The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) (Act) covers the rights and obligations of the employer, injured worker and the worker’s compensation insurer. If you’ve sustained an injury at work, you may not be aware of all entitlements your claim provides, which may be costly and detrimental to your health. Anvil Legal specialises in workers compensation and has helped many injured workers fight for their rights whilst making sure their claims go as smoothly as possible.
By reading this article, you’ve separated yourself from other claimants who aren’t taking the time to fully understand their rights and entitlements and you need to make sure you receive the right legal advice so you also understand the insurer/employers obligations and entitlements. We hope this helps you better understand the process of making a claim and the rights and entitlements that may apply to you under the Act.
So you’ve been injured at work and reported it to your boss – what happens next?
Obtain a WorkCover Certificate and a Claim Form
See your own GP as soon as you can and ask for a WorkCover First Certificate of Capacity. When informing the GP about your workplace injury, it’s crucial to provide them with accurate details of the incident and as much of it as possible. The certificate will state whether you require any time off work or what restrictions you have to continue. Ensure you fill out a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form and make copies of both the Certificate and Claim Form for your records and give the original documents to your employer.
Make your claim as soon as possible
The sooner you fill out a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form and provide it to your employer the better. Your employer will have 5 days to complete their section of the Form and lodge both documents to the insurer. The insurer is required to notify you within 14 days after receiving your Claim Form if it has been accepted or they are denying liability or pending liability on receipt of further information (10 days after this letter the claim is automatically in dispute).
Ensuring that your claim form is filled out as accurately and as fully as possible should make the claim process easier, you don’t want to give them any excuses to delay making a decision due to:
– Refusing to sign the consents
– Insufficient information
– Not advising of previous similar injuries (not always a bar to making a claim)
– The injury was only reported long after it happened
Returning to work
An employer is required to provide you with your usual position if you make a full recovery within 12 months. If you are partially fit for work (have restricted duties or hours) a Return to Work Program should be put in place first. You are entitled to choose a return to work provider of your own and they will liaise with your employer and GP to write the plan which you need to agree with and sign. If you do not participate in the agreed Program, your insurer/employer may make an application to try and stop or reduce weekly payments. If your employer decides to dismiss you while you are incapacitated, they are required by the Act to provide you and WorkCover with an “intention to dismiss worker’ notice 28 days prior to it taking effect.
If the injury you sustained was a result of negligence by your employer, you may have the right to lodge a claim against them seeking damages. In order to lodge a Workers Compensation Common Law Claim, you must be able to establish that:
– You have at least a 15% whole person impairment (WPI) which is assessed by a WorkCover registered doctor and registered at WorkCover; and
– Negligence by the employer or their agents causing you injury and damage
Permanent Impairment (Schedule 2)
You may also be entitled to a lump sum compensation payment if you sustained a permanent impairment due to your injury. This requires an assessment by a WorkCover registered doctor stating that your injury has stabilised and you have been left with a permanent impairment.
Speak to a lawyer
Workers compensation insurers rarely inform injured workers of all the rights an accepted claim affords them. This may leave some people short in their weekly payments and medical expense entitlements. It is best to seek legal advice to make sure you get everything you are entitled to receive.
At Anvil Legal, if you appoint us it won’t cost you anything out of pocket (generally) for our legal fees incurred assisting you through the life of your claim. We will check to see if you are receiving all that you are entitled to receive if you become a client. We cannot give you that sort of advice over the phone or at your free appointment as it has to be general in nature until we have all relevant documents and have examined them fully. You do not have to pay for your initial consultation and if you are eligible for our No Win No Fee Solution, we can continue to help you through the life of your claim without you having to pay for our legal advice out of your own pocket. If you already have a claim or any questions in regards to an injury incurred at work and would like to speak to a lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact Anvil Legal today.