Employers in Queensland must have Workers Compensation Insurance for their employees. If you suffer an injury because of your work, whether sustained at work or otherwise, you may lodge a claim for workers compensation, usually with WorkCover Queensland.
It does not matter who or what has caused your work related injury. Sometimes nobody is “to blame” but you may still have a right to workers compensation benefits.
Who can make a Workers Compensation claim?
Employees of a Company can make a workers compensation claim. The Workers Compensation Scheme in Queensland covers casual and permanent employees, full time and part time employees and temporary employees.
Sometimes contractors are injured at work. Just because somebody is not a PAYG employee, it does not mean that they have no entitlements under the Workers Compensation Scheme. Contractors may be covered by the Workers Compensation Scheme. This issue is not “black and white” and we can advise you as to whether or not you are likely to be able to access Workers Compensation benefits if you are a contractor. Even if you are not covered by the Workers Compensation Scheme in Queensland, you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the Public Liability Insurer of a workplace. It is advisable to find out precisely what access to compensation you may have, regardless of the type of employment you were engaged under.
How do I lodge a Workers Compensation claim?
Initially, it is necessary to obtain a Workers Compensation Medical Certificate from a General Practitioner. This document needs to be provided to WorkCover. You can telephone WorkCover to advise of your Workers Compensation claim and it can be lodged by telephone.
What happens after I lodge my Workers Compensation Claim?
Initially WorkCover are likely to contact your employer and ask whether the employer agrees that you were injured at work. Usually this is a straight forward exercise. If the employer has no issues in acknowledging your injury at work then the claim should be one for acceptance.
Occasionally, an employer may not agree that your injury was sustained at work. In those circumstances WorkCover will need to make a decision as to whether or not it accepts that you suffered a work related injury. If WorkCover do not accept that you suffered a work related injury then you should contact us immediately and we can assist you to challenge the decision of WorkCover to refuse your Workers Compensation claim.
What do I receive if my Workers Compensation claim is accepted?
Usually an injured person will receive 85% of their normal weekly earnings and have WorkCover fund medical treatment, rehabilitation services and some travel expenses until the injured person reaches “maximum medical improvement”.
What happens when I reach maximum medical improvement?
When an injured person reaches maximum medical improvement then WorkCover will cease payment of wages and medical and rehabilitation expenses. You can ask WorkCover to have you assessed for permanent impairment. If you have an impairment of greater than 0% then WorkCover will make an offer to you of Lump Sum Compensation.
What should I do if I receive an offer of Lump Sum Compensation?
We would be pleased to advise you in relation to the offer of Lump Sum Compensation. In some circumstances it is sensible to accept the offer initially made by WorkCover. On other occasions, a much more generous system of damages can be accessed through a “WorkCover Common Law claim”.
What happens if I accept the Lump Sum Compensation from WorkCover?
If you accept the Lump Sum Compensation from WorkCover then in most cases your claim is finalised. One the claim is finalised you have no further entitlements to compensation for that injury.
What is a WorkCover Common Law claim?
A WorkCover Common Law Claim can be lodged on your behalf and must be lodged within three years of your date of injury. A failure to lodge a Common Law claim within three years of an injury almost certainly means that you cannot proceed with a WorkCover Common Law claim. As always, in such circumstances it is best to obtain expert legal advice from Patinos.
Under a Common Law claim provided some degree of fault can be attributed to the employer, you can be compensated for pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses, loss of wages, including future loss of wages, loss of Superannuation, including future loss of Superannuation and future expenses, to name but some of the aspects of Common Law claim damages.
Most often, Common Law Damages are more generous than any initial Lump Sum Offer made by WorkCover. You should check with us before accepting or rejecting the initial Lump Sum Offer of compensation from WorkCover. If you have completed the paperwork incorrectly then you can lose your right to reasonable damages in a Common Law setting.
Who pays Workers Compensation and Damages?
As all employers are required to have Workers Compensation Insurance, it is the Insurer of your employer who pays the compensation in damages.
If I lodge a Common Law claim, what happens next?
Once a Common Law claim is lodged then WorkCover will review the submitted form to make sure that you have provided all of the information reasonably required to investigate your matter. WorkCover will then investigate the circumstances of your injury including the cause and the consequences and once those investigations are complete it, will advise Patinos whether it agrees that the employer was at fault to any extent in causing or contributing to your injury.
Once WorkCover has advised of its position in relation to the cause and consequences of your injury, we arrange a meeting called a Settlement Conference with WorkCover to attempt to negotiate a sensible resolution of your claim for damages.
What happens if I do not settle my claim at the Settlement Conference?
Around 70% of matters are resolved at a Settlement Conference with WorkCover and only about 2% of matters proceed to a Trial at Court, formal steps are necessary to advance your claim if it is not resolved at Settlement Conference. This means the preparation of formal Court documents. Patinos undertake this task for you. You can make an offer to resolve your claim at any time and so can WorkCover. The chances of your matter not being resolved by negotiations are slim.