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2.3.4 Evidence must support liability to pay compensation


Liability to pay compensation does not exist simply because of an allegation of an injury and lodgement of a claim for compensation. All matters arising under the SRCA require the Delegate to be satisfied that it is reasonable and appropriate to find the Commonwealth liable to pay compensation in a particular case before actually determining liability in the claimant's favour.

If the Delegate is satisfied, by the evidence available in a particular case, that liability can or should reasonably be found in the claimant's favour, then it is appropriate to do so. However, if after having made sufficient efforts to investigate and establish the circumstances of the accident, the Delegate is not satisfied, either that an injury was sustained as claimed, or that a medical condition suffered by the claimant is probably the result of such an accident (if it probably occurred), then the Delegate has a duty to the Commonwealth to deny liability to pay compensation under the SRCA. Of course the claimant should be allowed a final opportunity to provide evidence to support the claim and the Delegate must provide reasons for their decision should they be denying a claim. The reconsideration and appeals processes for which the SRCA provides exist to be used by claimants in this type of situation, or in relation to any decision with which the claimant (or the Commonwealth) may disagree.

The Tribunals and the Courts frequently make judgements in the matters they hear regarding the veracity of applicants and witnesses and of the weight which should properly be accorded to any evidence they give or statements they may make. Similarly, Delegates have a right to satisfy themselves as to the truthfulness of a claimant and the merit of any statements or claims that the claimant may make. Some claimants may have proven themselves to be unreliable witnesses or not always truthful in the claims they make. In such a situation, it may be appropriate to deny liability for a particular claim. On the other hand, if a claimant has in the past shown himself/herself to be open and honest in his/her dealings with the RCG, more credence might reasonably be given to any statement or claim that that claimant may make.

Just as it is appropriate to allow a claimant an opportunity to provide evidence to support a claim for compensation (particularly where it is proposed to deny or to cease liability), so too is it appropriate, in some circumstances, to allow the Commonwealth an opportunity to object to a finding of liability if it wishes to do so.