Workplace injuries are exceedingly common as Australian workers put themselves in dangerous situations on behalf of their employer. Be it company negligence, accidental injury or defective equipment, it’s important to know your rights. In this article, we will be explaining the processes involved with workers’ compensation in Queensland and wider Australia.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of pre-arranged insurance to financially support employees who have been injured or become sick at the fault of their working conditions. Compensation consists of payments for employees to cover their medical expenses, rehabilitation and their wages while they are unable to work and
Employers in Australia are required to take out workers’ compensation insurance in preparation for potential injuries on behalf of themselves and their employees.
Your Rights as an Injured Employee
If you have been injured at or because of work, you may be eligible to claim benefits from WorkCover, or your employer if they are self-insured. Injuries can happen at work, travelling to or from work and while on a meal break. You may also be covered while working from home, so long as the injury arises out of employment.
- Physical injuries – lacerations, fractures, burns or industrial deafness
- Diseases – asbestosis or bacteria spread by livestock
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- Psychiatric or psychological disorders – anxiety, depression, undue stress
Making a Worker’s Compensation Claim
It is advised that you seek legal consultation as soon as possible as there are time limits involved in making a claim. It is valuable to have an attorney working on your behalf to navigate sensitive, workplace relationships and ensure you are not being taken advantage of.
Once a claim has been made, it is allocated to a WorkCover Queensland representative who will act as a liaison between yourself and your employer. This representative will gather as much information as possible before lodging the claim under the Worker’s Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
Challenging an Insurance Company
If the information gathered is accurate and timely, WorkCover can generally make a decision in less than 20 business days. It is within your rights to appeal this decision.
If you are offered compensation from your employer’s insurance company, be wary as the insurance brokers have an agenda to limit the claim and attempt to have you back at work sooner than necessary. Future health implications and fees can come as a surprise. No matter how attractive an offer seems, it is unwise to accept the insurance company’s rehabilitation timeline and payment without speaking to a lawyer.
Benefits of Seeking Legal Advice
At times, the employee who has suffered an injury is pressured by insurance companies to hasten the rehabilitation process or contemplate resignation – do not make any decisions until you have spoken to a solicitor. If you have been offered a lump-sum compensation, seek legal advice to ensure this payment is within the acceptable range.
Legal fees, including the cost of medical reports, are covered by the insurer so you should not feel discouraged to seek professional assistance before finalising a compensation claim.
If you are in need of legal support for workers’ compensation claims, do not hesitate to make a free inquiry with Brisbane Injury Lawyers. Contact us online or call 07 3188 5800 to further understand your rights.