If you have been injured due to your working conditions, WorkCover is required to offset all payments for treatment. Occasionally, this is not the case and Australian employees are left out of pocket. If you are unhappy with the financial support you have received, we’ve put together this guide to the process of appealing a workers’ compensation decision.
For too many years, employees have been coping with workplace abuse without speaking up for their rights. This silent predisposition has been changing in recent years as we begin to understand the types of abuse and the level of harm that can result. Today, we’re highlighting forms of abuse and the options available to you as an Australian employee.
What Kind of Injuries Can I Apply for?
Workplace injuries can range from serious illness, injury or damage (including amputations, fractures and brain injuries) through to less severe injuries such as strains and sprains (e.g. repetitive strain injury).
Examples of injuries include:
- Injuries suffered at work, as a result of work or during work activities
- Diseases caused by work
- Diseases or pre-existing conditions made worse by work
- Injuries suffered while travelling for work
- Injuries suffered while receiving medical treatment for a separate work injury
A work injury doesn’t have to be purely physical. Mental injuries such as those driven by stress, or leading to events such as a heart attack or worsening of a pre-existing condition can also be eligible for workplace injury compensation.
While not all workplace compensation cases are front page news, certain shocking injuries have seen compensation payouts soaring into the millions.
While they may seem excessive, these payments are often awarded to compensate for horrific injuries which will last the rest of one’s natural life.
Here are some of Australia’s biggest compensation payouts.
When it comes to workplace injury law, we often think about risks and hazards that could occur in the workplace itself. However, the rise of flexible work arrangements, virtual networks, video conferencing and more, has blurred the distinction between the workplace and personal spaces.
As technology increasingly enables us to work from anywhere, telecommuting – or working from home – has been on the rise. Both employees and employers benefit from the added flexibility and productivity benefits. Deloitte went as far as calling teleworking “one of the biggest structural changes to the labour market this decade”.
Even when working from home, employees may be entitled to workers’ compensation. A multi-million dollar compensation pay-out to a Telstra employee who slipped and fell while working from home has highlighted that workplace health and safety law is by no means limited to the workplace and should be taken very seriously by employers.
For an injury to count as a workplace injury, it must be connected to your work – but does not always have to occur in the actual workspace.
As outlined in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, an injury is any personal injury arising in the course of, employment, so long as the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the injury.
In plain terms, this means that if your work is the major cause behind developing a psychiatric or psychological disorder, it can fall under workplace injury.
For more information on general workplace injuries, including some frequently asked questions, visit our Work Related Injury page.
If you have been injured at work and are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, eventually WorkCover or the self-insurer will stop paying those benefits and close your claim.
Up until this point, your wages and treatment have been covered by the ‘no fault’ statutory scheme. Once your injury becomes ‘stable and stationary’– which means that your injuries are unlikely to get any better or worse – your claim is closed and you are entitled to seek a Notice of Assessment from WorkCover or the self-insurer.
In order to obtain a Notice of Assessment, WorkCover or the self-insurer will arrange an appointment for you to attend on a doctor of their choice. The purpose of this appointment is for the doctor to assess whether you have sustained a permanent impairment as a result of the workplace accident. If you have sustained psychological injuries you may also be required to attend the Medical Assessment Tribunal, where a panel of three doctors will interview you and assess your injuries.