How to Make a Compensation Claim

On any given day, in any given workplace, accidents occur due to many and varied reasons, usually due to employer negligence. Some accidents are minor and don’t require much more than an injury notification to be filed as per workplace health and safety requirements. Other times, more serious and life-changing accidents occur which require much more than just an injury notification being filed.

How often are serious workplace accidents occurring in Australian? Latest figures from Safe Work Australia report that during 2020 over 120,000 serious injury claims for workers compensation were made to the relevant state authorities. This figure doesn’t even touch the edge of people with injuries that went unreported.

There were also 194 fatalities due to workplace injuries during 2020, with Queensland being listed as the third highest state with 34 recorded fatalities, followed by Victoria in second place (51 fatalities) and New South Wales topping the count with 53 fatalities.

The types of work-related injuries reported include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Wounds and cuts
- Burns
- Fractures
- Psychological injuries

If you have sustained and injury through the course of your work and you cannot work to your capacity pre-injury, then it is time to seek legal advice with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. We will listen, we will advise you of your legal rights and we will guide you through the workers compensation legal process. If it’s time to talk, we’re here to help.

Talk with an experienced workers compensation lawyer to learn more.

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6 Steps to Making  a Workers Compensation Claim
1. Seek Medical Treatment
First and foremost, it's advisable to seek medical treatment for your injuries soon after your workplace accident and subsequent injury. Even if you think your injury is minor, there are many occurrences when the full extent of your injury is only revealed over time. It is highly important that you disclose to your doctor the circumstances that led to your injuries.

Follow all the advice from your medical practitioner and any rehabilitation and medical treatment recommendations they have for you. The main objective is getting your health back on track and your injuries recovered.
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2. Obtain a Certificate of Capacity
When you are seeking medical attention for any injuries following a workplace accident, not only is it important to let your treating doctor know the full back story of your injuries and how they occurred. Also mention at your visit that you will be seeking to make to lodge a workers compensation claim form for your injuries. Your treating doctor will issue you with a Certificate of Capacity, which is used by WorkCover Queensland as a part of their claims process along with your workers compensation claim form.

Your medical certificate 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
Workplace Health and Safety rules stipulate that every employer is required to have a process and policy for dealing with workplace injuries. Each and every employee should be inducted for injury management and the requirements for reporting injuries, this may include an injury log book or online system, speaking with a dedicated health and safety officer and filling out all relevant paperwork including an incident report and claim form.

If your workplace doesn’t have a policy in place for injury management, you can still give your employer written details of your injury; for example, by sending them an email. Be sure to keep a copy of any written notice and claim form for your own records. If you do not notify your employer in writing within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury, then your claim form may be void and rejected.
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4. Lodge Your Workers Compensation Claim
When you lodge your claim form, you will need to tell WorkCover Queensland when the incident happened, where and how. You will need a claim form complete with all these details. Along with your workers compensation claim form, you will need to attach your Certificate of Capacity, and submit it to your employer. Be sure to keep copies of the completed form and certificate for your own records and any other proof or documentation you send.
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5. Await the Outcome of Your Claim
WorkCover has to make a decision within 20 business days whether to accept or reject your claim. During this time WorkCover will contact your employer's insurer to commence investigations and if successful, they will work together to enable your payments to occur. You will also be contacted by WorkCover to provide any further information they may need to finalise your claim.
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6. Get in Touch with Smith’s Lawyers
If your claim is rejected, or if you haven’t received a response at all from WorkCover, it’s vital to get in touch with our team of expert workers compensation lawyers to discuss your options.
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Claiming on Behalf of a Loved One
If someone dies at work from a work-related accident or illness, you may be able to claim for dependency.

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's 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.
How Do Workers Compensation Claims Work?
If your claim accepted, there are different types of payments and support available, depending on your circumstances.

You may be compensated for lost wages. If this is the case, your employer will generally pay your first week's compensation (as the employer’s excess) and your claim through WorkCover will manage your payments after that, while you’re unable to work (within certain limitations).

WorkCover will also cover other expenses relating to your compensation claim, like rehabilitation and any costs related to getting you back to work.

If however you choose not to claim statutory benefits (for e.g. weekly compensation, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs etc.) You might want to move forward with a common law claim (this means you will sue your employer for damages if they're deemed at fault for your injury, this will be a direct claim against your employer's insurer). At this stage it is advisable to seek legal advice from our team of experienced personal injury lawyers.

On the other hand, if your WorkCover claim is rejected, you may dispute the decision.

The process for disputing a WorkCover can be complex and varies from state to state. It is highly advisable to seek assistance from one of our workers compensation experts, they are highly skilled in all workers compensation legal milestones and can explain your options and assist you with having your claim reviewed.

It’s important to keep in mind that in many states, once your claim has been denied, there is a time limit for applying for, or beginning, the dispute process.
How Long Does a Claim Take to Complete?
Every claim for compensation is different and depends on your individual circumstances. Some injuries will be straightforward when it comes time to make a claim, but there will be times where you have complex injuries and the claims process may take longer than expected. Overall, WorkCover Queensland should make a decision on your claim in 20 business days or less, as governed by legislation.
Am I Entitled to Make a Workers Compensation Claim?
The state-based workers compensation scheme provides financial support to you if you are injured at work or become sick due to your work conditions or the type of work you do. Workers compensation payments cover your wages while you’re unable to work, payments for medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, and lump sum payments if your injury is deemed permanent. It can also include payments to families for work-related deaths.

In Queensland, you will deal with WorkCover Queensland for all workers compensation claims. In order for your workers compensation claim form to be accepted by WorkCover they will use the following questions as a basis of their criteria for accepting your claim.
- Has your claim been made in the right timeframe?
- Were you working for the employer when you were injured?
- Are you considered to be a worker?
- Did a work-related incident cause your injury?
- Was your job a significant contributing factor to your injury?

As every claim is different and every worker and injury are different, there are many contributing factors that will also form the criteria for being eligible to make a claim for compensation.
At times, different criteria might be applied to your claim. This can be the case with injuries like:
- Psychological and psychiatric injuries
- Industrial deafness
- Injuries travelling to from or for work or on scheduled breaks
- Aggravated injuries or ongoing symptoms
- Work-related respiratory diseases or diseases contracted while doing your job, for example Q-fever.
- Death caused by a work-related event or by illnesses like silicosis or malignant skin cancer, that develop over a long period of time.

If you are uncertain about your legal rights for claiming compensation it's best to speak with one of our experienced lawyers. To ensure we maximise your compensation claim, we will ensure that you have access to the following compensation:

- Medical and like expenses, including any necessary operations
- Rehabilitation costs
- Time off work and loss of wages
- Permanent impairment costs
- Loss of future earnings if serious injury occurs.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Workers Compensation Claim?
It costs nothing to gain legal advice when it comes to workers compensation claims. The legislation surrounding personal injury law is not easy to understand, you may not meet the necessary time limitations to make a claim and the court system in general can be very confusing with those not legally trained.

It’s really helpful to have an experienced and understanding lawyer by your side who can help you navigate your way through the system and explain the evidence you will need to complete your claim and dispute your rejected WorkCover claim. Having Smith’s Lawyers on your side will ensure that you receive all the compensation you're entitled to under the relevant workers compensation scheme.

Engaging a workers compensation lawyer means you can be sure your claim meets all legal requirements. If it’s time to talk, we are here to help. Get in touch today.
Lodge A "No Win No Fee" Claim
If you suffer injuries while at work, you don't have to worry about the whole process of making your claim or the legal fees involved. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer free consultation services for injured workers looking to kickstart their claims. As mentioned before, we also have a no-win no fee, no catch policy.
Get in touch with us to give yourself the best opportunity to receive the maximum compensation possible for your claim.
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Thank you to Yasmine Chalvatzis, Vivian Lee, and to their supportive team members in helping me through this difficult trying time. I am very grateful for their assistance, and happy with the final outcome. I would also like to thank Jeremy Wiltshire, Barrister-at-law, who along with Yasmine, helped to bring a resoluti

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Raymond McKenzie

Absolutely fantastic service from the team at Smith’s from start to finish. Emily was amazing in communicating everything, making sure I was aware of everything and was well informed before making decisions. She took the time to explain the ins and outs of my case and made sure to ease my mind with every concern I had.

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Hayden Wilson

What a beautiful experience to have worked with Smith lawyers! Such a kind and trusting company. I worked with Emily on my case and am blown away with her work and kindness. Very happy! Thank You so much.

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Bhodi Wells

I would like to thank smith's lawyers and especially Stephen for the hard work for my TPD claim. Having you to take the pressure off in this whole accident has been a great relief. I highly recommend to anyone seeking help to contact Stephen and kay at smith's lawyers. Thanks again so much.

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