- How do I make a workers compensation claim?
If you have sustained an injury in the course of employment, you must undertake the following steps:
Step 1: notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible
Step 2: record the injury in the employer’s register of injuries
Step 3: be examined by your doctor and obtain a WorkCover Medical Certificate of Capacity from your general practitioner
Step 4: fill out a Worker’s Compensation Claim Form. Your employer is required to lodge the claim form to the insurer within 5 working days.
Step 5: Notify the insurer of the injury – the insurer’s details can be obtained from your employer who must provide to you when requested
Step 6: ensure that the WorkCover Medical Certificate of Capacity and all medical bills or expenses are given to your employer and a copy to the insurer
Once the insurer has been notified, the insurer will contact you and your employer within 14 days after receiving your claim form.
- Is there a time limit for making a WC claim?
A claim for WC should be made as soon as possible following an injury or otherwise within 6 months of the date of injury or incident. However, this 6 month time limit may be extended to 3 years but only in certain circumstances where there is a reasonable cause for not making the claim earlier. Examples of reasonable cause may include: absence from the State, mistake and the employee does not become aware of their injury until some time after.
- What benefits are you entitled to if the claim is accepted?
If your claim is accepted by the insurer, you will receive benefits under the Workers Compensation Act.
The major benefits include:
- Payment of weekly compensation
- Payment of lump sum compensation for permanent impairment
- Medical and hospital expenses
Other benefits include:
- Vocational rehabilitation expenses
- Death benefits and funeral expenses
- Compensation for damage to property (for example clothing)
- What if you are injured and cannot return to your usual job?
Your employer can offer you a modified or alternative position with the possibility of slightly reduced pay, depending on the job. If you refuse the accommodation, the insurer may not be obliged to provide further job placement or training assistance.
If your employer has no modified or alternate employment available, they will often need to provide you with vocational rehabilitation benefits. Vocational rehabilitation is designed to get you back into the labour force either through direct placement or retraining to another occupation.
- Can you be fired while you are on workers compensation claim?
If you are temporarily disabled on workers’ compensation, your employer may not discriminate against you by termination or lay-off. One exception to the rule might be if it is clear through medical evidence that you will be unable to return to your occupation. Another exception is, if your employer needs to replace your position because of business necessity, though the burden on the employer is very high, so they may instead hire a temporary employee rather than replace you.
- Will your workers compensation claim impact your future employment?
Understandably, prospective employers may be hesitant to employ someone who has previously made a workers’ compensation claim as the pre-existing injury poses an increased risk of liability. However, employers are generally not allowed to discriminate against someone who has previously made a workers’ compensation claim.
If you are a worker or prospective worker and you feel you have been discriminated against because of your work related injury or your previous workers compensation claim, you should seek legal advice about your workplace rights and entitlements.