It is important to know the “Dos and don’ts” of trying to claim compensation for workplace injuries. People tend to believe claiming compensation for workplace injuries is an easy process, however there are stringent time restrictions you have to comply with when commencing a claim. You also need to meet certain conditions to be eligible to apply for worker’s compensation, not to mention dealing with insurers who have plenty of experience in defending compensation claims and will seek to minimise your entitlements.
You have one shot at obtaining the best compensation outcome, so we strongly recommend you obtain legal advice from our personal injury lawyers before proceeding with your claim.
Below is a list of the dos and don’ts when it comes to claiming compensation for workplace injuries.
DON’T go it alone – seek legal advice from a workplace injury claims lawyer
There are requirements you must meet to be eligible to claim worker’s compensation and receive payments for weekly benefits and medical expenses. If you have received an injury as a result of your employer’s negligence, you may also be entitled to make a common law damages claim which may include past and future loss of income and superannuation.
Worker’s compensation insurers have extensive experience when defending workplace injury compensation claims. It is in their best interests to pay out minimal compensation for workplace injuries, hence why obtaining legal advice from an experienced lawyer is vital. If you are not classed as an “employee” a lawyer will be able to advise you of alternative compensation available.
People are sometimes tempted to choose a lawyer to represent them solely based on price and location. It is important to choose a lawyer based on their track record and experience, not just on a “No win, no fee” approach.
Most lawyers these days are flexible, will represent clients regardless of their location and are happy to have remote meetings with clients, so don’t be put off by a lawyer that is not local.
DON’T delay claiming and seeking legal advice.
You must notify you employer as soon as possible if you’ve sustained a workplace injury as you generally have 6 months to lodge a claim for compensation. You must also provide your employer with a WorkCover Certificate of Capacity which certifies you unfit or partially unfit for work. Once you have lodged a worker’s compensation claim and your employer’s insurer accepts liability, the insurer must start making payments for weekly benefits and medical expenses as soon as possible. It is important to receive these payments especially if you are not able to work as a result of your injuries. As mentioned previously, worker’s compensation insurers may try to minimise the amount of compensation paid by rejecting liability for your claim or claim they have a “reasonable excuse” to not make provisional liability payments. You should therefore be aware of your rights and what you can do if this happens.
If you don’t report the injury because you believe your injury is insignificant and not worth making a claim, you should still seek legal advice as to your entitlements as there have been instances where injuries have worsened over time leaving the injured person with significant loss. We recommend you speak with one of our personal injury lawyers as soon as possible to prevent this from happening to you.
DO keep records, especially photographs
It is very important to take and keep photos of any injuries sustained from your employment, the place you were injured, and details of any witnesses. This will assist in proving the extent of your injuries. It is also important to document any receipts for medical expenses incurred from receiving treatment for your workplace injuries. We also recommend you keep a folder of medical reports and possibly a journal of how your injuries affect your day-to-day living.
DON’T settle too soon or accept any decisions made by insurers
As mentioned previously, worker’s compensation insurers may try to settle your matter as quickly as possible by offering you a compensation amount upfront, they may reject liability or delay making provisional liability payments. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer before making any decisions.
As can be seen from the above, making a claim for worker’s compensation can be confusing, complex and overwhelming, not to mention dealing with worker’s compensation insurers who do not have your best interests at heart. This is why we strongly recommend seeking legal advice for anyone wishing to make a worker’s compensation claim.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on 08 8443 4888 or email [email protected].