Workers’ Compensation Claims and WorkCover QLD
If you’ve had an accident in the workplace, or if your health and wellbeing have been affected as a result of your job, then you may be able to lodge a workers’ compensation claim through WorkCover QLD.
Your WorkCover claim can include any injuries you sustained in the workplace or as a result of your job. This includes any pre-existing injuries, illnesses and diseases that have been worsened by your presence in the workplace.
You can make a claim through WorkCover for a loss of wages, for medical expenses and for rehabilitation costs. Lump sums can also be paid to compensate for any physical impairment caused by a workplace injury.
Is My Employer Insured?
It is compulsory for all employers in Queensland to have WorkCover insurance for each employee to cover the occurrence of a work injury.
Most employers have this insurance with WorkCover Queensland, but some of the bigger employers are self-insured, meaning that they have their own WorkCover insurance.
With some recent changes to the WorkCover legislation, it is important to ensure that if you do suffer from work injuries after an accident, you seek advice as a matter of urgency to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Claiming for workers’ compensation can be a complicated process, but our experienced lawyers specialise in WorkCover claims and are on-hand to help you.
What does WorkCover Cover Me For?
If you are injured at work, you have an immediate right to lodge a claim under the WorkCover scheme.
You may be able to claim workers’ compensation if:
- You’ve had an accident as a direct result of your work
- You’ve sustained injuries during a recess or a break
- Your health and wellbeing have been affected in the workplace
- A pre-existing injury or illness has worsened as a result of your work
Injuries covered by WorkCover include everything from catastrophic injuries to strains and sprains, including repetitive strain injury.
There are two types of claims:
- Statutory (no-fault) claims
- Common law claims (where an employee seeks common law action through the courts against their employer for negligence)
All claims in Queensland must first be lodged as a statutory claim. For statutory claims, compensation is paid regardless of who was at fault for causing the injury.
What Can I Claim Through WorkCover?
Workers’ compensation will cover ‘reasonable expenses’, including hospital and medical expenses. As part of a statutory claim, you can also receive weekly payments as income replacement or lump sums to compensate for permanent impairment.
After a statutory claim has been lodged, assessed and you receive a notice of assessment of injury, you may also have rights to pursue a common law claim against your employer.
You can lodge a common law claim if you can prove that there was some negligence on behalf of your employer that caused or contributed to the accident or injury. This could include an unsafe system of work, unsafe equipment or an unsafe working environment. Courts may award payments (known as common law damages) that include economic loss, pain and suffering, legal costs and medical and hospital costs for common law claims.
By discussing your accident with us, we will be able to advise you about the best course of action for your claim.
How Long Does it Take to Claim?
Once you are deemed to be stable following your accident, WorkCover will assess your injury. Typically this may not happen until 10 to 12 months after the incident. However, on some occasions, it does happen earlier. Generally speaking, how quickly this occurs depends on the injuries suffered and the recovery process. Your injuries need to stabilise in order to accurately assess compensation.
At this stage, you may be given a lump sum offer of compensation. It is important that you obtain legal advice prior to accepting this offer to ensure that your rights are protected.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim Through WorkCover?
The amount you can claim varies from person to person and accident to accident. However, your claim will include income replacement and will cover hospital and medical expenses.
If negligence by other parties contributed to your workplace injuries, such as if faulty equipment caused an accident, then the third party may also be required to pay some of your compensation. However, if you contributed to your own injuries by not following company protocol or safety instructions, then the amount that you receive in damages may be reduced.
If you’re unhappy with any decision made in relation to your claim, then you can appeal through the Workers’ Compensation Regulator or by phoning 1300 739 021.
You must also seek legal advice prior to accepting any offer from WorkCover. If you don’t, you may be signing away your rights. Contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers and discuss your specific claim.
What types of workers are covered by workers’ compensation?
A WorkCover claim will cover all injured workers, including part-time workers and casual workers. In many cases, it also includes sub-contractors.
If you’re an injured Commonwealth Government employee, or an injured employee of a large national company, you can claim under the Comcare scheme.
What types of work injuries can I claim workers’ compensation for?
You can claim for any workplace injury, but you can also claim compensation if you aggravate an injury, suffer a recurrence of an old injury, or find that a pre-existing injury or disease has re-emerged because of your work. For example, your employment may make an issue such as asthma worse.
You may also be able to claim if you suffered an injury during a break. You will have to prove a relationship between your employment and the injury in order to claim compensation.
How long do I have to claim for a work injury?
You should report your injury to the relevant compensation authority as quickly as possible after you become aware of your injury. This should usually happen within 30 days, and during this time you will also need to fill in a claim form and get a medical certificate.
The legal process, however, is a lengthy one, and it may take several years for your claim to be processed and settled. Your claim cannot be settled until all of your injuries have fully stabilised, so compensation can be accurately judged.
If you’re unsure about whether you can claim (especially if it has been over 30 days since you suffered the injury), then you should contact us as quickly as possible for legal advice.