Workers' compensation benefits guide QLD

Being afforded a safe and secure workplace is a major consideration every employer needs to have in place for all Australian employees. We are quite fortunate to have some of the safest work practices in the world, but accidents do happen and sometimes they can be fatal. When major accidents occur in the workplace, they can have a ripple affect on all employees, particularly those that witnessed the accident or assisted the injured before help arrived.

The workers compensation scheme is in place to ensure that if you are injured at work or through the course of your work you are entitled to compensation to assist you when you are injured. The following workers compensation benefits guide outlines what you may be entitled to, how payments are calculated and what you should expect if you ever need to make a claim for compensation. This in no way replaces the benefits that you get by speaking with one of our experienced workers' compensation lawyers, but it will give you a flavour of what to expect through the process.

What compensation benefits are workers entitled to?

  • Medical care benefits: This component of your claim covers surgeries, doctor visits, emergency room care, medications, physical therapy, and other treatments for your work-related injuries. It can also cover any equipment you might need for your recovery.
  • Rehabilitation benefits: This part of the compensation claim covers any rehabilitation or medical care you need to cope and recover from your injuries. They may also include any training necessary to help you regain your employment as it was before your accident. Rehabilitation benefits can also offer support to if you are permanently disabled or you can’t return to your employment ever.
  • Weekly benefits: If you are not able to work at all or are only able to work for some of the time due to your injuries, weekly benefits can cover part of your lost wages.
  • Death benefits: Death benefits are given to a deceased employee’s dependents if a worker dies due to work-related injuries. These particular benefits also pay for funeral and burial expenses.

All these benefits have different payment options which once your claim is accepted by WorkCover Queensland, you will be assessed as to which payment option is best for your circumstances. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers have many years’ experience with dealing in workers compensation claims, they know what you should be entitled to and they know the legal means by which you can claim compensation.

The following is a workers compensation benefits guide for the types of payments you may be eligible for and what they mean by way of benefits to you during your recovery.

Weekly Payments

Weekly payments are the most common way in which injured workers are paid workers compensation benefits. The sum of weekly benefits that you are entitled to be paid by WorkCover Queensland or a self insurer depends on a number of things including the date of your injury, the length of time that you need take off work and whether you are employed under an industrial award. Once those factors are determined, your WorkCover payments are then calculated as a percentage of your weekly wage.

How this type of benefit works

Once you have been awarded weekly payments for your benefits you will be paid at a percentage of your income prior to your injury. The payment rates are as follows:

  • up to 26 weeks = 85% of normal wages*
  • 26 weeks to 104 weeks = 75% of normal wages*
  • 104 weeks + = If the worker is unfit for work after two years, compensation will depend on degree of impairment. If they are expected to have an injury resulting in a DPI of more than 15%, then they will receive 75% of their normal wages.

The weekly normal wages are based on the wages you had received from their employer in the 12 months before their injury.

If you started work with that employer recently or do not have 12 months' employment history, WorkCover or the insurer will base your earnings on what you have earned in the time they have been employed.

If that is not possible, WorkCover or the insurer may use another employee's earnings as a guide. This means someone else who was employed by the same employer, under the same award

Permanent Impairment

Permanent impairment occurs when you have been left with a permanent degree of impairment and your injuries have reached maximum medical improvement. Meaning you are not likely to completely recover from your injuries . You may also be eligible for a lump sum payment for your permanent impairment.

Examples of permanent impairment can include spinal cord injury, amputation, disfigurement, severe mental disorder, or permanent loss of movement.

How this type of benefit works

In order to be deemed to have a permanent impairment you will need to have an indepedent doctor assess your degree of permanent impairment (DPI) after your injuries have stabilised.

Once your doctor has assessed you, they will issue you a document known as ‘Notice of Assessment’ from WorkCover Queensland, which will offer you a workers compensation lump sum payment to finalise your statutory claim.

A lump sum payment is based on a set calculation and generally smaller than a common law claim for damages. If your DPI is 20% or above, you are entitled to accept lump sum compensation as well as pursue common law damages.

If your DPI is less than 20%, you must make choice between: accepting your WorkCover permanent impairment lump sum and finalise your statutory claim, or claiming a common law damage in order to recover damages for the work injury, as well as pain and suffering, loss of past and future income, past and future treatment needs, superannuation benefits, and interest on damages.

Medical, hospital & rehabilitation expenses

When you claim for workers compensation you are also able to claim for medical expenses. Once your claim is accepted, WorkCover will pay your injury-related medical and rehabilitation costs as long as they’re considered reasonable and medically necessary. This benefit covers such things like:

  • treatment by a registered medical or allied health practitioner (doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, etc.)
  • any medical items that are needed as you recover, like dressings and medicines
  • hire of equipment like crutches and wheelchairs
  • return to work services that support your recovery (including finding alternative suitable employment if possible)
  • travel expenses related to your treatment.

How this type of benefit works

Any medical expenses will need to be documented and shown to WorkCover, they will only pay up to the listed set fee amounts, and you will still pay the difference yourself. If your treating doctors charge you more over the fees then you will have larger out of pocket expenses that are not covered by WorkCover.

WorkCover will generally not cover any treatments done by non-registered practitioners. The sorts of treatments not covered include most alternative medicine treatments like massage and acupuncture (unless they’re provided by someone like a doctor or physiotherapist or registered Chinese Medicine practitioner).

You should note that there are limits to what you can claim.

Death benefits & funeral expenses

If your family member or loved one is injured at work and the work injuries are so serve, they cause a fatality, workers compensation death benefits are available to assist with the following:

  • Provide financial support for the deceased’s family
  • Cover funeral and burial expenses

For death benefits to apply, the employee must have died from a work-related injury or illness. That means an on-the-job death that occurs outside of normal work activity might not be covered.

How this type of benefit works

If you’re making a claim, we’ll need you to show:

  • the cause of the person’s death,
  • your relationship to the person who has died, and
  • your dependence on the person who has died.

Before lodging a claim on behalf of someone else it is important you seek legal advice with one of our personal injury lawyers. Our team of dedicated lawyers will ensure you receive the maximum compensation available as a dependent.

Things to consider when looking to claim workers compensation benefits

Provide as many details as you can

When you visit your doctor to be checked over after your workplace accident, they should document for you your medical history and note what happened to you. It's crucial to take this opportunity to provide your doctor with any further information and accurate details of the accident. If there are any issues about the cause of your injury, your doctor may need to know exactly how the work injury happened. You should also let your doctor know that you are making a workers' compensation claim, your doctor can issue you a Workers' Compensation medical certificate, which you need when you lodge a compensation claim.

Be wary of making statements

It is important to note, do not make statements to your employer or investigators, leave these sorts of conversations to your legal team to have. There have been instances where this has happened and honest claimants have then had trouble getting their claims accepted after they have provided statements, as they haven't appreciated the significance of the document they are signing. If in doubt, get advice legal advice from one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.

Know what to do if your compensation claim is rejected

If your WorkCover claim is rejected, you have the right to dispute the decision. It's very important to seek legal advice about your rejected claim rather than give up because you’re worried about the ramifications or legal costs of challenging a rejection of your WorkCover claim. At Smith’s Lawyers you are protected by Queensland's first risk-free compensation promise: No Win, No Fee, No Catch®. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court, and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else – so you have nothing to lose to have a chat with us.

How to claim workers' compensation benefits

1. Seek medical treatment

Even if you think your injuries are minor, there are many occurrences when the full extent of your injuries are only revealed over time. It is highly important that you disclose to your doctor the circumstances that lead to your injuries. Be sure to follow the advice of your healthcare provider and any treatment recommendations they have for you. The main objective is getting your health back on track and your injuries recovered.

2. Obtain a Work Capacity Certificate

When you are seeking medical attention for any injuries be sure to mention at your visit that you will be seeking to make a workers compensation claim. Your doctor will issue you with a Work Capacity Certificate, this is used by WorkCover Queensland as a part of their claims process.

It will be used to understand your capacity for work and the nature of your injury or illness and the treatment required for a safe and durable recovery.

3. Report your injury to your employer

Be sure you keep a copy of any written notice for your own records. It is also helpful to immediately notify your employer about any workplace injuries

4. Lodge your workers compensation claim

When you lodge your claim, you will need to tell WorkCover Queensland when the incident happened, where and how. You will need to also provide the Work Capacity Certificate. Be sure to keep copies for your own records and any other proof or documentation you send.

5. Await the outcome of your claim

WorkCover has to make a decision within 20 business days whether to accept or reject your claim.

6. Get in touch with Smith’s Lawyers

If your claim is rejected, or if you haven’t received a response at all, it’s vital to get in touch with our team of expert workers compensation lawyers to discuss your options.

Do I need a lawyer?

Seeking legal advice isn’t required to make any compensation claim in Queensland, you are more than able to represent yourself when making a personal injury compensation claim.

Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will be able to guide you through the compensation legal process and assist you to obtain and access all possible avenues to compensation. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will help you to navigate the complex legal landscape.

It costs nothing to speak with one of our team of personal injury lawyers, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice if your workplace injury is preventing you from returning to suitable employment to your full potential and your work capacity and subsequent earning capacity is at risk. If it’s time to talk, we’re here to help. Get free advice direct from our experienced team of solicitors today., you deserve the maximum amount payable through a workers compensation claim.

Get expert advice today

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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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