If you have the misfortune of being injured while at work, the very first step you or someone in authority must take is to notify and record the date, time and details of your accident or incident. This is done in the company accident book, or the site accident register, or both.

Under NSW SafeWork rules, every workplace has to have a site accident register or accident book to record every instance of an employee’s injuries, and most importantly, this must be done even though your accident might not seem serious at the time.

Too often, unless there is a need for an ambulance or urgent medical attention, many workers feel they shouldn’t make a fuss, but unless the injury is registered you will have great difficulty in making a claim if that minor injury turns out down the track to be worse than you initially thought.

You should seek attention from the first aid officer, and also a doctor if you need medical treatment, and most importantly, you must advise them that the reason for the consultation is that you have had a work injury and need a SafeWork Medical Certificate.

You might not need sick leave but you must tell your doctor if your problem is work-related.

Your boss has to notify the company’s insurer within 48 hours of your injury and they must also provide you with their insurance details. Once notification of the claim has been given to the insurer the employer will be provided with a claim number and the insurance company might require a claim form to be lodged.

If you are a member of a union you should inform them of your accident, and any accident involving a motor vehicle whether registered or unregistered has to be immediately reported to the police. This is of the utmost importance otherwise you could lose your legal rights. Of course, any accident in which someone is killed must be reported immediately to the police.

With Provisional Liability Benefits your boss’s notified insurer must begin paying weekly benefits within seven days of your injury before the liability has been accepted. However, the insurer can refuse to make such payments if they have a reasonable cause to refuse. If the provisional benefits are accepted you are entitled to be paid for up to 12 weeks and possibly your medical expenses will be covered. The amounts paid to you depend on how long you will be incapacitated for and whether you are fit for work when you return or only partially fit to do your job.  Some benefits are available to you if you are capable of other duties more suitable for your condition.

If you are a casual employee your compensation will be calculated in a different way and to make sure you are being paid the correct amount you can either call your union or seek legal advice.  As for medical costs, you may be able to claim reasonable medical expenses and be reimbursed for travel to medical appointments and treatment. And if you have a union enterprise agreement in place, then as part of your worker’s compensation you may have a productivity allowance payable for the first 26 weeks.

With regard to your rehabilitation, to manage worker’s compensation claims employers must have in place injury management and return-to-work plans. You are able to choose your own rehabilitation provider or accept the one your company uses.

In the case of permanent or long-term injury, you might be eligible for a lump sum payment or benefits, and you might also be able to sue your employer or someone else for negligence, so it is wise to consult a solicitor as soon as possible. Unfortunately, accidents still happen in the workplace despite rules, regulations and advances in workplace safety, and at times these accidents can result in death. If the injury results in a fatality, your family or estate are entitled to a lump sum death benefit. Dependent children receive ongoing weekly payments and a funeral benefit is also paid.

Other matters you should be aware of surrounding your claim include the fact that you are entitled to be paid any accumulated rostered days off, unused sick leave or holiday pay while waiting for a decision by an insurer. And be sure to keep copies of all medical certificates and completed forms. And be aware that if you fail to cooperate with a rehabilitation program you could find your benefits may be stopped.

If you are worried about losing your job as a result of receiving worker’s compensation because you are unfit for work, be assured that your employer cannot terminate your employment because you are unable to perform your duties within six months of your claim. If you are dismissed, consult a solicitor and your union to find out if you have any rights to challenge the decision.

If you need legal advice with regard to your claim don’t hesitate to call PK Simpson Injury Compensation Lawyers directly on (02) 9299 1424 or email enquiries@pksimpson.com.au.