Whether you wish to make a statutory WorkCover claim or a common law work injury claim, you must start by lodging a statutory claim.
Being injured at work can be traumatic. It is important to know what your rights are if you have been injured so that you can take steps towards recovery with the appropriate compensation in place.
Recovering from any kind of injury is stressful, let alone having to manage an injury while you are going through a WorkCover claim. Many people who have been injured are the sole or majority income providers in their household, so they are naturally worried about income and compensation.
WorkCover is there to compensate workers who have been injured while at work, so whether you wish to make a statutory WorkCover claim or a common law work injury claim, you must start by lodging a statutory claim.
Here’s what you need to do to commence your statutory WorkCover claim successfully:
It is important to lodge your claim as soon as is reasonably possible. Some employers will have in-house rehabilitation, and other employers will offer various programs to get you back on your feet – but note that some employers will offer these programs without requiring a claim. You do not want to move beyond any applicable time limits and risk missing out on appropriate compensation.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed and to have a lot of questions; after all, this is likely not a situation you have experienced before and there is a lot to do. Some of the common questions people have when they have been injured at work include:
In most cases you will need to tell your immediate supervisor. Of course, it will probably also be necessary to let the manager or owner of your business know as well, but that may fall to your supervisor to do. Once you let your employer know you have been injured you may be required to fill out an incident report.
It is a requirement under the Act that your employer assist you in lodging your claim. However, you’re not obligated to allow your employer to help you, and if you want to deal with the claim yourself you can lodge with WorkCover directly. If your employer is self-insured, you can also lodge with the self-insurance team at work workplace.
Every employee in Queensland has to be insured under their employer’s insurance. This insurance is there to protect you in the event that you are injured. If for some reason your employer is reluctant for you to make a claim for WorkCover it is important that you do so regardless. It can be helpful to track some details of your incident and any further correspondence. Things like:
You are not obligated to report your WorkCover claim through your employer, and in fact you can lodge it directly through WorkCover. If your employer is not assisting you with your claim it’s vital that you seek legal advice, so you know what your rights are.
Your employer may recommend a doctor, but you are not obliged to use them. Again, if your injuries are severe enough to require immediate medical attention you should prioritise your treatment. But once your initial treatment is taken care of you can then attend your preferred doctor for treatment. Further into a claim you may be asked to go for an 'Independent Medical Examination' (IME) by WorkCover or your employees insurer.
Your employer may ask you to sign a form allowing them to access your medical information from your doctor. You are not obligated to sign anything. There are privacy laws in place to protect the information shared between you and your doctor.
How much you get paid while on WorkCover will depend on how much you are able to work. If you are on total incapacitation you will be paid 85% of your Normal Weekly Earning (NWE) for the first six months that you are unable to work, and then you will receive 65% of your NWE after that. Your employer might have you working on alternative duties which means you will be paid 100% for the work you are doing, and then you’ll also receive 85% if the difference between your ordinary wage and the wage for the job you are doing while you recover. More info here.
At some point you will stop being paid ongoing payments from WorkCover and will be assessed with a permanent impairment rating if the impacts are long term. This will result in a lump sum offer. In many cases then accepting this will waive your right to a compensation claim via a work injury lawyer.
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.
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