If you've injured yourself on the job and need time off to recover, you may be experiencing some financial strain due to the reduction in income and mounting medical costs.
Fortunately, in Australia employers must legally hold insurance covering their employees to prepare them for situations such as these. This means that you can make a claim for workers’ compensation to assist you as you recover.
What do I need to know before making a workers compensation claim?
You have the right to choose your doctor. Your employer may request that you attend their employer preferred doctor, or ask to accompany you to your medical appointment. It is important that you know that the choice of treating doctors is yours, and not your employer. Your employer should not be present during your examinations, these examinations are private as with any medical examination. You can attend with your usual treating General Practitioner for your workplace injury, or if you don’t have a regular doctor, you can find one of your choosing on recommendation from family or friends. The choice of doctor is completely yours.
At your initial attendance with your doctor describe how your injury occurred, the machinery/weights involved and physical movements you were undertaking when you first felt pain and, also confirm to your doctor if the pain spread for example down your legs or in your arms. Remember to tell your doctor of all the injuries you have sustained in the incident no matter how minor and/or psychological. It is more difficult to include injuries later on in your claim but is easy to withdraw them. Ask your doctor to provide you with a WorkCover Medical Certificate. You are required to provide a copy of this certificate to your employer. You do not need to wait for your employer to lodge this certificate with WorkCover you can do this yourself at the same time as you provide a copy to your employer or you can ask your medical practice to submit your certificate directly to WorkCover on your behalf. Once WorkCover receive your medical certificate they will be in touch with you directly, and thereafter determine if they have accepted or rejected your statutory Workers’ Compensation Claim which will pay for wage loss and treatment expenses depending on the working capacity and information outlined by your doctor in that certificate.
Be mindful of your communications with WorkCover because all your communications are recorded. WorkCover your employer’s insurer. It is not unusual in WorkCover to engage in surveillance of claimants. We may be able to assist in preparing your initial statement of the events to WorkCover and thereafter engage in communications with WorkCover on your behalf. Please contact us for further details.
If your claim is rejected by WorkCover, there are avenues of appeal but the timeframe is short and strict which is generally that an appeal must be lodged within 3 months of receiving the reasons for decision so it is important to speak to one of our lawyers as soon as possible form when your claim is rejected, otherwise you may lose your rights to bring a claim.
Be aware of time limitations. The timeframes to bring a workers compensation claim are complicated so it’s safer to bring your claim as soon as possible from when the incident occurred.
Generally, your Workers Compensation statutory claim for wage loss and medical treatment must be lodged with WorkCover within 6 months of the incident.
Even if you miss that timeframe, you might be able to still make a common law claim for negligence claim within 3 years of the incident.
It is very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to achieve the best outcome in your WorkCover claim.
You can undergo the workers’ compensation claims process even if your employer is uninsured
By law, employers need to have in place insurance to cover their employees. But the reality is some employers don’t have workers’ compensation insurance to help protect their employees’ interests. Employers can face hefty fines for not carrying the proper insurance coverage.
Can my employer discriminate against me if I make a workers compensation claim?
In short, no they should not, but in some instances they do. If you have been injured at work your first concern is to get the treatment you need to get your life back on track. You shouldn’t have to worry that taking action will give them a bad reputation, it is in everyone’s best interest that you get yourself better.
If your employer is discriminating against you when you are off due to injury or for making a workers’ compensation claim, you have every right to legally seek assistance to rectify this. Always remember, if you've suffered an injury at work, you're entitled to make a workers' compensation claim. Taking the time to rest, heal and receive medical treatment on your doctor's advice is likely to be better for you, and in the long run for everyone.
Remember, your workers’ compensation claim is against your employer's insurance policy, not personally against your employer.
How long does it take to get paid by workers’ compensation?
The sooner you make a WorkCover claim, the sooner you’ll receive a decision.
It takes WorkCover at least 20 days to assess a claim, meaning you won’t be paid during this period.
Are there workers’ compensation claim time limits?
It’s important to act quickly when claiming to avoid missing the legal time limits on workers’ compensation claims. Your time limit may vary according to the circumstances of your injury and the state or territory where it occurred — our workers’ compensation lawyers can provide you advice specific to your situation.
Shine Lawyers – Workers Compensation Claim Experts
If you are suffering from a work-related injury, we can help you to right wrong and get you back on track. Our expert team of workers’ compensation claim lawyers know the ins and outs of this particularly difficult area of the law.
If you have been involved in a workplace incident and you are not able to work and meet your financial obligations, please check if you have a claim using our online claim checker or call us for a free, no-obligation chat.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 23, 2021.