Having an accident at work can conjure up a cocktail of emotions. As well as the stress and pain there is also the bureaucracy and the work compensation procedures to deal with. Work compensation (or workers comp) for work accidents offer benefits to workers who have suffered an injury. These benefits are awarded by the work compensation insurer i.e. work cover. Benefits may include:
- Loss of earnings
- Hospital and / or medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Nursing expenses
- Travel expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Lump sum payment
Unfortunately, work compensation claims not be; ‘plain sailing’. Once your injury has settled work cover (or other insurer) may want to get you off their books. This effectively ends your workers comp claim. They may do this by offering a lump sum payment.
The lump sum payment offered considers current losses and expenses to date. It will not take into consideration any future losses or expenses. At this point it is very important to get independent advice from an organisation such as the Australian Injury Helpline.
Depending on your workplace injuries, you may have other compensation entitlements. If work accidents are caused by someone elses ‘negligence’ whether fully or partially, you may be entitled to a common law claim. A common law claim is separate workers comp claim only available outside of ‘work compensation’.
In one Australian State in order to move onto a common law claim, you must refuse the lump sum payment. Once accepted you will lose your right to a common law work compensation claim. In another Australian State you can move onto common law following acceptance of a lump sum payment. It is very important to get advice before accepting or rejecting a lump sum payments so your entitlements are unaffected.
Workplace injuries which cause a permanent physical impairment, is assessed by a work cover medical professional. Your injury is measured and a percentage of impairment is given by the work cover doctor. This level of impairment is only their opinion and another doctor may offer a different assessment.
You have a right to get a second medical opinion. Never accept any offer of compensation until you have contacted an independent work compensation organisation.
You can find out all your rights and options by contacting a workers comp helpline who offer services including:
- Free workers comp information and forms
- Work cover information
- A free case review
- Free legal advice
- Referral service to a specialist work injury lawyer
You may or may not have common law entitlements but if you do you need to follow protocol. To find out what that protocol is, seek independent advice before you agree to, or accept any offer of work compensation. Contact a free helpline such as the Australian Injury Helpline who can assist.