Home Business Insights & Advice Workers compensation law in Australia

Workers compensation law in Australia

by John Saunders
23rd Dec 20 10:27 am

If you are suffering from an injury or a disease in the course of employment, no matter if there was negligence or not, you can claim workers compensation. You can also claim compensation for your non-physical injuries such as psychological injuries

The process might be complex and frustrating to deal with while suffering the outcomes of such injuries. Workers compensation lawyers legal costs are covered for by the Workcover Independent Review Office (WIRO) which means no matter the result you will not pay for lawyers for workers compensation matters

What is workers compensation insurance?

Every workplace in Australia is obliged to have their workers covered with compulsory workers compensation insurance. Permanent or casual workers, part-time or full-time employees and deemed workers can benefit from workers compensation as long as the injury occurred in the course of employment. Keep in mind that, it is not necessary to get injured in the workplace to make a claim. Also, workers compensation is based on the no-fault scheme which means the worker does not need to establish negligence on part of the employer to claim. It is regardless of fault. If you believe that the employer was negligent in taking precautions for possible accidents and failed to obey workplace safety regulations, you can also make a work injury damages claim and receive compensation if your injuries are assessed at 15% whole person impairment or more

What can I claim?

  • Medical expenses
  • Weekly payments
  • Travel expenses to and from the necessary and reasonable appointments
  • Domestic assistance
  • Work injury damages
  • Compensation for dependents and funeral expenses if the injuries led to the death of the worker
  • Compensation for economic and non-economic loss which includes psychological damages above the specified threshold
  • Lump sum payment

Lump sum payment

If your injuries are assessed at being 10% whole person impairment or greater, then you can make a claim for lump sump compensation. To claim lump sum, you or your legal representative should arrange an appointment from a qualified permanent impairment assessor and have your injuries assessed. The Independent assessor will assess your injuries and determine your whole person impairment if your injuries have reached maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement means that the situation of your injuries is well stabilsed and unlikely to change significantly in the next year with or without treatment

You can claim lump sum compensation if your injuries are determined as whole person impairment with a degree above 10% for physical injuries and equal to or greater than 15% for psychological injuries. Exempt workers (police officers, ambulance paramedics and fire officers) can claim lump sum compensation if their injuries are assessed as greater than 0% whole person impairment

The process of making a workers compensation claim

  1. Notify the employer

Once the injury arises, you should notify your employer. Your employer should be keeping a workplace injury register either as a physical copy or online. The initial notification can be made either verbally or as a written notice.

  1. Visit your doctor and obtain a certificate of capacity

Visit your doctor and explain to them what happened with as much detail as possible. Your doctor will then complete a certificate of capacity which is a document signifying the type and degree of your injuries and the treatment required.

  1. Gather all the necessary and relevant documents

You or your lawyer should gather all the necessary and relevant documents that will support your claim. Documents regarding your employment, your injuries, indicating the degree of your injuries, medical expenses and documents relating to your loss of income should be gathered to make a successful claim

  1. Complete and submit the workers compensation claim form

Complete and submit a workers compensation claim form with the help of your lawyer, attaching the certificate of capacity and relevant documents of your situation

Do I need a lawyer to make a claim?

Although it is not compulsory, working with a lawyer will surely be very advantageous for you. Your lawyer will work hard to prevent your claim from being delayed and ensure you understand your rights. Your lawyer will also do the necessary talks with the insurer and try to maximise the compensation you may be awarded.

In Austalia, compensation Lawyers acting on behalf of workers compensation clients should be approved by the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO). Your disbursements will be covered by WIRO and WIRO will be paying for your lawyer if you can successfully receive compensation.

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