We have car, health and home insurance and no one thinks twice about making a claim when something goes wrong.
But when it comes to injury compensation, there's a "bludger" stigma that surrounds people making a claim, which can be quite frustrating for people who are injured and can even discourage some from getting the help they need.
Here is the truth behind 5 common compensation myths.
1. You Won't Be Able to Get a Job if You Claim Compensation
People who are in need of compensation are often in desperate situations. They are in pain and cannot work - and then on top of all this, think that if they make a claim they could have trouble finding work in their industry again.
Many try to wait it out and see if they get better and cop the time off, and others try and work through it and end up making the injury worse.
The truth is that claiming compensation is your right in the workplace. No employer can refuse to hire you purely based on the fact that you've made a compensation claim - it's discrimination.
It's true that a previous injury could prevent you from performing tasks in a new job but you can't be fired or denied work because you've chosen to exercise your workplace rights. Make sure you know your rights in your workplace and don't be afraid to get the help you need.
2. You Can Sue Over Anything
We've all read about ridiculous law suits in America, like the lady who sued Universal Studios because it's Halloween Horror Nights Haunted House was too scary, or the two crooks who broke into a property and sued the owner for over 24 million because they were injured.
Fortunately in Australia, we have rules in place to prevent people making outlandish claims.
We have tight regulations provisioning what people can sue for and strict limitations on the amount they can claim. Also our laws are proportional towards an amount that signifies the actual loss someone has incurred.
3. People Who Make a 'Compo' Claim are Set for Life
This is a big misconception and often one that leads to people having unrealistic expectations about how much someone receives after making a compensation claim.
The truth is that compensation for an injury is calculated by a number things:
- predicted impact on future earnings
- expected recovery time
- medical costs
- past loss of earning
- pain and suffering
Essentially, any money received by an injured person will compensate them for their loss, not set them up for life. Having an injury that seriously impacts your life can affect you in ways that can't be compensated by money, so really, anyone who has a serious injury is never better off.
4. It's Easy to Fake a Compensation Claim
Faking a compensation claim isn't as easy as getting a doctors cert and chucking a sickie at work. Most workplaces have set processes to follow after an injury including reporting the incident and any hazards.
Procedures may be different depending on the industry, but most include incident reports by supervisors and the claimant. Witnesses can be asked to do a report about what they saw happen too.
The injured person will need to be seen by a doctor or at a hospital if the injury is serious enough. Those medical records can then be accessed by the insurer involved. When able, the claimant can make a WorkCover claim and will be required to sign a legal declaration stating all information that has been provided is correct.
When making a compensation claim, your legal team will get access to your medical reports and get you to see more doctors regarding your accident.
It's important to note that it's in the interest of insurance companies to disprove or look into false claims. So, they too, will have access to your records as well as do their own independent investigation. They've been known to check social media accounts and record legal surveillance footage of suspicious claims.
5. One Payout Size Fits All
Almost everyday we get asked questions like, "what kind of payout will I get for a back injury?" or "what can you get me for a broken foot?" And the truth is that there is no one size fits all per injury.
We need to chat with you to gain more information before we can give you any indication of what you're entitled to. And just because you know someone who received a certain amount for the same injury, doesn't mean you can base your claim off that.
A person's age, wage, type of injury and circumstances play into how much they might receive, so you can see how no two claims are the same.
The best way to find out if you're entitled to compensation is by having a chat with an expert about your situation.