When you have an accident at work, it can be a difficult and disarming experience. This is particularly true if you already find your relationship with your place of employment strained, or there weren’t any witnesses or surveillance to verify or clarify what happened. However, no matter the severity or surrounding circumstances of the accident, it’s important that you file a workers’ compensation claim.
Considering that, in 2013-14, 563,600 Australians had an illness or injury that was work-related, it’s not a situation to be brushed under the carpet. You may also be legally entitled to compensation, which could include anything from recouping the costs of medical treatment to loss of income from time off work.
So, if something happens to you at work that leaves you in a situation where you’re entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim, what steps do you need to take to file a claim?
Report the incident
Firstly, it’s important that you report what happened to your manager. Even if it seems minor, your employer should have a process to report any occurrence of accident or injury, such as logbook or electronic file – even if this just requires you sending an email. Ensure you do this within 30 days of the time of incidence to retain a claim’s validity.
Tell your doctor
Your doctor will be able to assess the extent of your injury in full to help verify exactly what happened. Especially if your injury is muscular, where it may get increasingly painful over time, their medical expertise will serve as evidence and claim justification.
An important step here is to get what’s called a ‘Certificate of Capacity’, which is a note that confirms their diagnosis and its impact on your employment. When you file a claim, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to include this, so ensure you obtain this document.
Get a workers’ compensation form
This should be automatic on your employers’ behalf at point of injury, but if not, ask for one as soon as possible. Your local WorkCover authority can also provide this if, for any reason, your employer hasn’t, or is reluctant to for whatever reason.
Fill in your workers’ compensation form and submit
Fill in your claim form as completely as you’re able to, detailing the incident and your injury, as well as including your Certificate of Capacity from your doctor. Once you have done this, provide these details to your employer, and retain a copy as a back-up, should anything go wrong – such as the unlikely occurrence that your form will go missing.
Once you’ve completed these steps,you can wait for your insurer to get back to you. If there are any problems at this stage, it’s always worth getting in touch with your local WorkCover authority to ensure that the process is carried out as it should be. If you still encounter issues, contact a specialist worker’s compensation lawyer to get the compensation you’re owed.
Article by Katherine Boshev
Katherine Boshev – Solicitor
Katherine began her legal career as a paralegal, with a focus in working on claims involving personal injury, medical negligence, public liability and permanent disablement. Katherine is also fluent in Macedonian, and is happy to assist those whose English skills are limited.