Having an accident, suffering from an injury at work or becoming ill could mean that your ability to work is heavily restricted. Besides the physical and mental recovery, the financial aspect and how you can get by while your absent from work poses another big question.
Australian employers are required by law to have a workers’ compensation insurance to cover any employees who can no longer work due to an injury or illness. This insurance is in place to protect workers’ lost income while they are unable to work, and it also pays for medical bills and rehabilitation expenses.
If you are unable to continue working due to an accident or illness, there is a good chance you are entitled to make a Workers’ Compensation claim.
In order to receive Workers’ Compensation you need to lodge a Workers’ Compensation claim. Under the WorkCover WA rules and regulations, you need prove that your injury or illness occurred as a result of your work and you need to prove that you were an employee at the time of the injury.
Proof of your Employment
Workers’ compensation is under the jurisdiction of state and territorial authorities. The legal ramifications to proof your employment with a company may vary across different areas in Australia. In general, an employee is someone who carries out work for a company and receives a benefit in return, such as a salary or a regular wage. Workers’ Compensation applies to all employee categories and is not dependant on whether you are a full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, piece or commission worker. When lodging your workers’ compensation claim, you are required to prove your employment by supplying evidence of your employee status by means of demonstrating those benefits you have received from the employer.
Evidence Your Injury or Illness occurred as a result of your work
In Western Australia, you are required to seek first aid and report the injury to your employer immediately. You then need to see a medical practitioner of your choice to get a First Certificate of Capacity. Besides your first doctor visit, your employer or the insurance company is entitled to nominate another medical practitioner of their choice for an independent examination before or after your workers’ compensation claim has been lodged. Your GP not only serves to improve your well-being, but also to provide evidence that your injury or illness occurred as a result of the work you have been carrying out. Generally speaking, you need to proof that your injury or illness arose as a result of the work you carried out or that the work contributed to the exacerbation of pre-existing injuries.
Workers Compensation Claim Process
- Employees must seek first aid and report injury or illness to employer as soon as practically possible.
- You need to see a doctor of your choice and ask for a First Certificate of Capacity.
- Next you are required to fill out a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form
- Provide the claim form to your employer and keep copies for your own record.
- Your employer must complete their section of the form and lodge the claim within five working days with their insurance company.
- The employer completes the employer section of the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form, the Employer’s Report of Injury Form and forwards all documentation to Zurich within five working days.
- The insurer will then notify you within 14 days with their assessment outlining whether your claim has been accepted, disputed or pended.
- Your employer or insurer is legally entitled to ask you to see a medical practitioner of their choice for an independent assessment. You may be asked to see another medical practitioner before or after your claim has been accepted.
Know your rights
You can follow the above claim process yourself, however if your case is fairly complicated you might want to consider a WA Workers Compensation lawyer that can guide you along the whole process.
Lawyers are especially helpful in the following situations:
- If your injury is not clearly work-related
- Claim has been denied
- Your injury or disability to work is disputed
- If you have a pre-existing condition that exacerbated your injury or illness due to your work
- If you are unsuccessful in getting the medical treatment you require
In any case, make sure that you know exactly what your rights and obligations are regarding your workers compensation claim.
Guest author, Denise Chesworth is a Compensation Lawyer in Perth, Australia.