We know that claiming compensation can be a complicated and involved process. We have experienced WorkCover lawyers who can help you with your claim.
With our “no win, no fee” policy, it means if we do not win you do not have to pay our fees.
If you have had an accident at work or your health has been affected in the workplace, you may be eligible to make a claim for workers compensation. This also applies to any injuries happening at or as a result of work and any pre-existing injury or illness which has been worsened at work.
If you suffer a work related injury you can make a claim for:-
- Medical expenses (medical expenses claim)
- Income maintenance for loss of pay (income maintenance claim)
- Permanent impairment arising from your injuries (permanent impairment claim)
To obtain compensation for your injuries, you must have an accepted claim. To protect your rights you should always notify your employer of any work related injury as soon as practicable and lodge a claim for compensation within six months from the date of injury. Doing so will reduce the risk of dispute in accepting your claim which can result in delay, stress and potential legal fees.
Medical expenses will include obvious expenses like visiting your doctor, having physiotherapy or seeing a medical specialist. It can also include compensation for medical related expenses including travel and accommodation necessary to receive medical treatment. You can claim the cost of obtaining and the maintenance of therapeutic aids and other items which promote or are necessary for your rehabilitation. This can include domestic assistance, home modifications, child care and non-traditional treatments such as massage, gymnasium and hydrotherapy.
There are limits on the amount and type of expenses which will be approved and circumstances vary with each claim. Medical expenses will only be approved if medical treatment is reasonable in all the circumstances. If you are uncertain or concerned about the cost of your medical treatment being met, you can seek pre-approval from your Claims Agent or Compensating Authority prior to incurring the expense.
You are entitled to income payments where it is determined that you are unfit to perform your work duties. You will need to be provide a Prescribed Medical Certificate (from your doctor) supporting your incapacity. If you are partially incapacitated and working reduced hours, you may be able to claim top up payments to your assessed average weekly earnings. It is important to be aware that over time with prolonged incapacity, income payments will diminish. Your fitness at work will be determined by a medical assessed capacity, not necessarily the work you either feel you can do or have been able to secure.
The provisions on income maintenance for loss of pay can be confusing and can have significant impact on your finances. If you are concerned about your income payments or have received a decision affecting your income payments which you do not understand, you can contact the Claims Agent or a Compensation Lawyer.
Permanent Impairment Claim
The Workers Compensation Scheme provides compensation for permanent bodily injury in two ways. These payments used to be referred to as Section 43 lump sum payments (after Section 43 of the old Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act).
There are two types of payments:-
- Non-economic loss payment and this is sometimes called a pain and suffering payment and is equivalent to the old Section 43 assessment.
- An economic loss payment and this payment is new. It is available to workers who have suffered injury for whole person impairment between 5% and 29%.
Common to both of these payments is your whole person impairment assessment. In order to make a whole person impairment claim, the following are required:-
- Your medical condition is stable, in the sense that you completed your active medical treatment and are not likely to get much better or much worse.
- You must have been assessed by an accredited medical assessor of having a whole person impairment of 5% or greater.
- This assessment is carried out in accordance with the Return to Work Act Guidelines. Generally a psychological injury and psychological affects of your physical injuries are not taken into account.
The Whole Person Impairment Assessment is very important as it can only be carried out once and it is no longer possible to bring recurring claims for lump sum payments.
Contact us to arrange a first free interview where we can assess your whole person impairment claim (WPI claim).
When should you seek legal advice?
If you have an injury which causes long-term problems – longer than six months, then you should seek legal advice promptly. If a Claims Agent has made a decision about your whole person impairment assessment then you should seek legal advice immediately, as time limits apply to dispute the assessment.
Employers duty to provide employment
An injured worker can now make an application to the South Australian Employment Tribunal to order an employer to provide suitable employment within a reasonable time. In order to qualify for this, you must have been incapacitated for work as a result of your work injury and have already sought employment with your pre-injury employer by notice in writing and the employer has failed to provide any employment. There are some aspects of this obligation which are new to the new legislation. You should seek legal advice about making suitable employment claim.