If you’ve been injured at work, an experienced lawyer can help you through the complex claims process and provide advice about the benefits you’re entitled to.

In this article, we answer some key questions arising from workplace injuries.

Claiming compensation for injury in the workplace

Compensation is usually payable for workplace injuries whether it’s the result of your employer’s negligence or your own.

If you suffer a workplace injury it’s essential you complete and lodge a Workers Injury Claim Form with your employer, no matter how minor the injury may seem at the time. Before lodging your claim form however, you must first report your injury to your employer.

How do I report my injury?

The New South Wales workers compensation legislation requires workplace injuries to be reported as soon as possible after the injury and before voluntary resignation from employment.

A workplace injury can be reported verbally, by completing an injury notification form, or by making an entry in the injury register book held by your employer. The report of the injury must contain your name, address, age and occupation, the date and time in which your injury occurred, and the nature and cause of your injury.

Failure to notify your employer of your injury may result in difficulties pursuing your claim.

How do I lodge my Workers Compensation Claim Form?

Following an injury, your employer must provide you with details of their workers’ compensation insurer and provide a compensation claim form when a request is made. This form should be completed by you and lodged with your employer.

You must supply the following information on the form:

  • What injury you received.
  • The date and time of the injury.
  • What you were doing when you were injured.
  • A description of how your injury occurred.
  • Any previous related injury or condition or any previous claims.
  • To whom and when you reported your injury.
  • Details of your employment and earnings.

If medical treatment is required for your injury, you have the right to consult your own doctor. Whilst some employers may insist you consult their “company doctor”, you’re under no obligation to do this. You should have your doctor complete a SIRA (formerly WorkCover) Certificate of Capacity even if you initially don’t require time away from work. This certificate should be submitted to your employer along with your claim form.

Is there a time limit for making a claim for compensation?

Yes, a claim for workers compensation should be made within six months of your injury. In certain circumstances, this can be extended to three years. You must not assume you can qualify for an extension. If in doubt, you should speak to your lawyer immediately.

What are my employer’s obligations?

Your employer must notify its workers’ compensation insurer within 48 hours of your injury if workers compensation is payable or may be payable. If you received a “serious injury”, your employer also has to notify SafeWork NSW as an urgent investigation might be required.

Within five days of receiving your claim form, your employer must complete their relevant sections on the form and forward it to their insurer with copies of your wage records. They must also forward any documents you provide in relation to your claim, such as medical certificates or accounts and receipts for medical expenses incurred. If your employer doesn’t report your injury within five days of becoming aware of it, they may be required to pay a “claims excess payment”, which is equal to one week of your weekly compensation payments.

If you’re unable to perform your normal work following your injury but are fit to perform selected or suitable duties, your employer is obligated to provide you with those duties if they’re available.

During the first six months after you first become incapacitated, your employer cannot terminate your employment because of your injury or inability to perform your pre-injury duties. If this occurs, your employer will be guilty of an offence and you’ll be entitled to apply for reinstatement of your employment.

What are the insurer’s obligations?

Upon receipt of initial notification of your injury, the insurer must within seven days:

  • Provide you and your employer with a claim notification number.
  • Make contact with you, your employer, and your treating doctor to find out more about your injury and progress.
  • Commence injury management, if you’re likely to be incapacitated from work for a period of more than seven continuous days.
  • Decide whether to approve provisional liability payments in respect of weekly compensation benefits for up to 12 weeks and medical expenses of up to $7,500 in total, and if approved, commence payments. Other compensation benefits which may also be payable are travelling expenses and lump sum payment for permanent injury.

In some cases, the insurer may take longer to determine liability for your claim. If they require more information from you in order to make a decision, they must tell you within seven days of receiving your claim form. Once the insurer has received the additional information, a decision on liability should be made within 21 days.

What type of compensation can I claim?

If the insurer accepts liability, it will pay you weekly payments; your reasonable and necessary treatment, hospital and rehabilitation expenses; domestic assistance and travelling expenses. When these entitlements stop will depend upon many factors including the nature and extent of your injuries and your ability to return to your pre-injury employment or other suitable employment.

You may also be entitled to lump sum compensation for permanent impairment. If you were injured on or after 1 January 2002 and your claim was made after 19 June 2012, you are entitled to lump sum compensation in addition to weekly payments and medical expenses if:

  • your physical injuries result in a whole person impairment of at least 11%;
  • your primary psychological injury results in a whole person impairment of at least 15%.

If you were injured before 1 January 2002, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation for permanent impairment however a different assessment method is used.

You may also be entitled to make a Work Injury Damages claim if your injuries result in a whole person impairment of 15% or more. This entitles you to make a claim for future economic loss paid to you on one lump sum. Finalising a Work Injury Damages claim extinguishes all further entitlements to workers compensation benefits, including weekly payments and medical expenses. To succeed you do need to show that your injuries were caused by the negligence of your employer and if your injuries were a result of your own negligence, the amount of compensation payable can be reduced. You do need to make this claim within three years of the date of injury, unless leave is granted by the Court.

Need help with your workplace injury claim?

TK Legal is here to help. Seeking expert legal advice before starting your workers compensation claim for a work-related injury can help ensure a smooth claim process and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

For further information on how to proceed with your compensation claim, please call us on +61 2 9212 2422 or email info@tklegal.com.