Work injuries, what to do?

Even if your employer takes all the necessary preventive measures to keep their workers safe, work-related injuries still arise. Statistics strikingly demonstrates that work-related injuries can arise anytime and unexpectedly. According to the numbers of Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017-18 financial year, 563.600 people suffered a work-related injury or an illness and 60% of the workers injured had time off.

563.600 people in a year is not an amount that can be underestimated. It proves that we should do our best to minimise these numbers. A good thing to mention on these statistics is that 27% of these workers received workers compensation for their injuries. This number indicates that a very big proportion of the workers who suffered from injuries could benefit from workers compensation. So, if you ever suffer an unfortunate work-related injury, it is actually very likely to receive compensation to recover your loss. Depending on the extent of your situation, you may even be awarded a lump sum.

Work injuries

How to compensate for your loss if suffering work-related injuries?

If you are suffering work-related injuries or illnesses, you may be entitled to claim workers compensation to recover your loss. Workers Compensation Insurance is compulsory insurance which all workplaces in Australia are obliged to have their workers covered. Workers compensation is based on a no-fault scheme which means there shouldn’t have to be a negligent party to make a claim. If your employer failed to take the preventive measures to avoid work-related injuries, you may also claim work injury damages as your employer is negligent in this situation.

What is workers compensation?

In case of a work-related injury or a disease, all workers, deemed workers, part-time employees, full-time employees, employees of labour-hire organizations and self-employed employees can claim to benefit from workers compensation. It is not necessary to get injured in the workplace as you can claim if you get injured in the course of employment.

What can I claim?

You may be able to claim compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Weekly payments
  • Travel expenses to and from the medical appointments
  • Domestic assistance (help around the house)
  • Work injury damages
  • If the injuries led to the death of the worker, compensation for dependents and funeral expenses
  • Lump sum payment

If the injuries are assessed at more than 10% whole person impairment, and if the worker has a permanent impairment due to their injuries, lump sum payment may be paid to the claimant. The lump sum compensation can be awarded in addition to the standard benefits (weekly payments, medical expenses, etc..) of workers compensation. Exempt workers such as police officers, ambulance paramedics and firefighters can claim lump sump payment if their injuries are assessed at greater than 0% whole person impairment.

Non-exempt workers, may receive a lump sum payment if your permanent impairment degree is greater than 10% for physical injuries and greater than 14% for psychological injuries.

What documents do I need?

You or your lawyer should arrange an appointment with a doctor and request a certificate of capacity. Certificate of capacity is a critical document that will signify the type and the degree of your injuries. Other than the certificate of capacity, you should complete a work injury claim form and send it to the insurer prior to the 6 months time limit and gather as many documents as possible to support your claim. This includes documents related to your loss of income, your employment, your decreased capacity to earn and documents signifying that you are in need of medical treatment. Once you think you have all the relevant documents, you can complete a workers compensation claim form and lodge a claim.

Do I need a lawyer?

Although it is not compulsory, it is a known fact that lawyers make a great impact on the case and prevent you to be under compensated by ensuring you to understand your entitlements. Lawyers, representing workers compensation clients should be approved lawyers by the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO). A WIRO approved lawyer should not charge you for their costs or disbursements because their costs will be paid by WIRO.