You have the right to receive workers’ compensation for sustaining or suffering an injury on your way to or from work or during the course of your work. However, to qualify for a workers’ compensation you need to prove that:

  • You are a worker and you have sustained an injury at your workplace; and
  • The injury sustained by you was caused due to negligent act or omission of the other workers or due to faulty work equipment or negligent workplace management.

Process to Make a Claim

The procedural requirements for making a claim for workers compensation are as follows:

  • firstly, you should report to your employer, either yourself or through a representative, the injury sustained by you at your workplace;
  • secondly, details of your injury should be recorded or entered into the employer’s “Register of Injuries”. These details include your name, age, address, time and date of your injury, cause and nature of your injury and all other details as may be required by the law of the State where you have sustained the injury;
  • thirdly, a medical certificate issued by your nominated treating doctor should be provided to your employer in order to obtain weekly payments; and
  • lastly, a claim for workers’ compensation should be lodged with the insurer. Upon acceptance of your claim, you will be entitled to receive a weekly wage, out of pocket expenses and medical reimbursements besides reference to medical specialists and rehabilitation providers.

What Compensation You Can Receive

You will be entitled to receive certain compensation for sustaining work related injury which includes:

  • weekly compensation payments depending on the gravity of the injury received and the time duration during which you have been off work;
  • reimbursement of medical expenses;
  • income loss payments in case you are unable to work caused by the injury; and
  • payment of a lump sum amount for any permanent injury.

Where the injury has caused partial incapacitation, you will be entitled to receive compensation after deducting your notional earnings. Notional earnings include amount that you can earn from a work apt for your present situation, even if you are unable to get such work.

If you become totally and permanently disabled from your work place injury, you can make a claim for early release of your superannuation fund. In the event your superannuation fund also provides for insurance covering Total and Permanent Disability Compensation Claim (TPD), you can also make a claim for a payout under the TPD insurance policy.

Lump Sum Offer from Work Cover

When your workplace injury results in permanent impairment, you may be offered a lump sum amount against your claim for compensation. However, you must be very careful while accepting such offer made by the workers’ compensation insurer. This is so because an improper response to the offer can actually render you incapable of pursuing a common law right to claim damages from the injuries sustained at work.

It is therefore pertinent to seek expert legal advice prior to accepting an offer for lump sum payment. In New South Wales (NSW), lump sum compensation for permanent impairment is made under the Workers Compensation Act 1987. You will receive the lump sum compensation in addition to your other benefits including weekly payments, medical expenses and rehabilitation costs.

The degree of your permanent impairment will be assessed by a medical specialist suitably trained with the guidelines as provided under the “WorkCover Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment”. Your prospective employer is required to:

  • send the claim to the insurer;
  • respond to queries of the insurer for additional information; and
  • forward any or all the documentations required in relation to the claim to the insurer.

The insurer upon satisfaction will accept your permanent impairment assessment and settle your claim for compensation.

Time Limit to Make a Claim

Your time limit to make a workers’ compensation depends upon the State or Territory where your accident took place. In NSW, the time limit to make a claim is generally 6 months from the date of your injury or accident. You can also make a claim after expiry of the 6 months period in the event such failure is due to ignorance, mistake or absence from the State where you have made the claim for workers’ compensation. A claim for injuries resulting in death or serious permanent impairment may be made within 3 years from the date of the injury or death.

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