Sustaining an injury that arises out of or in the course of your employment can be disconcerting and stressful. It is rare that anyone can afford uncompensated time off work and a physical injury that occurs at work can certainly cause this to happen. When it does, it is important to understand both your rights and responsibilities as an injured worker.

The legislation that governs the laws of NSW Australia’s workers’ compensation claims includes;

  • Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the 1987 Act)
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act)
  • Workers Compensation Regulation 2010 (the 2010 Regulation)

However, these laws are implemented via the State Insurance Regulatory Authority. It is through SIRA that injured workers’ can find out all of the necessary information for correctly starting and pursuing a work related injury.

The following steps are required of an injured worker;

  1. Notify the employer immediately either verbally or in writing
  2. Give the relevant details as to how and when the injury occurred
  3. Provide all contact information including name, telephone number and address

The following is required of an employer;

  1. Notify the insurer within 48 hours of receiving notice from the employee
  2. Give the relevant details of how and when the injury occurred
  3. Provide the insurer with any contact information they request

When all of these processes are complete, the responsibility of the employer to begin temporary payments to the worker is required. Payments can only be denied if the employer or the insurer gives reasonable notice as to why the injured worker should not begin temporary compensation. Some of the possible causes for an insurer to deny payment of a workers’ compensation claim include;

  • Insufficient medical information
  • Lack of true worker status
  • The insurance carrier cannot contact the worker to confirm the facts
  • The injury is not related to work
  • The employee is not eligible for weekly payments
  • The employee did not notify the employer of the injury in a timely manner. It is imperative to remember that the law requires an injured worker to report an injury within two months of the happening of the same.

While it is true that an employee is required to inform their employer of a work related injury within 60 days of the occurrence, the statute allows for a claim to be filed up to six (6) months from the date of the injury. If the claim is not filed within this time frame, the claim can be deemed barred.

There are three known circumstances which can allow for a claim to be filed subsequent to the 6-month time frame. Those three exceptions include;

  • If you are absent from the state
  • If you did not realise you had been injured and hence did not make a claim until you became aware of the injury
  • Mistake

The maximum time a claim for an injury can be extended is three years. But, again, there are exceptions to this rule also. The time cannot be a factor in the following circumstances;

  1. Death of the worker
  2. Serious permanent injury

Oftentimes an injured worker may delay on informing their employer of having been injured as they believe the injury to be minor or one that will not affect their work performance. This is often the case in disease type injuries. Disease injuries are most likely to occur from repetitive work such as typing causing injuries similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. An employee may experience discomfort and attempt to rest or self-medicate to alleviate the pain or discomfort and to keep working. However, these remedies may not be sufficient. At this juncture, it is encouraged that the injured employee seeks medical advice from a trained professional and submit the findings to their employer as soon as possible. The medical evidence of the work related injury should then be turned over to the employer in an expedient manner.

In all other instances if you have been injured and have not filed a timely claim it is highly recommended you seek legal advice as soon as possible to determine if you can still file a claim and receive compensatory and medical benefits.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.