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When you've sustained a workplace injury, you need to remember that legal protections such as workers' compensation claims (such as WorkCover) can help you secure the medical treatment and financial assistance you need when recovering from any physical or psychological injuries.

If your medical practitioner advises you to take time off work you will usually be entitled to weekly payments through your workers' compensation, and payment of your reasonable medical expenses. We highlight seven important things you should consider before lodging a workers' compensation claim. 

What to consider before making a WorkCover workers' compensation claim

1. Provide as many details of your workplace injury as you can.

When you inform your GP of your workplace injury, they'll take a history and note what happened to you. It's crucial to take this opportunity to provide your doctor with accurate details of the workplace incident, even if those details seem unimportant at the time. If there are any issues about the cause of your injury at a later date, your GP may need to know exactly how the work injury happened.

If you need any time off work due to your work injury, you should also ask your doctor for a WorkCover certificate.

2. Be wary of making statements.

Do not make a statement to a WorkCover investigator.  You have no legal obligation to do so. We have seen honest workers have trouble getting their workers' compensation claims accepted after they have provided statements, as they haven't appreciated the significance of the document they are signing. If in doubt, get advice.

3. Know what to do if your WorkCover workers’ compensation claim is rejected.

If your WorkCover compensation claim is rejected, you should dispute the decision. At first instance, you will go to the free conciliation service. If this fails to resolve the dispute, you will then have the option of going to court. It's very important to seek legal advice about your claim's merits rather than simply give up because you’re worried about the ramifications or legal costs of challenging a rejection of your WorkCover claim.

4. Realise that a workers’ compensation claim won’t work against you.

Some injured employees feel guilty or anxious about making a workers' compensation claim. They worry that taking action will give them a bad reputation, cause their employer to reduce their work hours, or cost them their jobs. If your employer is discriminating against you in response to a workers' compensation claim, remember that the law can assist you. The fact is that if you've suffered an injury at work, you're entitled to make a workers' compensation claim. Taking the time to rest, heal and receive medical treatment on your doctor's advice is likely to be better for you in the long run.

5. Know that your employer is insured for workplace injury.

We spend a lot of time at work, so a lot of injuries occur in the workplace. As a result, the law requires employers to have WorkCover insurance. This is a no-fault scheme, so in making a workers' compensation claim, you're not saying your employer is to blame; you're simply saying that you've been injured at or from work and you need time off or cover for medical expenses to recover, or both. Again, your employer's insurance covers these requirements–it doesn't come out of your employer's pocket.

6. Make your WorkCover claim as soon as possible.

If you need time off or cover for medical expenses, or both, you should make a WorkCover claim as soon as you can. You will then have to see an independent medical practitioner, who will give the insurance company or self-insured employer their medical opinion on your work injury (rather than provide you with treatment or advice). The practitioner will also provide a report for insurance purposes.

7. Seek legal advice for your workers' compensation claim.

If you suffer an injury at work, seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity. It's best to seek advice even if WorkCover accepts your claim, because you may be entitled to other rights to substantial compensation. This may be in the form of a no-fault lump sum for a permanent injury; compensation for your pain, suffering and permanent loss of income; or disablement benefits under your superannuation policy. Whatever WorkCover’s assessment of your claim, call our office to find out whether you’re entitled to anything else.

Dedicated workers' compensation claim lawyers

Our specialist work injury lawyers are here to help. If you've suffered an injury at work that has affected your physical or psychological wellbeing, we can help you get back on track so you can focus on getting better. Find out how we can assist you with your work injury claim.

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We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.