Employment laws in Australia require employers to cover all employees with workers compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to help make payments for lost wages and medical expenses in the event that an employee is injured or becomes unwell due to their work.
What is WorkCover?
In the state of Queensland then WorkCover Queensland is the default workers compensation insurer. While the majority of workers in Queensland are covered by WorkCover, some larger organisations such as supermarket chains cover their employers with their own insurance policies.
How does workers compensation work?
WorkCover is a no-fault compensation scheme which means you are entitled to claim for a work related injury regardless of fault. For example, this would mean you could open a WorkCover claim for an injury that was your own fault or in a situation that was out of the employers control such as injury on the way to or from work.
WorkCover helps cover the majority of your salary and medical expenses such as:
Specialist medical appointments
Surgery (if required)
If you have experienced a work injury that occurred to the negligence of others then you may be eligible for a common law claim which can be run by a work accident lawyer. These claims are made against the insurance policy of your employer (such as WorkCover) and result in a tax-free lump sum payout on successful settlement.
The team at Murphy’s Law are experts in workers compensation claims. Our Brisbane based team helps clients across Queensland and all claims are run on a no win, no fee basis.
What does a common law workers compensation claim compensate for?
You can seek compensation for all the following areas:
Lost income in the past
Future potential lost income
Past and future lost superannuation benefits
Past and future medical expenses
General damages (referred to as “pain and suffering”, you can claim damages for each individual injury you have sustained)
Out of pocket expenses (e.g. purchasing dressings, knee braces, new pillows)
What types of injuries can I claim for?
Any physical or psychological injury can give rise to a compensation claim for damages.
What are the most common types of work injuries?
For people working in labour intensive roles, some of the more common injuries include:
The majority of employers in Queensland are insured through WorkCover Queensland. However, some larger companies are self-insured for worker’s compensation claims.
Regardless of the insurer, the whole process from beginning to end can be summarised as follows:
Our initial meeting – we’ll meet with you and discuss all aspects of your claim, obtain your instructions.
Commence the claim – we’ll prepare and serve WorkCover with your Notice of Claim for Damages (Form 280).
Investigations and evidence gathering – we analyse your claim and situation, then tailor our investigations into establishing liability (i.e. providing fault) and supporting the quantum value of your claim (i.e. identifying what your damages are and obtaining evidence to support those losses).
Medical Examinations – to assess the nature and extent of your injuries, we’ll arrange for you to be examined by medical experts who will provide a report. In return, WorkCover may also require you to be medically examined.
Settlement – we will meet with WorkCover (or their legal representatives) and do our best to negotiate a settlement of your claim.
If your matter doesn’t reach a settlement at this initial meeting, we’ll then discuss your options and plan your next move. Most of the time, your claim will reach a settlement on a following date without needing to proceed to court (very few cases will ever proceed to a trial).
How long do I have to lodge a WorkCover claim?
Typically the time limit is 3 years from the date of injury although it’s beneficial to get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure strong evidence can be gathered, you get the most assistance with your injury recovery and to avoid missing any time limits.
For any claim for common law damages, you must submit a Notice of Claim for Damages (Form 280) within 3 years of the date of your injury. If you fail to do so, you will likely lose all rights to pursue a personal injuries claim. Our work injury experts can take care of this process.
Extensions are sometimes available, but can be difficult to obtain. For that reason, we strongly encourage injured workers to seek legal advice as soon as possible before it becomes too late.
How long will it take to make a work accident claim?
It really depends upon the nature of your injuries and your recovery.
If your injuries are less severe, you may find that your claim is finalised within 12 months. For injuries that are more severe or require multiple surgeries, it could take as long as 24 months (or longer).
Our team can provide a more accurate estimate based on your specific situation.
How much compensation for an injury at work?
This is a very common question. In short, there is no set answer as it will depend on a range of factors such as past and future loss of earnings, your age, your ability to work, the amount of medical costs and so on.
Example; two workers who both broke an arm at work.
Worker 1 = Office worker, aged 50
Worker 2 = Skilled construction worker, age 28.
Both workers have the same injury. However, for worker 1 the impact may be a few weeks off work before being able to continue working at full capacity and pay. Worker 2 on the other hand may lose the ability to continue their trade as it required heavy lifting. They may have a much larger claim as they will suffer a very long term loss of earnings.
Our team of Brisbane work injury lawyers can provide free initial advice and will be able to provide a clearer indication of your claim once they understand your individual circumstances. Call us now or request a call-back to see if we can assist.
Injured at work? Use our online claims checker or give us call to check your rights and options.
For small injuries requiring a few days off from work then you may not need a lawyer, just a simple claim through WorkCover.
For injuries likely to cause longer term impacts then a work accident lawyer can help secure suitable compensation. As it’s not always possible to tell if a work injury will have long term impacts it’s a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Can I resign while on WorkCover?
Yes, you are not compelled to continue working with your employer if you decide to pursue a claim against them. However, it is advisable to seek legal advice before doing so.
Can my employer terminate me while on workers compensation?
No, your employer cannot terminate your employment just because you are pursuing a claim against them. An employer doing so would be potential grounds for unfair dismissal.
How to claim WorkCover
In order to make a common law claim, you need to serve WorkCover with your completed Notice of Claim for Damages (Form 280).
It sounds fairly simple, but to ensure that you have correctly identified and accurately valued all of your potential damages, it is strongly advised that you seek legal advice before serving WorkCover with a Notice of Claim for Damages.
How to report a work injury?
First and foremost, you should notify your employer immediately. Whilst it might be useful to initially report the incident verbally, we would encourage you to inform your employer in writing of all the details concerning the accident (sending an email can be the easiest way to do this).
In return, your employer should submit a Form 3 Incident Notification Form to WorkCover which details the circumstances of the accident, the person(s) injured and their injuries.
Is superannuation paid on workers compensation?
Any superannuation benefits that you have not received (or may not receive in the future) are calculated by your lawyer and claimed as part of your damages.
Any settlement or award for damages from your WorkCover claim will not attract any additional contributions towards your superannuation.
Who is covered by worker’s compensation?
Workers who have been injured whilst working, or who have suffered a work-related illness, may be entitled to make a claim for damages.
If you're self-employed or a subcontractor, it's still possible that you may have a claim for workers compensation.
If you’re an independent contractor, you may be entitled to other insurance claims (depending upon your insurance policy(s) that you hold).
Who will pay for my workers compensation damages?
The insurer will be responsible for paying your damages (rather than your employer).
In some instances, once you have brought a claim against your employer the premium that they pay for their insurance policy may increase.
Does workers compensation affect future employment?
If an employer were to treat you unfairly due to your injuries, that could constitute discrimination.
Just because you have brought a common law worker’s compensation claim doesn’t mean that employers are allowed to hold that against you. You are entitled to be treated equally alongside workers who have not been injured.
Are workers compensation settlements taxable?
As personal injury lawyers, we are not in the best position to provide you with any financial or tax advice.
However, the short answer is no. If your settlement includes an allowance for past and future lost earnings, they are calculated on a net basis (i..e after tax). Once you receive your settlement, there shouldn’t be any tax that needs to be paid.
If you reside outside of Australia you should seek further advice on this issue before accepting a settlement.
Does WorkCover cover travel to and from work in Queensland?
Even though you may have been injured away from your place of work, you may still be entitled to make a claim for damages.
For example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident whilst heading to or from work, you may still be entitled to bring a claim against your employer.
In some circumstances, you may actually be entitled to bring two claims (a claim against your employer and a claim against the CTP insurer of the driver at fault).
Does workers compensation cover stress related claims?
Yes. If you can show that your psychological symptoms are connected with your employment, you will likely be able to pursue a claim for damages. Psychological injuries can include conditions such as PTSD after a traumatic event at work.