We all appreciate the sacrifices healthcare workers and their teams are making to treat those who are unwell during the current global pandemic. This includes the essential health services being provided to injured workers on WorkCover and Transport Accident Cover (TAC) by doctors, physios, therapists and social workers.
Claims management has changed in light of COVID-19. Recipients and their families should know that:
Below is a detailed personal injury lawyers’ guide to COVID-19 changes to WorkCover and TAC claims to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Key changes to cover claims during Covid-19
Future WorkCover and TAC Claims - How do I get workers compensation insurance?
Current WorkCover and TAC Claims - Who qualifies for workers compensation?
WorkCover: Honouring existing appointments
At present, independent medical examiners (IME’s) are individually determining whether to accept new appointments or honour existing appointments.
WorkCover: Attending independent medical examinations (IMEs)
Workers can advise their insurer in some instances that they are not willing to attend the appointment in person due to COVID-19 concerns. This is completely appropriate.
We are seeing a large number of these appointments cancelled. If you or a family member are concerned that a joint medical examination (JME) or an independent medical examination (IME) has been cancelled, please contact your legal representative, or if you are not represented, please contact WorkSafe or the TAC and ask if alternate arrangements can be made.
Alternatively, workers under WorkCover or TAC can obtain advice from a lawyer in relation to their claim and their concerns.
The inability of the insurer to inform itself of a medical question will result in the delay of approval of requested treatment or the suspension of claims.
Transport accident claims (TAC): Joint Medical Examinations (JMEs) & Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs)
For workers who are injured in transport accidents the TAC will, on occasion, organise medical appointments jointly with the injured person’s legal representatives and medical examiners. The aim of these appointments is to reduce the overall number of appointments for the injured person, and to reduce dispute in the assessment of injuries for the purposes of medical treatment or compensation.
TAC patients who are not legally represented will often be referred to IMEs by the TAC.
Court Hearings: What to expect going forward
Each of the Victorian Courts is taking a different approach to matters listed for hearing in the WorkCover and Transport Accident jurisdictions.
Matters for patients in Geelong and South West Victoria are heard on circuit.
The Magistrates’ Court has advised it will not be holding any circuits in our region at present.
Both the County Court and Supreme Court are still proceeding with some matters where the witnesses are limited, or matters where determination can proceed without witnesses via Zoom.
What to do if this information applies to you
Patients who are concerned should contact their legal representative for clarification.
At Gordon Legal we understand that WorkCover or TAC claims, and how they are treated by the schemes, are a personal issue.
We offer ourselves as a resource to you, your team or patients to assist with any concerns regarding claims and how they are affected by COVID-19.
For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.
Given the current environment, we are providing consultations over the phone, or using Zoom, WebEx or Skype.