Seeking workers compensation: factors to consider


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If you are injured at work, you may be able to receive compensation from WorkSafe. However, there are a number of factors to consider before submitting a claim. It is important to discuss these important considerations with a compensation lawyer, prior to completing a claim for compensation.

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It is important to first consider the aims and purposes of workers’ compensation and whether these align with your specific intentions. Importantly, workers compensation is separate to an option of pursuing common law damages against an employer. Instead, the aim of the workers compensation scheme is to

● provide injured workers with financial support;

● provide injured workers with medical benefits and other forms of support;

● to achieve an early, safe and appropriate return to work for the injured employee.

1. Type of claim

It is important to first consider the type of claim you seek to make. The various work related injury claims include;

● Permanent impairment claims

● Psychological injury claims

● Work break and journey claims

The type of injury that you have and the claim that you seek to make, will have a significant impact on the considerations made prior to completing a workers compensation claim. For example, if you seek to make a claim for a permanent inability to resume your previous field of work, your specific workers compensation arrangements will not include considerations relating to your effective and early return to work.

2. Certificate of Capacity

The certificate of capacity is used by WorkSafe to help understand your capacity for work and the payments you are entitled to. Obtaining a Certificate of Capacity is an important factor to consider when seeking workers compensation, as it will be used to develop an injury management plan with you and your employer, and facilitate your recovery at work should you be able to return. It is important to ensure that your Certificate of Capacity is an accurate reflection by your nominated treating doctor of your capacity to complete some or all pre-injury duties, or whether you do not have the capacity to undertake employment in any form. The Certificate will dictate the number of hours and days per week you have the capacity to undertake employment, and if the doctor certifies that you do not have a current capacity for employment, will include an estimate of the time until you will regain working capacity.

3. Compensation: Loss of wages and expenses

Before applying for workers compensation, it is important to consider exactly what compensation you may be eligible to receive. This may include compensation for loss of wages, reasonable medical bills, travel expenses and other related expenses. Where you are required by your employer or a medical practitioner to travel from your home to a medical appointment or rehabilitation provider, you may be eligible to claim for the travel expenses incurred.

It is important to be aware of these potential avenues of compensation prior to applying for workers compensation, in order to ensure that you keep all relevant documents and receipts from the outset. A consultation with a lawyer can be useful in determining these possible areas of compensation, depending on your specific case.

4. Weekly Compensation

If you are unable to perform your normal job, an important factor to consider is applying for weekly compensation payments. These compensation payments are based on the injured worker’s pre-injury weekly earnings. It is important to consider when applying for weekly compensation, that the formula for calculating the compensation will change over time and will be affected by how long you have been in receipt of compensation.

5. Retaining your pre-injury position

It is important to consider, in the cases of temporary injury, whether you seek to retain your pre-injury position once you are deemed capable of returning to work. Under the law, your employer must retain your pre-injury position for one year from the day you are entitled to receive weekly compensation payments.

These factors are important to take into consideration before seeking workers compensation. Seeking advice from a compensation lawyer can help ensure you understand each step of the process involved in a workers compensation claim.

Bio: Laura Costello is in her third year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex legal topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.



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