If you suffer an injury in the course of your employment and that injury has been substantially caused by work, you may be entitled to a range of benefits under the Workers Compensation Scheme. This is irrespective of whether or not you were at fault for your injury.
The types of Workers Compensation benefits you may be entitled to include:
- Weekly payments for wage loss.
- Medical, hospital and rehabilitation expenses.
- Lump sum for permanent impairment.
What benefits am I entitled to?
Weekly compensation benefits for injuries from 1 October 2012 will be paid for the initial period of incapacity at the rate of 95% of the workers average weekly earnings for the first 13 weeks of incapacity.
For incapacity from between 14 and 130 weeks, the rate payable is 80% of the workers average weekly earnings. For any period longer than 130 weeks, entitlement to ongoing payments is dependent on the extent of incapacity and whether a worker has returned to employment or not.
Medical, Hospital and Rehabilitation Expenses
All reasonable medical expenses will be met by the insurer provided the provision of services after the first 48 hours from the injury is approved in advance by the insurer. This does not include regular consultations with the treating doctor.
Depending on the extent of the injury, the insurer is responsible to meet expenses for either two or five years after the injury or after the time when weekly payments cease. If a worker is injured to the extent they are classed as a "worker with high needs", the cost of reasonably necessary treatment is ongoing until retirement age.
After the entitlement period ceases, under some circumstances an entitlement may start again for the costs of treatment where the condition of the worker requires additional surgery which necessitates time away from work.
Lump Sum for Permanent Impairment
Where a worker has been left with a permanent degree of impairment and the injury has reached maximum medical improvement, there may be an entitlement to additional compensation by way of a lump sum for that permanent impairment.
Do I need to see a lawyer?
Workers Compensation is very technical and complex and it is recommended that you see a lawyer so that you are aware of your rights. This will help to ease some of the stress you may feel whilst on compensation. Provided the insurer is meeting their obligations, there is no need for a lawyer to represent you initially; however, you should seek legal assistance should problems be experienced with the insurer in the provision of benefits. You should also seek legal advice if left with an ongoing permanent impairment and also if the insurer makes an offer to settle any part of your claim.
A workplace injury must be reported to the employer as soon as possible. Failure to do so could jeopardise entitlements. Once the employer is advised of the injury, the employer is obliged to provide the information to the Workers Compensation insurer within 48 hours and the insurer should commence payment of compensation benefits within 7 days after being notified of the injury, (unless they have a reasonable excuse for not doing so). If the worker requires more than 12 weeks of incapacity from work, a claim form must be submitted. A claim must be made within six months of the date of injury or accident. In exceptional circumstances a worker can still pursue a claim in circumstances where a claim form has not been lodged within 6 months of the injury or accident.
How much will my legal costs be?
Where a matter has merit, the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) provides funding to cover workers’ legal costs and expenses. We confirm that Marsdens are approved as a provider under this scheme and as such, are able to make applications for grants and funding on behalf of workers.