University of Technology Sydney

76116 Personal Injury Law in Practice

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Law
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


Personal injury compensation is a very significant area of practice for the Australian legal profession. Injured persons commonly seek guidance from legal practitioners to navigate the complexities of statutory compensation schemes and civil liability frameworks. Other clients including employers, insurers, governments and businesses also frequently seek expert guidance to ascertain and manage their legal liabilities in relation to personal injury claims.

In this subject students examine the key principles of Australian law governing the compensation of personal injuries. These include the relevant aspects of civil liability legislation relating to public liability, medical negligence and product liability claims, as well as the statutory schemes governing workers compensation, military veterans’ compensation, motor vehicle accidents and dust diseases

The classes are interactive and include guest presentations by current legal practitioners. Through collaborative in-class activities, case discussions and legal advices, students develop practical skills in researching and applying the relevant rules of law to advise hypothetical clients of their rights and options. Students also evaluate the effectiveness of Australia's current laws and the scope for law and policy reform.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Explain and critically analyse the development of the key legislation and general law principles governing the compensation for personal injuries in Australia
2. Apply relevant legislative rules and general law principles to solve legal problems involving the rights and liabilities of injured persons and other stakeholders, and provide written advices to hypothetical clients
3. Critically evaluate the adequacy of Australia’s current legal framework relating to the compensation of personal injuries, and where relevant the scope for the reform
4. Identify and evaluate appropriate electronic and paper-based information resources to assist in resolving practical legal problems involving the compensation for personal injuries in Australia

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes which reflect the course intended learning outcomes:

  • Legal Knowledge
    A coherent understanding of fundamental areas of legal knowledge including:
    a. The Australian colonial and post-colonial legal system, international and comparative contexts, theoretical and technical knowledge;
    b. The broader contexts within which legal issues arise and the law operates including cultural awareness, social justice and policy;
    c. The impact of Anglo-Australian laws on Indigenous peoples, including their historical origins in the process of colonisation and ongoing impact; and
    d. The principles and values of justice and ethical practices in lawyers' roles. (LAW.1.1)
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    A capacity to value and promote honesty, integrity, accountability, public service and ethical standards including:
    a. An understanding of approaches to ethical decision making and professional responsibility;
    b. An ability to recognise, reflect upon and respond to ethical issues likely to arise in professional contexts in ways that evidence professional judgment, promote justice and serve the community; and
    c. An ability to reflect on and engage constructively with diversity in practice. (LAW.2.1)
  • Critical Analysis and Evaluation
    A capacity to think critically, strategically and creatively, including the ability to:
    a. Identify and articulate legal issues in context, including the skill of critical reading and writing;
    b. Apply reasoning and research to generate appropriate responses;
    c. Engage in critical analysis and make a reasoned choice amongst alternatives; and
    d. Think creatively in approaching legal issues and generating appropriate responses. (LAW.3.1)
  • Research skills
    Well-developed cognitive and practical skills necessary to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues. (LAW.4.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategy 1 Independent learning

Student learning outside the classroom is a key learning strategy in this subject. Students will do a large part of the learning in this subject by completing all of the pre-class activities including watching relevant audio-visual materials posted on Canvas, reading, analysing and reflecting upon the assigned readings and undertaking online quizzes.

Strategy 2 - Interactive seminars

The seminars in this subject involve interactive class discussion between students and their peers and teachers about pre-assigned problems, exercises, audio-visual material and readings. Students will learn through practice-based exercises in seminars that will involve a range of common tasks that lawyers advising on personal injury matters are typically involved in, including client advice simulations, drafting exercises and class discussions. Several seminars will incorporate guest lectures from legal practitioners. During the seminars students will undertake a variety of practical exercises including class discussions of short problem scenarios on personal injury compensation scenarios, as they would do in legal practice.

Strategy 3 Feedback

Students will be provided with on-going feedback on their understanding of the weekly topics through in-class discussions of solutions to short problem questions towards the end of each class. Before the session Census date, a “Test your knowledge” multiple choice quiz will be available for student completion on Canvas to provide students with formative feedback on their understanding of civil liability legislation applying to the compensation of personal injuries resulting from negligence.

Content (topics)

1. Introduction and subject overview; Limitations legislation

2. The evolution of tort law in Australia; the 2002 Ipp Review of the Law of Negligence; Overview of civil liability legislation relating to personal injuries – particulary Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) Part 2 (Personal Injury Damages)

3. Civil liability for personal injuries:

  • Medical negligence
  • Product liability
  • Public liability
  • Dangerous recreational activities

4. NSW and other Australian workers compensation schemes

5. Current issues in workers compensation – psychological claims / workplace bullying

6. An overview of military operations and the history of the Australian Defence Force

7. Military compensation law

8. Motor vehicle accident compensation

9. Compensation of airline and marine (ie cruise ships) injuries

10. Superannuation and Total and Permanent Disability claims

11. Other injury compensation schemes - Victims of crime and Dust diseases


Assessment task 1: Class Participation


Active participation in the face-to-face classes provides students with the opportunity to discuss, resolve and reflect upon authentic problems and issues in the contemporary practice of personal injury law.

Through their active contributions to in-class problem-solving exercises, debates and discussion points, students will receive valuable formative feedback on their understanding of the principles of personal injury law.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 4

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.1, LAW.2.1 and LAW.4.1

Weight: 20%

500 words (equivalent)

  • Consistency of active contributions throughout the session;
  • Accuracy of information provided;
  • Depth of thinking and preparation demonstrated;
  • Appreciation of opposing viewpoints

Assessment task 2: Legal Advice Assignment


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 4

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.1, LAW.3.1 and LAW.4.1

Weight: 30%

1500 words

  • Accurate articulation of relevant legal issues
  • Application of relevant legal rules to problem scenario Analysis of opposing arguments
  • Clear and cogent application of relevant legal rules to the facts

Assessment task 3: Research Essay


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3 and 4

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.1, LAW.3.1 and LAW.4.1

Weight: 50%

1900 words

  • Clear formulation of a research question
  • Depth of analysis of a range of relevant legal information sources
  • Critical analysis of the effectiveness of existing law and policy
  • Clearly expressed and balanced arguments
  • Legal citation in accordance with the AGLC

Required texts

  • Pam Stewart and Anita Stuhmcke Australian Principles of Tort Law 4th Edition (Federation Press, 2017)
  • Neil Foster Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia 2nd Edition (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2016)

Recommended texts

  • Robin Creyke and Peter Sutherland Veterans Entitlements and Military Compensation Law 3rd Edition (Federation Press, 2016)
  • Peter Sutherland, John Oman Ballard and Allan Anforth Annotated Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 11th Edition (Federation Press, 2018)
  • H Luntz, D Hambly, K Burns, J Dietrich, N Foster G Grant S Harder Torts: Cases and Commentary 8th Edition (LexisNexis, 2017)
  • Harold Luntz Assessment of damages for personal injury and death: General principles (Sydney LexisNexis, 2005)
  • Dominic Villa Annotated Civil Liability Act (NSW) (Lawbook Co, 2d ed, 2013)
  • Mills Workers Compensation New South Wales (LexisNexis Online)
  • Australian Civil Liability (LexisNexis Butterworths – Online / Looseleaf)


  • Dean Churilov Personal Injury Compensation in Victoria (CCH Australia, 2017)
  • Michael Jones Medical Negligence 5th Edition (Sweet & Maxwell, 2018)
  • Peter Cane Atiyah’s Accidents, Compensation and the Law 8th Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Kate Lewins International Carriage of Passangers by Sea (Thomson Reuters, 2016)