Knowledge base

Injured at work - what are my rights?

Can I make a workers’ compensation claim?

If you are an employee* who is injured because of your work you have the right to make a workers’ compensation claim to cover your medical costs and lost wages. Your employer cannot force you to take paid or unpaid leave instead of lodging a workers compensation claim.

*NOTE: Independent contractors generally cannot make a workers’ compensation claim against the company that engages them. Although sometimes sub-contractors can be accepted as workers and need to contact Workcover to ascertain eligibility.

Can I seek legal advice? 

Yes, you can. No matter how far along you are in the claims process, it’s not too late to obtain independent legal advice. In fact, it is recommended that you do not sign anything or settle your Statutory claim with WorkCover until you get personalised advice from a lawyer. What they offer you may not be what your work injury claim is actually worth. A lawyer may be able to help you to get a more favourable outcome.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Can I refuse an offer made by WorkCover?

If WorkCover makes you a lump sum compensation offer because you are assessed as having a permanent impairment, you can choose to either:

  1. Accept the offer and forego a common law claim, or
  2. For physical Injuries, Disagree with the offer and seek further assessment, or
  3. Reject the offer and pursue a common law claim.
  4. If you let the offer lapse you cannot reject or request further review of the assessment.
  5. If your injuries are assessed at 20% or above you can accept the offer and also pursue a common law claim.

However, your options may be more limited if you do not have grounds to bring a common law claim.

However, your options may be more limited if you do not have grounds to bring a common law claim. A common law claim is essentially suing your employer for negligence. Therefore, in order to bring this type of claim you must be able to prove that your injury resulted from some negligence on the part of your employer. This usually requires a complex analysis of the law and the circumstances of the incident. Therefore it is recommended that you obtain legal advice before making this decision. If your permanent impairment is assessed at less than 20%, once you commence a common law claim, you waive your entitlement to any lump sum offer made by WorkCover and you will not be able to accept it at a later time.

Can I return to my old job? 

Yes. If you make a Workcover claim you have the right to return to your former position once you are able, and to be treated as equal to other employees. Your employer cannot threaten to demote you, or change your position at work or treat you less favourably than other workers simply because of your injury. In fact, research indicates that returning to work as soon as possible is good for your mental and physical health and wellbeing. You can return to work even before you are 100% recovered. Your employer may have to modify or reduce the work that you were doing before you were injured until you are back at full capacity.

Can I be fired for making a workers’ compensation claim?

No. Your employer cannot fire you or threaten to fire you for making a workers compensation claim or reporting a workplace injury. Injured workers are protected from unfair dismissal and discrimination by many state and federal laws. In Queensland, your employer cannot fire you within 12 months after you became injured, solely because you are not fit for your employment because of your workplace injury. Your employer must take reasonable steps to provide rehabilitation and suitable work duties that you are able to do. However, if your illness or incapacity is not because of a workplace injury and not the subject of a WorkCover claim then your employer may be able to let you go you if you are unable to do your job properly.

What steps should I take to start a claim when injured at work?

  • Notify: inform your employer of your injury and how it happened in writing. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident report it to police as well. Make sure your employer notes it on their register of injuries.
  • Seek treatment: See your doctor as soon as possible to assess and treat your injuries. Ask your doctor to fill out a Workers’ Compensation Certificate.
  • Collect evidence: Start a folder where you keep all receipts, certificates, records, medical notes and reports relating to your injuries. If possible, take photos immediately after the incident of where it occurred and any visible injuries.
  • Lodge Claim: Fill out a WorkCover claim form online here or print and fill in a paper copy from here. Submit it to your employer or WorkCover directly together with all of your evidence.
  • Attend any medical examinations, and continue medical treatment and rehabilitation for your injuries.
  • Notify WorkCover of any changes to your condition.
  • Return to work as soon as possible.

Remember -strict time limits apply. It is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your rights and entitlements.

Talk to the Experts in WorkCover Claims Today

Smith's Lawyers are experts in work injury compensation and service clients Queensland wide from our Brisbane City and Gold Coast offices.

We offer a free case review, free initial home visits (in South East Queensland) and offer a truly risk-free promise, NO WIN. NO FEE. NO CATCH.

Get advice on your rights and entitlements today. Call our office on 1800 266 801, request a call back below or chat to us online via live chat.If you have been injured at work it is important to understand your legal rights and entitlements. The article below provides general information on rights for injured workers in Queensland. For advice specific to your situation, you should contact our expert team for a free case review on 1800 266 801, via live chat or contact form at the bottom of the page.

How helpful was this article?

Not at all
Not much
Sort of
Thanks for your feedback! This will help us improve our content.
If you still need help or guidance:
Contact us
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
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.

Next steps — get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

Get Advice Now