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Unapproved shopping spree; journey claim rejected

  • Newsletter Article
  • Published 16.05.2023

Narse v ANZ Roofing Pty Ltd (NSWPIC 2023)

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Key Takeaways

This decision highlights the importance of critically examining a worker’s version as to how he/she sustained an injury when deciding whether or not to accept a claim.

In this case, a claim was accepted then disputed outright some 15 months later. Member John Isaaksen ultimately ruled that the worker was not in the course of employment when he sustained his injuries and therefore the worker also did not satisfy the provisions in s10(3A) of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (1987 Act) specifically the worker failed to show that there was a real and substantial connection between his employment and the motor vehicle accident (MVA) out of which his injuries arose.

Brief Facts

Liability was originally accepted for the worker’s claim of injuries flowing from a MVA on 1 May 2020 that occurred on the worker’s journey home after work but with a work-related deviation to collect materials for a job the following week.

Some 15 months later, the insurer disputed the claim outright on the basis that the worker’s injuries did not arise out of or in the course of employment (s4(a) of the 1987 Act) and, in the alternative, that there was no ‘real and substantial connection’ between employment and the MVA. The basis of the dispute was that, although the worker had originally been asked to pick up supplies on his way home, that request was later withdrawn and the worker was aware of that when he left work to go home.


Although Member Isaaksen did not find the worker had intentionally lied, he appeared persuaded by the respondent’s submissions that he may have ‘innocently reconstructed events on 1 May 2020 to assist his claim’.

In any event, Member Isaaksen was not satisfied that the worker had the requisite authority or permission to go to Bunnings that afternoon on his way home. Nor did the respondent induce or encourage the worker to do so. Accordingly, in line with the principles in Comcare v PVYW (HCA 2013), Member Isaaksen did not accept that the worker was in the course of his employment when he was involved in the MVA.

Because of his finding that the worker was not in the course of his employment when he was involved in the MVA, Member Isaaksen was obliged to also determine that there was no ‘real and substantial connection’ between the worker’s employment and the MVA out of which his injuries arose.


This case is a good example of no matter what injuries a worker claims and how he/she claims the injuries were sustained, it is always worthwhile closely examining the claimed mechanics of the claim and liaising with the employer about the worker’s versions of events.

Finally, although it is clearly not ideal to dispute a claim outright after accepting the claim, this case highlights that there is no legislative bar from doing so and the worker still bears the onus of proving injury on the balance of probabilities.