What is the difference between a WorkCover claim and a common law claim?


If you've been injured at work in Queensland, you may be eligible to claim workers compensation through either a statutory WorkCover Claim or a common law claim. While both claims aim to support and compensate injured workers, they differ significantly in various aspects. Understanding these differences can empower you to make informed decisions about your rights and entitlements.

In the simplest terms, a statutory WorkCover claim, governed by WorkCover Queensland (or you employers 'self insurer'), provides compensation to an injured worker regardless of who was at fault. On the other hand, common law claims provide injured workers the opportunity to sue their employer for negligence, presenting the potential for higher compensation, but proof of fault is required.

  • WorkCover claims are 'no-fault' claims, meaning compensation can be received regardless of who was responsible for the accident. With common law claims, the employer (or another party) must be proven negligent and at least partially at fault for the injuries sustained. This could be due to factors such as inadequate training, lack of safety equipment, fault equipment, not keeping the working environment safe or asking you to do something unsafe such as excessive lifting.
  • WorkCover claims provide immediate assistance with medical costs, rehabilitation services, and loss of earnings. However, common law claims can take a longer time but potentially offer much larger payouts to compensate for future lost income and other damages.
  • All work injury claims start by opening a statutory WorkCover claim (or claim via your employer's self insurer if that applies). Once you have that claim open, which will provide help with weekly lost wages and medical costs, you can consider starting a common law claim if negligence contributed to your injury. Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace, so common law claims are often an option for more serious injuries. An expert workers compensation lawyer can help you determine this. We offer free initial advice and all claims are run with no upfront costs or risks.
  • It is crucial to seek legal advice before deciding to accept a lump-sum payment from WorkCover as doing so may impact your rights to further compensation.

Last updated:
November 13, 2023

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 help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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