Work related injuries
FAQs - your questions answered
If you suffer from an injury, illness or disease as a result of, or in the course of employment, you can claim workers’ compensation.
Workers' compensation schemes cover injured workers, including part-time workers, casual workers and in many circumstances subcontractors such as owner/drivers and agency nurses.
If you are an injured Commonwealth Government employee, or an injured employee of a large national company, you can claim under the Federal Comcare scheme.
The compensation and benefits you are entitled to can vary greatly depending on the seriousness of your injury and law under which you’re covered.
As well as workplace accidents, you may also be able to claim compensation for a recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any pre-existing injuries or disease impacted by your work. Injuries including cancers, strokes, asthma, heart conditions and degenerative conditions are often made worse by employment.
In some states you may be able claim for injuries sustained during a normal recess, such as lunchtime or morning and afternoon tea breaks. As long as you can show some relationship between your employment and the injury, you may be able to claim compensation.
Time limits vary under the different state and Federal laws. It’s important to report your injury to your work and the workers’ compensation authority that covers you as soon as possible – and usually within 30 days – of becoming aware of the injury. This includes completing a claim form and getting a medical certificate. The actual legal process may take up to several years, especially if you have to wait for injuries to stabilise. It’s important you talk with a lawyer if you’re unsure about the amount of time you have to claim, even if it has been more than 30 days since you were injured.
To make a claim you should:
- report your injury to your employer within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury
- complete a workers' compensation claim form
- get a worker’s compensation medical certificate
- make sure to keep copies of the claim form and medical certificate and give the originals to your employer as soon as possible
- make sure your employer signs and dates the form on the day you provide it to them, and
- lodge a copy of the claim form with the workers' compensation authority.
Our work related injury experts can give you more information about the claim process.
We can't tell how much you will get without your specific information. However, you may receive payments that are equal to a percentage of your weekly earnings, along with payment for all reasonable medical and associated expenses.
You can claim a lump sum for permanent impairment. Generally, a claim cannot be made within 12 months of the injury and not before the injury is stable. The lump sum amount will depend on your impairment level, date of injury, and the law that covers your workers’ compensation.
If a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury, illness or disease, the dependants of the worker are able to claim a compensation lump sum along with a pension. If the death is the fault of the employer or any other person, a dependant may also be entitled to bring a common law claim seeking damages in some states. It is important to seek legal advice about this.
- personal and household
- rehabilitation, and
- ambulance services
are covered by workers’ compensation.
Expenses such as doctors, chemists, physiotherapy and chiropractic bills are also covered.
Your workers’ compensation authority may also approve payment for attendant care, modifications to a home or car, home help and transportation costs.
Depending on the state in which your injury occurred, you may be able to sue for additional compensation under common law if your injuries are the fault of your employer or any other person. These claims can be made even if the injury may have been partly your fault. Successful claims result in lump sums being payable.
Common law claims usually include money being claimed for:
- pain and suffering
- past and future medical expenses
- past loss of earnings
- future loss of earnings or loss of earning capacity, and
- past and future loss of Superannuation contributions.
Time limits and complicated rules apply in states where common law claims are available so it is essential to speak to an expert lawyer.
Yes, you can claim if you have taken out income protection that’s part of your superannuation policy. Also, if you're forced out of your trade or job due to the injury, you may be entitled to a superannuation lump sum. We are experts in this area. It’s important to talk with a lawyer about how best to do this.
Never being able to work again: Peter's story
Peter Colombo was working as a forklift driver in a warehouse in Melbourne when he was involved in an collision that jolted and twisted his spine leaving him unable to work again. He is in constant pain and has undergone many operations. WorkCover accredited specialist lawyer Salvatore Giandinoto from Maurice Blackburn's Greensborough office settled Peter's claim against his employer in 2013.