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How Long Do You Have to Report a Workplace Injury to WorkCover?

WorkCover is an insurance scheme provided by the Government which provides ‘no fault’ cover in the event of an injury. If you are a worker who has been injured, and your injury arose out of or in the course of your employment you can seek compensation through WorkCover. 

Reporting a workplace injury

Workplace injuries can be traumatic, and you may need time off work to recover from your injuries. Despite this, there are certain time limits which must be adhered to in order for a claim to be validly lodged with WorkCover.

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What is the time limit on reporting a workplace injury with WorkCover?

As a rule you need to ensure you inform your employer that you have been injured as soon as practicable. After you have informed your employer you have six months after your injury took place to report your claim to WorkCover to be eligible to receive compensation. 

Time limits to report a workplace injury

The date of your injury is the standard date from which a time limit for reporting is assessed, but can also be assessed by the day on which you are examined by a doctor, nurse, or dentist. 

  • The time limit for reporting your injury may be waived by WorkCover if the delay was caused by a mistake, reasonable cause, or if you were absent from Queensland
  • If you have special circumstances which have prevented you from lodging your application, WorkCover must waive the six month time limit if determined by a Medical Assessment Tribunal

Note that time limits for lodging your application to WorkCover dictate that if you lodge your application more than 20 business days after you injury, WorkCover will only be liable to pay compensation no more than 20 business days before the day your application was lodged.

What is the process for lodging a WorkCover application? 

Workcover application process

When you have been injured at work and you are not at fault you need to make an application to WorkCover within the six month period to be eligible for compensation. You will need to have two key documents to apply; a WorkCover claim form and a WorkCover medical certificate.

  • You can get a WorkCover medical certificate from a medical practitioner, a nurse, or a dentist - depending on the level of severity of your injury and where you have been injured.
  • Your medical certificate needs to be lodged with your claim form.

You can lodge your claim form to WorkCover in a number of ways including over the phone, in person, by fax, or online. You will also need to give a copy of your claim form to your employer, and you will need to keep a copy for yourself, noting the date that you lodged your claim.

How long will it take for my claim to be accepted by WorkCover? 

After you have lodged your claim form and medical certificate to WorkCover, there is a period of 20 business days in which WorkCover must decide whether to accept your application for compensation. 

  • WorkCover can ask you for more information about your injury and how it happened
  • You may be asked to provide more proof of your injury and how it was caused
  • If asked, you may have to attend a medical appointment with a WorkCover doctor to be assessed independently

When WorkCover assesses your claim they will be ensuring that your claim is sufficiently detailed to make a judgement about your injuries and the claim you are making. Any request for more information will be done so that WorkCover can make an appropriate assessment. 

What happens after my claim has been accepted? 

Receiving WorkCover compensation wages

Once you have made a successful claim for WorkCover compensation within the appropriate time limits you will be paid weekly compensation in substitution for your weekly wage. The payment that you receive from WorkCover will not form the full amount of your salary; you will be paid:

  • 85% of your normal weekly earnings for the first 26 weeks that you are off work; and then
  • 75% of your normal weekly earnings for any period between 26 weeks and five years. 

Note that if you are deemed to be unfit for work after two years has elapsed there will likely be an assessment of permanent incapacity for work. This can result in a payment of a lump sum amount instead of ongoing compensation.

Is there a time limit on applying for a lump sum payment for permanent impairment? 

If you are deemed to be permanently impaired as a result of your workplace injury (this will need to be assessed by a medical professional) you may be entitled to receive a lump sum payment from WorkCover. 

There is no time limit on applying for this payment, so long as WorkCover originally accepted liability for your claim for weekly payments and medical expenses relating to your injury.

  • You can request for an assessment of permanent impairment, or WorkCover may suggest that you are assessed.
  • Any assessment of permanent impairment should not be completed until your injury has stabilised and looks like it is unlikely to improve with further medical, surgical, or rehabilitative treatment. 

What happens if WorkCover rejects my claim? 

Time limits to apply for a claim appeal

If you have been rejected in your claim by WorkCover you have the right to appeal this. Or, if a decision has been made to terminate your payment and you do not believe it is correct, you have options to appeal or review this decision. 

There are strict time limits which apply to appeal a decision by WorkCover and it is vital that you seek legal advice if a decision has been made which you do not agree with. 

  • You have 20 days from the date of your decision to request a decision document from WorkCover. 
  • If you wish to appeal you have 90 days from the date of the decision document letter to apply for a review. 

It is important to note that legal advice can assist you in identifying if you have a good case for appeal or review. If you have received a decision that you believe is incorrect, it may be worth speaking to a legal professional to find out what your rights are and where you stand.

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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