What is workers’ compensation and what is workplace injury?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to injured workers’ who have suffered a workplace injury or have developed a medical condition in the course of, or as a result of, their employment. Work injury lawyers can advise on eligibility for workers’ compensation. These work-related injuries might include suffering an injury at work on a specific day or developing a medical condition over a period of time due to the nature of the work performed. Workers’ compensation is often referred to as WorkCover. Workers’ compensation claims are managed by a number of workers compensation insurance companies on behalf of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, also often referred to as WorkSafe.
How much compensation can I get for a workplace injury?
If you suffer a workplace injury, the types of compensation you can claim include:
- Reimbursement of the reasonable costs associated with your medical treatment
- Weekly payments if you are unable to do the job you were doing prior to your injuries or illnesses
- Lump-sum compensation for injuries that are permanent
The amounts will vary and will be influenced by a number of factors including:
- Your weekly income at the time of your workplace injury
- The severity of your workplace injury
- The type of injuries
- The impact that your injury has on your ability to undertake your daily activities
- Whether or not your workplace injury occurred due to the negligence of your employer or another party
How is workers’ compensation calculated?
Once your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you will be entitled to receive weekly payments, as well as your reasonable medical and like expenses. Weekly payments (wages on WorkCover) are calculated by taking the average of your regular income in the 12 months prior to the date of injury. Weekly payments can be paid at a maximum of $2380 (indexed annually) on a sliding scale.
- For the first 13 weeks, they are paid at 95 percent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE).
- From week 13 to 52, they are paid at 80 percent of your PIAWE.
- Between weeks 52 and week 130, they are paid at 80 percent of your base wage.
- Beyond 130 weeks they are paid in discrete circumstances.
If you are on weekly payments and have received weekly payments for 130 weeks and your entitlements are terminated by the workers’ compensation insurer, it is essential you seek advice about whether you are a candidate to continue to receive weekly payments.
How long do I have to make my claim?
You should report your workplace injury to your employer in writing within 30 days of experiencing or becoming aware of your injury.
A WorkCover claim should then be lodged as soon as practicable. A WorkCover claim will entitle you to weekly payments and medical expenses for injuries or illnesses. If you do not lodge your claim within a reasonable time frame, the WorkCover insurer might reject your claim.
You have six years from the date of your workplace injury to pursue a Common Law Claim for damages. If it has been longer than six years since you were injured at work, you should seek immediate legal advice in relation to your entitlements, as in some circumstances that time limit can be extended.
What work health and safety measures should a workplace take?
Your employer is legally obligated to maintain a safe working environment free from health risks, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes providing you as an employee with information, equipment and training that allows you to carry out your work duties safely so as not to be injured at work.
If you have suffered an injury at work, it is important to seek legal advice in relation to the circumstances in which your injury occurred, as those circumstances can impact the type of entitlements that you can access.
What injuries can you be compensated for?
All types of injuries may be compensated under the workers’ compensation scheme if they were suffered due to or in the course of your employment. This can include:
- Muscular or soft tissue injuries
- Hearing loss
- Respiratory and infectious diseases
- Psychological conditions
Injuries that can be compensated are not limited to those suffering as a result of one particular workplace incident. You may be entitled to compensation for a work-related injury suffered gradually over a period of time as well that has caused pain and suffering.
Do workplace injury laws differ between states and territories?
Yes. Different states and territories in Australia have different laws and compensation schemes. If your employment requires you to carry out your work duties across multiple states or territories, this may affect where you lodge your claim for your workplace injury.
Some factors that are taken into account include:
- In what state did the injury happen?
- What state do you usually work in?
- What state is your employer based in?
It is important to seek legal advice about which state to lodge your WorkCover claim as soon as possible after your injury if you suffered your injury while working across multiple states and territories.
What should I do if I’m unhappy with the insurer’s decision?
If the WorkCover insurer makes a decision that you do not agree with, you are entitled to dispute that decision by lodging a Request for Conciliation within 60 days of the date of the decision. Our expert workers compensation claim lawyers can assist you with this process.
How can I find out more about occupational health and safety regulations? Visit WorkSafe or your state or territory’s official OHS website to find out more about workplace health and safety regulations and laws where you live.
What to do if this information applies to you
At Gordon Legal, we understand that workplace injuries are a personal issue.
For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.
Please call Gordon Legal on 1800 21 22 23 or our Geelong office on 1800 21 22 23 to speak with a member of our team.
Given the current environment, we are providing consultations over the phone or via video conferencing platforms.