WORKCOVER NOTICE OF ASSESSMENT AND LUMP SUM OFFERS

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.

Is My Injury Work Related?

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.

Workplace Injuries

Am I a ‘Worker’?

A worker is an individual (i.e. not a company) who “works under a contract and in relation to the work”. Typically this means someone working under an employment contract. Examples include casual and permanent employees and full-time and part-time employees.

Even where a person is self-employed or a ‘sub-contractor’, they may be a worker under the Act. Examples of sub-contractors eligible as ‘workers’ can include the following:

  • A sales person paid by commission
  • A person hired through a labour agency or a training organisation.

A person who is working under their Australian Business Number (ABN), and responsible for their own tax will still count as an individual, and thus may be eligible as a worker’.

Examples of people that are not workers include:

  • Owner-manager type roles such as a director of a corporation
  • A trustee of a trust, or a partner in a partnership business.
  • Independent contractors, such as those that have freedom in the way the work is done, are free to pay/delegate to someone else (subcontract) and are free to accept or refuse additional work. These people are unlikely to be considered a ‘worker’.

Is Work the “Cause” of the Injury?

The key requirement for a workplace compensation claim is that the injury must arise out of, or occur in the course of, the worker’s employment.

Injuries don’t need to happen only at work: travelling to and from work, or while on a break from work may count as workplace injuries.

Injuries can also take place if you are travelling for work, or visiting other workplaces or sites for the purposes of your job. In certain cases, employees may also be covered while injured when working from home.

In some cases, Workers Compensation may not apply if you were driving to or from work in Queensland. If your injury involves a motor vehicle or public transport accident, you may still be entitled to motor vehicle accident compensation.

Legal Help

Whether an injury is workplace-related is determined on a case-by-case basis. The actions you were taking and reasons for taking them will both be considered. Some workplace injuries that take time to manifest, such as stress, can present extra challenges when making claims.

For more information, get in contact with one of our personal injury law experts at info@brisbaneinjury.com.au or via phone on (07) 3009 8444.

What Is Whiplash?

 

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe neck pain which has resulted from a soft tissue injury to the neck. It is a common injury that is caused by a traumatic incident such as a car accident, where in the neck is extended beyond its typical range of motion causing an abrupt forward backward movement to the spine. This form of injury can cause significant pain and disability.

So, what are the symptoms of whiplash? What are some ways to treat it? How can you be sure that you are taken care of? There are a lot of questions to be answered for those who are suffering from whiplash. Hopefully, you will find most of the answers you are looking for here.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The symptoms of your whiplash will depend on the severity of it. Some people hardly experience any symptoms at all, while some suffer from severe pain and symptoms. Typically, pain and symptoms can arise between 6 and 12 hours after the accident, and can often worsen over more time.

Some of the more common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck area
  • Swelling and tenderness in the neck and shoulders
  • Immobility in the neck area
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or the feeling of pins and needles in the arms and hands
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Headaches

 

If you experience fatigue, dizziness, or vertigo (feeling as if you are spinning even if you are standing still), or your symptoms begin to worsen, then you should seek medical attention immediately.  It is extremely important to be checked by a doctor as you could be experiencing something more serious than whiplash.

 

What Treatments Can Help With Whiplash?

Whiplash, like other sprains and strains of muscles, will take time to heal. Some treatments that can be effective are:

  • Wearing a soft cervical neck brace or collar for comfort and limited movement.
  • Do gentle neck exercises to increase mobility and range of motion.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Use an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
  • Staying active can reduce healing time, though keeping activities mild and not overdoing it is imperative.
  • Massage and physio can also be helpful.

 

If you have suffered from an accident resulting in whiplash and need help covering your medical expenses, contact us today. You may be entitled to partial or full compensation. We care about your health and safety and will do what we can to help. Call us on 1800 695 299.