What to do if you've been injured at work
If you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of your employment, regardless of the type of occupation, the first thing you should do is report it to your employer. This must be done within 30 days of becoming aware of the condition, and includes completing a WorkCover claim form and getting a WorkCover medical certificate from your doctor.
Be sure to make and retain copies of both the claim form and the medical certificate before you give the originals to your employer. Make sure your employer signs them, then lodge a copy of the claim form with the workers' compensation authority in your state.
Workers’ compensation laws and entitlements vary between states and territories and may be known as WorkCover, CTP or WorkSafe. Employees of the Commonwealth and ACT governments—and of some large national employers—are covered by the Comcare system. Whichever system you’re covered by, if you’ve been injured at work, our expert work injury compensation lawyers will fight to protect your legal rights.
At Maurice Blackburn, we know that claiming workers’ compensation can be a complicated and involved process. That's why we have a team of expert lawyers that specialise in WorkCover and workplace injury claims who can help you.
We have offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and throughout Australia. Contact us today for more information.
When can you claim workers' compensation?
You may be able to claim workers' compensation if:
- you've had an accident at or as a result of work (which may include injuries sustained during a recess, such as lunchtime or morning and afternoon breaks)
- your health and wellbeing have been affected in the workplace (more on work-related illnesses here)
- a pre-existing injury or illness worsens in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation covers reasonable expenses including medical, personal, occupational and rehabilitation expenses—and potentially more. As long as you can show some relationship between your employment and the injury or illness, you may be able to claim compensation.
Depending on your state or territory, workers' compensation may be known as CTP, WorkCover, WorkSafe or the federal Comcare system (for employees of the Commonwealth and ACT governments and some large national companies). The compensation and benefits can vary greatly depending on your injury and on the law you’re covered by.
Time limits for reporting your injury to your employer and relevant authority vary as well. It's often 30 days, but talk with a lawyer about your entitlements even if it's been longer than that since your injury.
If someone dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, their dependants can claim a compensation lump sum along with pension. If the death is the fault of the employer or any other person, dependants may also be able to bring a common law claim seeking damages. These cases can be complex, so its important to talk to a lawyer.
Did you know?
- Workers' compensation schemes include part-time and casual workers and often include subcontractors.
- Illnesses including cancer, strokes, asthma, heart conditions and degenerative conditions are often made worse by employment. This includes recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration.
- You also can make a superannuation claim if income protection is part of your superannuation policy. If you're forced out of your trade or job due to the injury, you may be entitled to a superannuation lump sum.
- You can claim a lump sum for permanent impairment, generally after the injury is stable and after 12 months have passed since the injury was sustained. The amount will depend on your injury, when it happened, and the law that covers your workers’ compensation.
- If your injuries are at least partly the fault of your employer or someone else, you may be able to sue for more compensation under common law. These claims can include compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and lost superannuation contributions (both past and future), and inability to work.
Why Maurice Blackburn?
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is committed to being Australia’s leading work-related injury law firm. We have exceptional expertise in this area of law, a strong history of successful cases and a full suite of legal services we can draw upon to help you in any circumstance.
We understand that claiming workers’ compensation can be a complicated and involved process—especially when you're sick or injured. Our team specialises in these claims, so they are familiar with what you're going through and understand your needs. It’s our mission to ensure you get your full compensation payout to help you get back to being you as soon as possible.
We offer 'no win, no fee'* arrangements for these types of cases, which means that you don't have to pay for our legal services if we don’t win.
Maurice Blackburn has lawyers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and throughout Australia. Contact us today to book a free consultation and find out how we can help you.
All you need to know about workers' compensation
If you've had an accident or if your health and wellbeing have been affected in the workplace, you may be eligible to make a claim for workers’ compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you suffer from an injury, illness or disease as a result of—or in the course of—your 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 the 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 diseases 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 to 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—usually within 30 days—once you've become aware of your 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 workers' 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
- 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.
All 'reasonable' expenses are covered by workers’ compensation for services related to:
- medical, hospital and nursing
- personal and household
- ambulance services
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
- past and future loss of superannuation contributions.
Time limits and complicated rules apply in states where common law claims are available, so it's essential that you speak to an expert lawyer.
Yes, you can 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. It’s important to talk with a lawyer about how best to do this. We are experts in this area of law.