Have you been injured at work? Are you visiting general practitioners, having x-rays or require medical equipment? Making a Workers Compensation claim can be a stressful process, but having your lost wages and medical expenses covered is worth it.
Typically, employees are covered by the employer’s insurer. In Victoria this is the WorkCover compensation scheme.
If you are an employee of a Commonwealth or prescribed large business, compensation is available to you under the national Comcare scheme.
In this article we provide our six top tips to help you navigate the Workers Compensation system as easily as possible:
1. Report or notify your workplace
Even if you think the pain will go away, a ‘twinge’ or ‘niggle’ can often be serious. If something doesn’t feel quite the way it should, make sure to report it to your supervisor/ manager or fill in a formal incident report. If you aren’t comfortable notifying your employer, ensure you visit your doctor and have it noted on your medical records. That way, if the pain increases and you need to lodge a claim, there is supportive evidence from the time your pain first started.
2. Keep copies of everything
If you notify your employer of any pain, this should be done in writing – even if it is by text message or email. Make sure to keep copies of any communications between yourself and your employer about any injury.
3. Diarise your experience
After you first notice a ‘twinge’, ‘niggle’ or suffer an injury, write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including the names and telephone numbers of potential witnesses. The compensation system can be slow, and when the time comes to lodging a claim you may be unable to remember who was present when you were injured. You may wish to continue diarising your experience as you undergo treatment and return to work programs.
4. Keep a list of medical practitioners
Provide your lawyer with a list of all medical practitioners that you received treatment from for your work injury, along with details of any treating doctors you have seen for non-work related issues. During the course of your claim you may see numerous doctors and it can be difficult to keep track.
5. Be organised
It’s important to keep all your information in one place. We recommend creating a folder with individual sections for medical referrals or notes, certificates of capacity, return to work plans, correspondence from the insurer, and any documents from your employer relating to the injury.
6. Seek legal advice early
Yes, you will need a lawyer. The earlier you seek legal advice, the better equipped you will be to deal with the process.
We understand that injured workers are often unable to work. The compensation system is fraught with confusion and uncertainty, and having a lawyer by your side who knows all the ins and outs will get you the results you need – and what you deserve!
Keeping in mind the concerns of injured workers about the cost of a lawyer, at Adviceline we act No Win, No Fee – meaning we don’t get paid unless you are successful in your claim.
For free advice about your circumstances, contact a member of our expert team directly on (03) 9321 9988.