Filing a Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Being injured at work isn’t something that tends to happen often. But when it does, it is important that you take some very basic steps to protect your health and your income.

Workers’ compensation injuries and remedies are governed by the New South Wales Workers’ Compensation Act 1987. The administration of the workers’ compensation is the responsibility of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, or SIRA. It is through the SIRA administrative system that you will file your claim and receive your benefits.

The time frame you must remember is that if you are injured at work you are required to file your claim for the work related injury within six (6) months of its occurrence. If you do not file within six months of the date of the injury, you can still file the claim for up to three (3) years after your injury occurred, but you will be required to show reasonable cause as to why the injury was not reported within 6 months of its inception. For example, if you are unaware of the injury you can still file a claim once you become aware of the connection between the injury and your work.

Before any claim for benefits can be made you must;

  • Give notice to your employer of the injury, including evidence of the following
    • Date of injury
    • Type of injury
    • Body part injured
    • Medical attention received
  • Seek medical attention from your physician
  • Obtain medical evidence of your injury and any restrictions you are under with regard to continuing to work in your usual capacity
  • Provide your employer with a copy of the medical evidence from your physician

Your employer will then be responsible for the following;

  • Providing you with a standardized claim form to report your injury (however you must complete the form in in its entirety and return it to your employer, promptly)
  • Accommodating any restrictions recommended by your physician
  • Alerting their insurance company to your claim

At this point you will encounter a waiting period while the employer’s insurer reviews the claim and informs your employer as to whether or not they will be accepting your claim as a legitimate work related injury. If your claim is accepted, you will then be entitled to compensation benefits. If your claim is not accepted the insurance company may want to speak with you and being their own investigation into the validity of the injury. At this point it is always best to seek legal guidance and/or representation.

The types of recovery you are entitled to as an injured worker can include the following;

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses – including treatment such as physical therapy
  • Lost superannuation
  • Accommodations that will allow you to keep working
  • Return to work assistance

Finally, there will come a point in time when you will either return to work in your full capacity, or you will be determined to have reached Maximum Medical Improvement and/or there will be a finding of Permanent Disability. If you return to work in your full capacity, you will begin receiving your wages as you did prior to the accident. If you reach maximum medical improvement with some type of lesser physical ability, you may be entitled to a settlement. And, if you are permanently disabled, the calculation of a settlement will depend upon the level of permanent disability you are experiencing. As these steps can be quite complicated, it is best to enlist the assistance of a solicitor who specializes in this area of law to help protect your interests as an injured worker.

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.

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