Workers’ compensation insurance is a cornerstone of Australian employment law, providing a safety net for workers injured at work or who become ill due to their work environment or duties. In most states, the Workers’ Compensation Act is a no-fault insurance scheme, meaning you don’t need to prove your employer’s negligence to claim benefits such as rehabilitation, weekly payments, medical treatment and a lump sum payout.

Who Needs Workers Compensation Cover?

Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, anyone who employs or hires workers full-time, part-time or casually under a written or oral contract of service or training needs workers’ compensation insurance. Note: working directors of corporations are considered employees of that corporation.

A workers’ compensation policy covers workers suffering a work-related injury or becoming ill due to working conditions or tasks. The policy protects businesses against the cost of supporting injured workers. These costs can include:

  • Weekly payments
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Certain personal items (e.g. property, clothing, spectacles, if damaged in a work-related accident)
  • A lump sum payment for death or permanent impairment.

In Australia, all employers hiring a certain number of workers or paying less than $7,500 in annual wages must have some form of workers’ compensation insurance.

Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation schemes cover all employees, including full-time, part-time, casual, and labour-hire employees. Regarding labour-hire workers, both labour-hire agencies and the host organisation are responsible for providing workers’ compensation.

While there are different workers’ compensation schemes in various states in Australia, this summary will outline the key features of workers’ compensation entitlements. If you are injured at work due to your job, you can contact PK Simpson here or the workers’ compensation regulator in your state or territory.

Workers’ Compensation Entitlements

Workers compensation covers a broad range of work-related injuries and illnesses. This includes:

  • Physical injuries:

These can be anything from a minor cut sustained on the job to a severe back injury from repetitive lifting.

  • Psychological injuries:

Work-related stress, anxiety, and depression can also be covered if caused by your employment.

  • Occupational diseases:

You may be entitled to compensation if you develop a disease due to exposure to hazardous materials or work practices.

How to Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you are injured or become ill at work, the first step is to notify your employer as soon as possible. And see your GP as soon as possible. Your employer must provide information on how to claim with the relevant workers’ compensation authority. Each state and territory has its jurisdiction, with some claim process variations. Generally, you must submit a claim form and supporting documentation, such as medical reports.

The Entitlements Available From Workers’ Compensation

The type and amount of benefits and entitlement available to anyone with a work-related injury depend on their jurisdiction, the severity of their injury or illness, and their capacity to work.

Standard Entitlements for Injured Workers

  • Medical expenses: Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of necessary treatment related to your work-related injury or illness.
  • Weekly payments: If you cannot work due to your injury or illness, you may be entitled to weekly payments to replace a portion of your income. The exact amount of weekly payments will vary depending on your pre-injury earnings.
  • Return to work assistance: Workers’ compensation authorities often provide programs to help you return to work as soon as possible. This may include vocational rehabilitation or retraining.
  • Lump sum compensation: In some cases, you may be eligible for a lump sum payment for permanent impairment caused by your injury or illness.

Time Limits For Workers’ Compensation Claims

Depending on the state or territory, time limits apply when making workers’ compensation claims, so acting promptly after your injury or illness is crucial. Generally, you will have around six months to lodge a claim, although some exceptions may apply. This is why contacting a reputable firm of lawyers, such as PK Simpson, is essential so you have the correct information from the start.

If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied

Injured workers should never give up if they disagree with a decision made by the workers’ compensation authority. You may have the right to lodge a dispute. This process typically involves an internal review or an application to a tribunal. Experienced dispute resolution, personal injury lawyers, and legal help are crucial in this case, so don’t give up.

Things You Should Do if Injured at Work

If you’re injured at work or become ill due to working conditions or tasks, you must get medical help and notify your employer immediately. Other things to consider and carry out when making a workers’ compensation claim are as follows:

  • Seek legal advice:

If you have a complex workers’ compensation case or are unsure about your rights, it’s advisable to seek legal advice from a lawyer specialising in workplace relations.

  • Gather and maintain medical records:

It’s essential to keep detailed records of all medical appointments and treatments related to your work injury or illness. This will be crucial evidence if you need to make a claim.

  • State and territory variations:

As mentioned earlier, workers’ compensation schemes vary slightly across Australia. For the most up-to-date information, consult the specific authority in your state or territory. At PK Simpson, we help injured workers and others injured in various situations across Australia, so we know what you need in your jurisdiction.

Workers Compensation Protects Workers

Workers’ compensation plays a crucial role in safeguarding the health and well-being of Australian workers. It serves as a vital mechanism for ensuring that employees receive the necessary support and resources in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses.

By comprehensively understanding your entitlements and adhering to the prescribed procedures, you can effectively navigate the intricacies of the system and secure the assistance you require for your work health.

A small business must delve into the detailed information surrounding workers’ compensation to ensure compliance and facilitate a smooth recovery process for their employees.

Remember, while this summary provides a foundational understanding, seeking specific guidance from relevant authorities or legal counsel is advised, particularly considering the nuanced regulations that vary across different states.

Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation

In NSW, for example, a body known as iCare handles eligible workers’ compensation claims. If you have an eligible workers’ compensation claim, iCare may pay for the costs of your medical treatment.

NSW Example of How Compensation Works

According to iCare, workers in NSW with no permanent impairment or permanent impairment from 1 to 10 per cent can claim:

  • From the date the claim is lodged to two years after weekly payments are stopped or;
  • For two years from the date of the claim lodgement if no weekly payments are made.

Workers with permanent impairment from 11 to 20 per cent can claim:

  • From the date of claim to five years after weekly payments stop being payable or;
  • For five years from the date of claim if no weekly payments are made.

Workers with high needs can claim expenses for life. For those with:

  • A permanent impairment assessed as greater than 20 per cent or;
  • Where an approved medical specialist has declined to make an assessment, the worker has not reached maximum medical improvement or;
  • For a worker whose insurer is satisfied that they have the applicable degree of permanent impairment, or it is likely to be more than 20 per cent.

Injured at Work? Contact PK Simpson Today

If you have been injured at work, contact us at PK Simpson’s personal injury and compensation lawyers as soon as possible after the accident. We will gather all the necessary witness details, essential information, photographs and other necessary documents and evidence on your behalf.

These may include engaging experts, reviewing medical records and lost earnings, and assessing your future circumstances and needs. Our dedicated team will help you communicate with your employer’s insurance company, negotiate and look after all aspects of your claim to ensure you get the best possible result. For further information, contact us here.