Comcare is the Workers Compensation scheme for Commonwealth employees. The scheme also applies to employees of a number of private corporations who have elected to become members of the scheme (usually national corporations who have employees across more than one state).
Am I entitled to make a claim?
If you have been injured “in the course of your employment”, you may be entitled to compensation.
Injuries considered to arise from the “course of employment” include (but are not limited to) injuries which occur:
- At work
- During a work recess
- As a result of violence at work
- While travelling for work
- While attending a work education program
- While undergoing treatment or rehabilitation for a previous work injury.
A journey to or from work is not considered to be “in the course of your employment” for the purposes of a claim. However, travel for the purpose of employment is covered, as is travel to or from a work education activity.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident on your journey to or from work, you may be entitled to make a claim under the Motor Accidents Compensation Scheme
What compensation am I entitled to claim?
Compensation may include:
1. Medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses;
2. Weekly wages;
3. Lump sum compensation for permanent impairment.
If your claim is approved, medical treatment expenses will be paid (to the extent that the treatment is deemed reasonable).
The insurer will reimburse expenses associated with your travel to undergo medical treatment as well as the cost of aids, home modifications and attendant care services, as applicable.
If you are totally or partially incapacitated from work, you will be entitled to a weekly payment of wages. The amount of the payment is calculated with reference to your normal weekly earnings.
After the first 45 weeks of incapacity, reduced rates of payment will apply.
If your injury has resulted in a permanent impairment, you may be entitled to a lump sum to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
For most injuries your level of permanent impairment must exceed 10% whole person impairment, however there are exceptions to this threshold for hearing loss, loss of finger or toes, or loss of sense of taste or smell.
The receipt of a lump sum does not end your claim. You may be entitled to continue to receive treatment expenses and weekly wages despite the receipt of a lump sum.
How does the claims process work?
If you suffer an injury and you are covered by the Comcare scheme, you should take the following steps:
- Report the injury to your employer
- Seek treatment and obtain a medical certificate
- Ask your employer to provide you with a claim form or access the form on the Comcare website
- Complete the form and lodge it online or provide it to your employer
Comcare or the insurer (as applicable) will make a determination as to whether there is liability to make payments with respect to your injury.
Do I need a solicitor?
If liability is denied, you should contact one of our experienced solicitors for advice regarding your claim.
You should also speak to us to obtain advice regarding your entitlement to make a claim for a lump sum for permanent impairment. The eligibility criteria and the compensation amount can be complex, so it is important to obtain legal advice.
How can I help my solicitor?
If you instruct Marsdens to represent you in your claim, you can assist us by keeping a diary of your injuries, symptoms and related effects. It is also important that you attend to any tasks requested of you and keep us advised of any significant changes in your situation (e.g. new employment or change of address).
If I already have a solicitor, can I instruct Marsdens?
If you are unhappy with your current solicitors, we would be happy to discuss the possibility of taking over the conduct of your claim.
Will I need to go to court?
If a dispute cannot be resolved, an application can be made to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal to determine the dispute. You may need to give evidence before the Tribunal.
How much will it cost?
In most cases Marsdens will accept your instructions act on a “no win no fee” basis. Professional costs will only be payable upon successful completion of your matter.
If it is necessary to obtain medical reports or other evidence to support your claim you may be required to pay for that evidence. If you are unable to afford these expenses, alternative arrangements can be discussed.
How much will I receive?
Your compensation will be assessed based on your own individual circumstances.
An assessment of your entitlements will be based on your evidence and the medical and other evidence obtained in support of your claim.
Will my claim affect my Centrelink benefits?
You are only entitled to receive payments of compensation from one source and therefore, you are not entitled to “double dip” by receiving both weekly wages payments in addition to Centrelink benefits.
Will the insurer actively follow me or invade my privacy?
When you make a claim for statutory benefits or damages, the insurer is entitled to gather information about you to enable an assessment of your claim. This may include information which you may not expect to be relevant, including information from your medical practitioners or employer, or from government agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office or Centrelink.
In rare cases, an insurer may arrange surveillance of a claimant, to gather additional evidence about the injury and the claim.
Can I sue my employer?
If you believe that your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, you may elect to commence legal proceedings against the employer directly.
We recommend that you speak to one of our experienced solicitors for further advice.
What if my injury occurred in the course of my employment as a member of the Defence Force?
If your injury occurred in the course of your employment as a member of the Defence Force, your entitlement to compensation is governed by separate legislation.
We recommend that you contact one of our experienced solicitors to discuss your circumstances and your entitlement to compensation.