If you suffer from a workplace injury, you can access lost wages and payment of medical expenses through the Workers' Compensation scheme.
You don’t need to prove anyone’s fault to be eligible.
Typically, employees are covered by the employer's insurer. In Victoria this is the WorkCover compensation scheme.
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What is a WorkCover claim?
Under the Victorian workers’ compensation scheme, there are three types of claims:
- a WorkCover claim
- an Impairment Benefit claim
- a Common Law claim.
The WorkCover claim and the Impairment Benefit claim are ‘no-fault’ claims. This means that you do not need to establish that another party was at fault in how you sustained your injury.
A Common Law claim is a ‘fault-based’ claim and can only be made if you have sustained a serious injury as a result of negligence by your employer and/or another party.
In some cases, you may be able make all three claims in relation to the same injury.
Our WorkCover lawyers can help with a claim for
- Physical injury, disability or death caused in the workplace or ‘over the course of employment’
- Psychological condition due to workplace stress or bullying
- Aggravation of a physical or mental injury
- Development of melanoma disease or skin cancer
What are my options?
If you have an accepted WorkCover claim you may be able to access multiple levels of compensation based on the severity of your injury/illness and whether your employer was at fault.
How do I make a WorkCover claim?
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Frequently Asked Questions
I have been injured at work – what should I do?
If you have been injured at work, you need to notify your employer within 30 days of you becoming aware of your work related injury. A good way to formally notify your employer is to fill out the Register of Injuries, which must be kept at each workplace.
You should seek any medical treatment necessary. It is helpful to tell your doctor or health provider the circumstances of your work-related injury from the first consultation.
Make a claim
If you incur medical expenses or need to take time off work, you will need to complete a Worker’s Injury claim form. Printed forms are available at the post office, one of our offices or request one by calling WorkSafe on 1800 136 089.
Your employer may also be able to provide you with a copy.
In the claim form there is a section dedicated to when your injury/condition occurred and when you first noticed it. If your work injury or condition developed over a period of time, it is acceptable to write ‘injured over the course of employment’ on the claim form instead of a specific date and time of injury.
If you require assistance completing your claim form, you can contact one of our expert lawyers for free advice on (03) 9321 9988.
The claim form must be given to your employer either by hand or post.
Obtain a ‘Certificate of Capacity’ from your GP
If you are claiming for time off work, you also need to have a WorkCover Certificate of Capacity from your treating General Practitioner (GP). An ordinary medical certificate will not be accepted.
The initial WorkCover Certificate of Capacity should cover a period of no more than 14 days and all subsequent certificates should be for a period of up to 28 days.
Lodge with the insurer
Your employer has 10 days from when it receives your claim to forward the claim to its authorised insurer (also known as claims agent). It is possible to lodge a copy of a claim yourself with the authorised insurer. This is recommended in circumstances where your employer is refusing to receive your claim, or where an employer cannot be located/found, no longer operates or if there is doubt as to whether the claim form will be passed on to the authorised insurer within the required time. Penalties can be imposed on employers when claims are not forwarded to the authorised insurer.
Once the authorised insurer receives a claim it has 28 days to accept or reject the claim. If it rejects the claim it should provide written notice of the rejection. If it does not reject the claim within 28 days, then the claim is treated as accepted. Normally, before deciding whether to accept or reject the claim, the authorised insurer or claims agent will arrange for you to be examined by one of their doctors.
If you are concerned that your injury or condition could cause you to have ongoing problems, it is worthwhile to seek legal advice while the circumstances of the injury are still fresh in your mind. For free initial legal advice over the telephone, call Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 to speak directly to a member of our team.
How long do I have to make a WorkCover claim?
There is no strict time limit to bring a ‘no-fault’ WorkCover claim, but you do need to notify your employer within 30 days of you becoming aware of your work related injury.
A good way to formally notify your employer is to fill out the Register of Injuries, which must be kept at each workplace.
You only have six years from your date of injury to bring a common law claim against your employer. This date may be extended in some circumstances, such as if you have only recently become aware of the seriousness of your injury.
How long does the authorised insurer have to accept or reject my claim?
Once the authorised insurer receives a WorkCover claim it has 28 days in which to accept or reject the claim.
If it rejects the claim, it should provide you with written notice of the rejection. If the authorised insurer does not provide written notice of its decision within 28 days, the claim is deemed to have been accepted.
Normally, before deciding whether to accept or reject the claim, the authorised insurer will arrange for you to be examined by one of their doctors.
Who is covered under WorkCover?
In order to be covered by WorkCover, the following criteria must be met:
- you must be a worker
- the injury must be a work-related injury. That is, the injury arose out of or in the course of your employment or your employment is a significant contributing factor to the development of the injury/condition.
WorkCover is a workers’ compensation ‘no fault’ scheme established by law to compensate Victorian workers who are injured at work or who suffer from a work-related illness.
Workers are covered by the scheme regardless of who was at fault.
In certain circumstances, independent contractors may be eligible for workers compensation under the WorkCover scheme. For instance, a contractor who works regular hours with one employer over a period of time may be eligible, even though tax is not deducted from their pay. Clothing outworkers and local councillors as well as others are also considered ‘deemed workers’ under workers’ compensation law.
If you are unsure whether you will be considered a worker and eligible for benefits, contact Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 for free legal advice.
I don’t believe I could have been better looked after as I balanced rehabilitation, my future work prospects, and the necessary investigations and paperwork that were required for a workers compensation claim that went on for several years. The result was very kind.- Graeme, Clayton