What are my Rights if I’m Injured at Work?

If you have an accident in the workplace and you’re suffering from work injuries as a result, then you have a right to lodge a workers’ compensation claim. In this post, we’ll discuss your rights if you’re injured at work and answer common questions about WorkCover claims.

Can I make a workers’ compensation claim for my injury?

If you’re an employee and you were injured at work then you have the right to lodge a workers’ compensation claim. You should not take paid or unpaid leave if this is offered by your employer and instead, you should lodge a claim to cover any lost wages plus medical costs.

A WorkCover claim will cover all injured workers, including part-time workers and casual workers. It also includes sub-contractors in the majority of cases.

If you’re an injured Commonwealth Government employee, or an injured employee of a large national company, you can claim under the Comcare scheme.

If I make a claim, can I return to my old job?

The law states that employers cannot discriminate against you if you make a WorkCover claim. This means that you cannot be demoted, transferred departments without your approval or treated any differently to other employees. Once you return to the workplace, you should be treated as any other employee would be.

It’s recommended that you return to work as soon as it’s physically possible after you’ve sustained your injuries. This often means returning before your injuries are fully healed. In these circumstances, your employer can reduce or modify the work that you need to complete until you are 100% recovered, when you will then return to your previous job.

Can I be fired for making a workers’ compensation claim?

You cannot be fired or be threatened with dismissal for reporting a work injury or for making a workers’ compensation claim. Any attempt to dismiss you from the company would be deemed as unfair dismissal and discrimination. 

In Queensland specifically, you cannot be fired within 12-months of your injury solely because of that injury making you unfit for employment. Instead, your employer must take reasonable steps to support your rehabilitation and provide you with work duties that you’re able to complete. This may mean a temporary change of role.

However, this is not necessarily applicable if your injury or illness is not the subject of a WorkCover claim. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an injury or illness that is not covered by WorkCover, your employer may be able to fire you if you cannot complete your job to an appropriate standard. If this is the case, you should consult a lawyer immediately to discuss your case and your rights.

How do I make a claim?

There are several ways to make a claim with WorkCover QLD. You can notify WorkCover of an incident and make a claim at the same time by visiting this webpage.

Alternatively, you can:

  • call WorkCover QLD on 1300 362 128
  • complete and submit the online claim form
  • complete a claim form and
    • fax the completed form to 1300 651 387
    • post the completed form to GPO Box 2459, Brisbane QLD 4001
  • Lodge your claim through your doctor. If you’re unsure if this has happened on your behalf, you can either call WorkCover or your GP to check.

Should I seek legal advice about making a claim?

There’s no legal obligation to consult a lawyer about your workplace injury claim, but it’s in your best interests to do so. Strict time limits apply to WorkCover claims, so it is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You can obtain independent legal advice at any stage of the process, but the earlier you engage a lawyer, the better. You should make sure that you speak to a lawyer and discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim before you agree compensation and settle your claim in order to ensure that you’re getting the right settlement.

What steps should I take to document my claim?

There are several steps you should take to document your workplace injury and WorkCover claim:

  1. Notify your employer of your injury and your version of events in writing, ensuring that it is documented on any injury registers.
  2. Visit a doctor for assessment and get your injuries treated. At this stage, you should ask your doctor to fill out a Workers’ Compensation Certificate.
  3. Collect evidence to support your claim, including photos of visible injuries and photos of the scene.
  4. Lodge your claim and submit it to your employer or WorkCover directly. Include all the evidence you’ve gathered with your submission.
  5. Continue to receive treatment and rehabilitation while your claim is assessed and notify WorkCover if your condition changes.
  6. Return to work as soon as possible.

If you’ve suffered from a work injury and would like some advice about your case or your rights, then please contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.