Bay man claims $413,082 payout is 'manifestly inadequate'

A HERVEY BAY miner who suffered "a savage blow" to his lifestyle after a crippling workplace accident has argued in Queensland's highest court that his $413,082 damages payout is "manifestly inadequate".

Lawrence William Phillips had been working on a Moranbah mine as a scraper operator for just two weeks when he was forced off a road and down a hill.

The 55-year-old suffered an L2 compression fracture but his employer MCG Group argued damages should be reduced because Mr Phillips had a previous back injury in 1990 during a compensation case before the Supreme Court in January.

Justice Debra Mullins awarded Mr Phillips $413,082, noting his prospect of continuing to work on a mine site would have been "extremely limited or minimal" and not worth quantifying.

Barrister Richard Morton, acting for the injured worker, argued in the Court of Appeal on Friday that the evidence did not support that finding and the justice did not explain why she had rejected medical evidence showing he was suitable for mining work.

He also submitted the justice had erred in her methodology for calculating damages and earning capacity.

Mr Morton said there was "powerful evidence" his client could have continued working at the mines, if not for his injury, into his early 60s.

"(The scraper) left the road. He left the seat, bounced around the cabin, hit his head on the roof, the seat bottomed out and he suffered a wedge fracture to L2 where it was never suggested he'd ever had any particular problem," he said.

Barrister Geoffrey Diehm, for MCG Group, argued medical professionals conceded Mr Phillips was overly ambitious and worked beyond his capacity.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision.



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