Have you been injured at work?

If you are injured at work you may be entitled to compensation. Dealing with WorkCover insurers & accessing your common law rights can be intimidating. Fear not, we’re on your side.
If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation.

It is important to note that you only have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. This must be done in writing within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury. Your employer then has 10 days to forward this information to their WorkCover claims agent. The claims agent then has 28 days to accept or reject your claim.

No capacity for work

If your claim is accepted and you begin to receive weekly payments, you will receive 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings (Statutory maximum is $2460 a week and is subject to change). You then receive 80% of your Pre-injury wage at 14 weeks and up until 130 weeks. If your weekly earnings included any overtime, the overtime and/or shift allowance will stop at 52 weeks.

If you are declared to have no work capacity your weekly payments may continue until retirement age.

 

Capacity or some work

Your payments will be 95% of your weekly earnings for the first 13 weeks and 80% of your weekly earnings from 14 – 130 weeks. Any overtime/shift allowance will be removed at 52 weeks.

After 130 weeks, payments may continue gathered you meet the following criteria:

  1. Have returned to work
  2. Are working at least 15 hours per week
  3. Your injury makes it unlikely that you will be able to work in the future

 

Impairment Benefit Claim

An Impairment Benefit is a once-off lump some payment. You may be eligible if you have a permanent impairment resulting from a work-related injury.

You must wait at least 12 months after your injury date to make an Impairment Benefit claim.

To make the claim, your lawyer will prepare your paperwork by collating medical evidence and submit your claim. The claims agent will then send you to an Independent Medical Examination for the purpose of obtaining a percentage of impairment.

The threshold to obtain a payment is 10% impairment for physical injuries and 15% impairment for psychological impairment.

 

Common Law Claims

You may have a claim for damages or compensation if the employer was negligent. This claim can be made if your injury is serious.

Your lawyer will prepare your application by collating medical material. The application will then be submitted to WorkCover and their solicitors will either accept or reject your claim.

A claim can be made for Pain and Suffering and Loss of Earnings or for Pain and Suffering only.

It is important to note that you only have 6 years from the date of your injury to commence proceedings. The court may grant an extension in certain circumstances.

 

What happens if my claim is accepted?

If your claim is accepted, you will have a conference and your solicitor will attempt to settle your case.

If your case is unable to be settled. Your solicitor will file a case known as a ‘Writ’ for a judge or jury to determine your compensation.

 

What happens if my claim is rejected?

If your claim is rejected, you will then need to make an application to court in what is known as an ‘Originating Motion’ for a judge to determine the seriousness of your injuries.

If the judge determines your injuries are serious, you will then be granted a serious injury certificate and a conference will be held. If your case cannot be settled at the conference you will then file a case to have a judge or jury determine your compensation.

 

Disclaimer:

The case studies are based on real life cases, the people’s names have been altered for privacy.

 

Workcover Examples

 

Scenario 1

Fred was working at a part distribution centre. His job was to take parts to and from factories. Fred continuously complained to his employer that his truck door was loose, and he feared it would dismantle. Fred’s boss ignored his complaints and failed to acknowledge the issue. Fred’s colleagues had heard Fred complaining to his employer about the loose door. One morning as Fred was unloading the truck, the door completely dismantled and hit him causing head and back injuries. Fred made a claim for compensation to Workcover. Workcover accepted the claim and paid him weekly payments and medical expenses. Fred required back surgery which Workcover agreed to pay for. Fred made an Impairment Benefit claim and received a whole person impairment rating of 17% and received $45,346 as a lump sum payment. We went on to do a common law claim for Fred. We made a claim for Pain and Suffering and Economic Loss. Fred obtained a lump sum payment of $175,000 for pain and suffering and $200,000 for Economic Loss as he was unable to work in the future.

 

Scenario 2

Casper was working in a factory cutting scrap metal. Casper should have been wearing specific safety gloves when cutting the metal. Casper’s employer refused to purchase appropriate safety gloves. Casper injured his hand when the laser device cut his hand whilst he was cutting the metal. As well as medical expenses and weekly payments, Casper received an impairment benefit payment. We completed a damages claim and had the opportunity to have discussions with the opposing party but no reasonable offers were made. The case went before a judge and jury. Numerous witnesses were called and it was established that other employees had been injured due to the lack of appropriate safety wear and the jury awarded the client $150,000 in Pain and Suffering and $250,000 for Loss of Future Earnings.

 

Scenario 3

Janie was a cleaner at a Shopping Centre. Janie’s duties were very repetitive involving pushing and pulling movements. Janie constantly complained that she needed extra staff to help her so she could take more time with her duties as she was experiencing backpain from her duties. During a busy public holiday, Janie had to overwork due to limited staff and sustained a back injury. Janie was successful in an Impairment Benefit Claim and a Claim for Damages. Janie decided to claim for Pain and Suffering but not for Loss of Earnings. Although she could no longer work as a cleaner, she was able to find alternate work earning more then she was earning as a cleaner. Therefore she had no claim for Economic Loss but she was able to claim for the Pain and Suffering she had sustained due to her injury.