Has your work injury claim been accepted as being caused by your employment under WorkCover? If so, your employer is legally liable for any compensation which is required in order to provide you with treatment. As part of your compensation you can claim for all reasonable costs associated with treating your injury. In some cases the treatment you need to get will require you to travel.
If you are travelling more than 20km away from your home in order to receive treatment you can claim for the cost of seeking this treatment. WorkCover will cover the costs of necessary and reasonable travel expenses including travel that you need to undertake for medical treatment, a medical assessment tribunal appointment, and independent medical examination appointments.
As stated above, being injured at work may require certain treatment by specialists and allied health professionals. Despite this, you may live in an area where the nearest treating specialist is over 20km away from your home. If this is the case, you can claim the cost of travelling in each direction so long as the treatment or rehabilitation you need was not available within 20km from your house. You can claim for things like attending a hospital, or going to see a physiotherapist.
You cannot travel to a preferred treating specialist who is further away from your home and claim this travel. If there is treatment reasonably available within 20km of your home then this negates the eligibility to claim travel expenses.
When making a claim for travel expenses you can claim the cost of parking, tolls, cost of petrol, and some meal allowances when travelling to get treatment and/or rehabilitation. You need to submit any claims for travel expenses within six months of the date of your travel.
WorkCover considers a range of transportation as claimable, including travelling in your own private car and travelling by public transport. You may also, with prior approval, claim for travel in the form of taxi, Uber, private ambulance, air ambulance, or by plane. Any prior approval must be provided by treating health professional who states that the injured person cannot travel by private motor vehicle or public transport due to their work related injury.
Lydia, who lives on a property near Townsville, was injured at work and hurt her back to the extent that she was unable to sit in a vehicle for longer than 15 minutes. She had to be lying down in order to travel. Her nearest treating hospital was 35km away. Her surgeon was able to write an approval stating that Lydia needed to travel by ambulance to her appointments. Lydia submitted this for approval to WorkCover and was able to claim for the cost of this travel.
WorkCover will reimburse you for costs you sustain as part of your travel provided that the costs are reasonable and necessary.
WorkCover will assess claims for medical travel and will examine the purpose of the travel along with the ability of the injured person to use certain modes of transport. Claims will also be assessed to examine whether the most direct route was taken, and how many other comparable services are available in the area.
When submitting a claim for medical travel and you travelled in a private vehicle you need to submit the address of both the start and finish destinations, the dates and the times that you travelled, how far you travelled in total, and any parking or toll receipts which you incurred. Note that any parking or traffic fines which you incur are not payable, nor is any travel for a non-injury purpose.
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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