Have you been injured at work? Unsure about what to do next….read on!
This is a guide to Workers’ Compensation Claims in Queensland. Did you know that if you are injured at work and are a recognised employee you can be covered for your medical expenses and time off work while you receive treatment and recover? You might even be entitled to a lump sum if your injury is likely to have any ongoing effects.
Firstly, you should seek medical advice for your injury and tell the doctor or hospital the relevance to your employment. You will need to get a Workers’ Compensation Medical Certificate even if you haven’t yet started a claim. You should also ensue that the injury has been officially reported to your employer.
Beyond that, The first step in making any claim is to lodge a workers compensation claim with your employers insurance company. This can be done through your employer, through your doctor or direct with the insurer. The best method is to lodge a claim direct with the insurer. The most common insurer is WorkCover Queensland. If you or your employer do not know who the insurance company is you can call WorkCover on 1300 362 128. They will advise if they are the insurer and if not who is the relevant insurer. They will also explain what steps you need to take to lodge your claim, normally you need to complete a claim form and submit that along with your medical certificate. Once received, they will review your application and determine if you are considered an employee under the scheme and if your claim is accepted or not. Through this process they will also contact your employer to verify your claim. If your claim is accepted they will cover medical and treatment expenses and lost wages whilst your are recovering. They will require ongoing medical evidence and certification to continue to cover your expenses. This claim is called a statutory claim.
There are two different types of Workers Compensation claims. A statutory claim as outlined above and a common law claim, which is where we can help.
Once your statutory claim has been lodged and accepted you should consider contacting lawyers to seek advice as to whether you may have grounds for what is known as a common law claim. A common law claim often entitles the injured party to more significant compensation for injuries that have any lasting effect or impact on earnings and daily activities. A common law claim can be made if there is negligence on the part of another party which has caused or contributed to the injury. This is a complex matter but with an initial consultation, usually on the phone, we can help you determine if you might have grounds to make such a claim and access a lump sum compensation for your work related injuries.
What are the differences between a statutory claim and a common law claim?
- A statutory claim is a claim made direct with the insurance company and does not normally require the involvement of a lawyer
- A statutory claim is a no fault claim, meaning that regardless of how the injury occurred, if you are covered under the insurance policy you can access benefits. A Common Law Claim is a fault based scheme were another party is responsible, or partially responsible, for having caused or contributed to your injuries.
- A statutory claim will only cover medical and treatment expenses up until the point that the claim is closed whereas a common law will provide for a lump sum settlement to cover possible future expenses and also possible future loss of income etc
A statutory claim will come to a natural end when one of the following occur:
- You no longer require ongoing medical treatment or expenses and have been able to return to work in your usual capacity
- You fail to provide ongoing medical certification or meet requirements of the insurer bringing your claim to a potential premature close
- The insurer engages a doctor who says you no longer require treatment and/or can return to work and/or that the work related injury is no longer affecting you
- You are assessed for permanent impairment and given a Notice of Assessment from the insurer
With a Notice of Assessment you will sometimes be made a lump sum offer. You must be very careful when deciding whether to accept any lump sum offer or Notice of Assessment as doing so means you can be waiving you rights to a common law claim. If you are ever made an offer you should speak with your lawyer before making any decision. If you do not have a lawyer you should seek legal advice as to your options.
In order to pursue a common Law claim you must first have your statutory claim lodged and accepted so it is very important to report the injury, seek medical advice and contact WorkCover Queensland as soon as possible following your injury.
If you have lodged a claim or need any assistance in relation to a work injury or claim, please call us on 1800-GET-HELP (1800 438 435).