When you are injured at work you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, WorkCover or the self-insurer will eventually stop paying those payments and close your claim, irrespective of whether your injuries have healed.
Up until this point your income and treatment has been covered by “no fault “statutory scheme. When your injuries become “stable’ which means it is unlikely that they will get any better or worse – your claim will be closed and you are then entitled to seek a Notice of Assessment from the self-insurer or WorkCover.
In order to obtain a Notice of Assessment, the self-insurer or WorkCover will organise an appointment for you to attend a doctor they choose. The aim of this appointment is for the doctor to assess whether you have sustained a permanent impairment as a result of the workplace incident. If your injuries are psychological you may also be required to attend the Medical Assessment Tribunal, where a panel of three doctors will interview you and assess your injuries.
WHAT IS A NOTICE OF ASSESSMENT?
A Notice of Assessment is a document that sets out your injuries from the workplace incident and provides a percentage of permanent impairment or work related impairment (WRI). It can also contain a lump sum offer of money to finalise your claim. The lump sum offer does not take into account your individual circumstances, such as how your injuries may affect you in the future, and whether they will affect your ability to work and earn a living, but rather are worked out on set calculations.
It is extremely important to seek legal advice before you accept a Notice of Assessment lump sum offer. By signing the Notice of Assessment you may end your right to make a claim for damages at common law.
At Brisbane Injury Lawyers, we have WorkCover specialists that can advise you on either.
A) Accept the WorkCover lump sum offer; or
B) Ignore the lump sum offer and proceed to a Common Law Claim.
WHAT IS A COMMON LAW CLAIM?
Provided that your injury was caused by the negligence of your employer, either in full or part, you may be entitled to a greater amount of compensation at common law. At Brisbane Injury Lawyers we are able to assist you with determining whether your employer has been negligent by conducting investigations and considering all the circumstances of the incident as instructed by you. We can then advise you on your prospects of success with a Common Law Claim.
What compensation does Common law damages include?
- Loss of income, past and future;
- Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of Superannuation contribution, past and future
- Medical and travel expenses, past and future;
- Past and future paid care and assistance.
Keep in mind that even if you have received a permanent impairment of O% on your Notice of Assessment, this does not affect your rights at common law.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If you decide to proceed with a Common Law Claim, we will prepare your Notice of Claim for Damages. This is quiet a lengthy form which sets out the details of your claim and the allegations of negligence on which it is based. Once this form is signed by you, we then serve it on WorkCover or the self-insurer and the common law phase of your claim begins.
There is a 6-month time frame allocated to conduct necessary investigations into liability. During this time, we will also arrange for you to see a medical specialists for the purpose of obtaining medico-legal reports. These reports will assist us in assessing the quantum of your claim, that is, the amount of money you would expect to receive. WorkCover or the self-insurer may also arrange medico-legal appointments for you in order to obtain their own evidence as to the state of your injuries.
When these investigations have been conducted, we are then in a position to try and settle your matter. The majority of common law claims settle outside of court at a settlement conference which is best described as a meeting between the parties. It usually takes place at our office over the course of a few hours where your legal team here at Brisbane Injury Lawyers is present to advise you and be your voice every step of the way.
If you have been involved in a work place incident. Call us today on 1800 695 299 for an obligation free consultation.