove negligence as a cause of your injury.

If you think you may have entitlement to make a claim, you should consult a lawyer straight away. Even if you are partially at fault for the occurrence of the motor vehicle accident, but another party also contributed to the accident, then liability for the accident can be apportioned such that you would receive a proportion or reduction in the damages awarded to you having regard to the extent to which you contributed to the accident.

Workers compensation

Johnston Withers has been representing injured workers in relation to their workers compensation claims for over 70 years. We act for workers funded by the State WorkCover Scheme and those who have claims under the Comcare Scheme.

Our solicitors are sensitive to the stress placed on injured workers as a result of their injuries and act in an understanding and professional manner. We have a long established history of fighting to ensure injured worker’s rights are respected, including their right to comprehensive rehabilitation. We have taken WorkCover to the Tribunal on many occasions and have been successful in upholding the rights of injured workers.

We can also represent partners in death claims and have on many occasions successfully obtained either a lump sum payment or ongoing payments to ensure financial security for them and their partners.

Tim Downie

Hugh Rischbieth

Matthew Windsor

Stephen Quinn

Dominic Nasone

Graham Harbord

Nic Kernahan

Andrew Mitchard