Any worker who is injured in the course of doing their job is protected by Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme.
Administered by WorkSafe Queensland, the no-fault scheme provides support for a worker to help them recover from their injury and return to work as soon as possible.
Workers’ compensation can provide weekly payments to cover lost wages and expenses related to hospital and medical treatment arising from the injury.
Lump-sum compensation is also possible in more extreme cases where a work injury causes permanent impairment.
A workers’ compensation claim can be made if the injury is sustained during work, while travelling to or from work, or on a scheduled work break. The claim can relate both to physical and/or psychological harm.
If the injury was caused by an employer’s negligence in maintaining their duty of care to an employee, a common law claim for damages might also be possible.
The advice of legal professionals with proven experience in compensation law is highly advised if you sustain an injury at work.
What are the essential steps in making a workers’ compensation claim?
If your work injury is physical, the obvious first thing to do is to check whether the injury requires immediate medical attention.
If your injury is either physical or psychological, it should be reported to the employer as soon as you are aware of it. As part of health and safety rules, most businesses will maintain a formal reporting process for injuries sustained by employees on the job.
The next step is to have the injury medically assessed as soon as possible and a ‘work capacity certificate’ obtained to certify whether time off is needed or not.
If a worker attends a public hospital with a work-related injury, the hospital automatically sends the work capacity certificate to WorkCover, who will contact the employee to see if a claim will be made.
In any event, a copy of the certificate needs to be provided to the employer and a claim form needs to be promptly completed and lodged with WorkCover.
It’s important throughout this process, from the moment the injury occurs, to maintain a record of all documents, receipts and other evidence relating to the work injury.
The basics of the claims process
The no-fault scheme means that your wages, medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses will be covered by workers’ compensation in the initial stages of your injury.
If the injury is more severe and results in permanent impairment – such as loss of effective use of a part of your body, loss of a body part, or an incapacitating psychological or psychiatric injury – then a lump-sum compensation amount may be more appropriate.
This payment will be based on an assessment by a medical professional, with the amount determined by the percentage of impairment.
It should be noted that the procedure for making a workers’ compensation claim may differ if the employer is self-insured, meaning it manages its own workers’ compensation claims. Legal advice should be sought if you are injured and your employer is self-insured.
Common law claims
A lump sum workers’ compensation payment could potentially total much less than a common law damages claim if the employer’s liability for negligence can be proved.
A claim for common law damages ends the payment of benefits received under the workers’ compensation scheme.
If the degree of permanent impairment (DPI) from the injury is assessed at 20 percent or more, a common law damages claim is possible. If the DPI is under 20 percent, the injured party must either accept the lump sum through the workers’ compensation scheme and end their claim or pursue a common law claim for damages.
Seek the guidance of expert compensation lawyers
Bourke Legal is a boutique law firm that focuses on workers’ compensation claims.
We have the knowledge and experience to provide you with accurate and relevant advice on your options if you’ve been injured at work. We will also ensure all relevant deadlines are met.
Workers compensation claims can be difficult to take on by yourself, particularly when you’re trying to recover from an injury and are worried about the status of your employment.
Call workers compensation lawyers Coolangatta at Bourke Legal if you’ve been injured at work for a confidential discussion about your case.