Our inaugural newsletter touched on how to make a claim for compensation following an injury at work, however, what most injured workers really want to know is what are their entitlements and obligations under the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
In a nutshell, you are entitled to weekly payments of compensation for all periods you are unable to work your full pre-injury duties due to your work injury and medical expenses including travel and on specific circumstances meals and accommodation.
Whilst the information on our site is helpful it doesn’t deal with all of the other little things that pop up such as the insurer asking for a conference with your GP and the return to work provider or the return to work provider trying to make a return to work plan when you do not have the capacity to do it (the answer to which is ‘when I have capacity we can look at it’).
The insurer can require you to attend a medical specialist of their choice for the purposes of an assessment only. They cannot make you go to any particular practitioner for treatment, that is the job of your treating GP and any specialists he thinks are required to assist in your recovery.
Any time you are unsure of what your rights are you can contact us on 08 6143 5200 to discuss it over the phone before you give the insurer or return to work provider your response.
Access to medical records
When you filled out the worker’s compensation claim form one of the sections you may have signed was for other parties (including the insurer) to be able to access your medical records from anyone that has treated you.
Generally, we say that signing this box is a good thing in the short term because you need to give the insurer access to relevant medical history in order that that they can make a decision as to liability as soon as possible. However, it has been known for an insurer to go to extremes and use that authority to delve into the entire past history of an injured worker including matters that are extremely private and none of their business.
Should you have any concerns as to whether this may happen to you please contact our office and we will assist in advising you how to remove that authority and replace it with a restricted version if required.
We hope this is interesting and informative and ask that if there are any particular topics you would like to see covered in these newsletters please let us know by return email.
We had a client ask about Private Investigators and video surveillance a few days ago. You must be aware that this is a practice used by insurers and while it is not common practice it is something they do frequently.
You also need to be aware that as social media is published on the interwebs, and private investigators are very good at accessing this information, everything you write online should be written as if it is intended for the entire world to see.
For example I recall the insurer’s defence to a particular application included copies of all posts on a Facebook page for a period of over 12 months where throw away lines written sarcastically looked completely different when viewed out of context (think psych injury and a comment “having a blast here partying with all my mates and loving life”).
Be Aware But Not Afraid
Interesting Case for October 2013
We often speak to injured workers who say ‘it was my fault’. You need to be aware that the worker’s compensation system in WA is a no-fault system and you are covered if the injury was caused through your actions. Of course, this can change how a common law claim would be run but even then it is difficult to ascertain whether it is fatal to a successful action.
In this QLD case, an apprentice had cut some metal and placed it near a ladder he was using only to have his arm injured by the jagged metal when he came back down the ladder.
The initial Court held that the employer could not be held liable for a hazard the apprentice created and was therefore well aware of, however, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision as ‘[A] … worker was permitted to adopt a method of work, which was not devised by the employer but adopted out of expediency with little effort given to actually assessing whether it was safe …. The risk was obvious to the employer…‘
The decision can be accessed here Heywood v Commercial Electrical Pty Ltd [2013 QCA 270 – It isn’t a long decision but its worth a read as WA is also bound by the multiple High Court cases followed.