Who Pays Workers' Compensation?

All employers in Queensland are required to hold workers compensation insurance for their employees. The majority of Queensland employees are covered by WorkCover Queensland. In the event of a work-related injury, any approved weekly payments will be made by the insurer, e.g. WorkCover Queensland.

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Remember, under WorkCover, it doesn’t matter whether injury occurs at the employer’s fault or at the worker’s fault – compensation will still be paid.

It can be useful to know that WorkCover is a no fault scheme if you are concerned about the impact a claim will have on your relationship with an employer.

Don’t forget that:

  • The scheme requires employers to hold insurance within 5 days of employing you – or penalties apply.  If you are injured at work and your employer does not have insurance, you have the right to contact WorkCover and they will manage this process.
  • Even though  you lodge a claim with WorkCover, you should notify your employer as soon as injury occurs.
  • The employer has an obligation to arrange for rehabilitation and facilitate your return to work.  You can use this as an opportunity to work with the employer to help improve their health and safety policies and procedures.

Of course, where you feel that your injury has been contributed to by either the employer or a fellow employee’s carelessness or fault, a claim in negligence may also be available to you.

In this instance, or in the case where your employer does not hold insurance as it is required do, it is possible that a less-than-professional boss may allow this to impact their relationship with you.  This is even though the injury or damage that has occurred is not your fault.

This is particularly because, for example, where WorkCover is required to step in and manage the compensation (because your employer has not taken out insurance), WorkCover has the right to recover amounts from the employer.  We’re talking the employer being required to pay compensation and damages, plus penalties, in amounts potentially upwards of $1million.

Along with the risk that this results in an expensive lesson for the employer, also comes the risk that they see you as the trigger (despite your not having done anything wrong).

The other aspect to lodging a claim which employers don’t like so much, is that it then hikes their insurance premiums up.  They should, however, view this as an opportunity to review their current practices to ensure that whatever went wrong does not happen again.  This process could in fact be something that an injured employee could offer to assist with in the process of returning to work.

Consider offering to assist your workplace to develop new policies and procedures as part of your return to work, and a way to tackle these issues collaboratively [call out

If your boss mentions an increased insurance premium because of your claim, it can really impact your relationship with them and make you feel bad – again for something that is not your responsibility.  Try to remember that it is the employer in this situation who is acting unprofessionally.

Where the business uses motor vehicles, employers must also take out compulsory third party insurance.  Other compulsory insurance may be required, for example, in specific industries like construction.  These types of insurance are intended to cover third parties who might suffer damage or injury as a result of the work that you as an employee are carrying out for your employer.

If the employer needs to call on those types of compulsory insurance in the event of, say, a motor vehicle accident and it turns out that they need to pay an excess, they may again view you as the source of this expense.  Employers are always advised to act professionally and to prioritise your health and recovery, but ultimately how this is managed depends on the people you are dealing with.

Like all of these cases, the way they are handled depends on the people you’re dealing with.  The key is knowing your rights, knowing when your employer is not honouring those, and knowing what to do when that happens.  Your health and safety should never suffer as a result of an unprofessional or careless employer or your fellow employees.

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.

Last update on:
May 29, 2018
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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