Workers Compensation Lawyers Sydney
If you had a physical or psychological injury at work or because of the nature and conditions of your employment as a worker or deemed worker, you may be able to bring a workers compensation claim. Employers are required by law to have compulsory workers compensation for their employees. Individuals who are deemed workers such as casual, part-time or full-time employees and self-employed individuals may be able to make a workers compensation claim. Worker’s Compensation is a no-fault system and it is important that you look in to all your rights and entitlements under the scheme.
In certain circumstances, workers can also make a work injury damages claim.
What Can I Claim for Workers’ Compensation?
What you can claim largely depends on your unique situation. Under the Workers Compensation scheme, generally you can be compensated for the following:
- Weekly payments during periods of incapacity for work;
- Hospital, medical treatment, rehabilitation and travel expenses that are reasonably necessary;
- Domestic assistance;
- Lump sum compensation for Whole Person Impairment if your Whole Person Impairment is greater than 10% for a physical injury or greater than 14% for a primary psychological injury. In the case of exempt workers you may be entitled to claim lump sum if your physical injury is assessed as being greater than 0%;
- Dependency and funeral expenses in the event of the death of a worker; and
- Work Injury Damages.
You should seek legal advice in relation to what you are entitled to as the aspects of your claim need to be assessed and reviewed.
How do I make a Workers Compensation Claim
- Report your injury to your employer
Once an injury arises in the workplace, the worker should immediately seek first aid and report the accident to the employer. The employer is obliged to keep a register for work-related accidents. An incident form should be completed. You should keep a copy of this form.
You should ensure that your employer notifies their Workers Compensation insurer. You should then obtain a claim number for your records.
- Visit your doctor
If you have suffered a work-related injury, visit your doctor to get treatment. You should do so even if you think your injury is not that serious as sometimes the extent of the injury only becomes apparent with the passing of time. You should ensure that you give as much detail and explanation as possible about your injury to your doctor.
- Obtain a “Certificate of Capacity” from your doctor
Once you seek treatment from your doctor in relation to your work-related injury, your doctor will issue you with a “Certificate of Capacity.” This certificate is important in making your claim.
The ‘Certificate of Capacity’ specifies that you were injured in a work-related accident. It also indicates the type of the injury (I.e., repetitive strain injury, muscular stress, cuts and deep cuts etc.) and the period which you will be unable to work as a result of the injury.
- Obtain a Workers Compensation Claim Form
Your employer should give you this form to complete when you report your injury. If your employer fails to give this form to you, you can get a copy of the form from your doctor or State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
- Complete and Submit the Form
You should then complete the Workers Compensation Form attaching the Certificate of Capacity issued by your doctor and submit the form to your employer. Make sure you keep a copy of the form and the certificate for your records.
You should lodge the claim within six months of your injury. Time extensions may apply, and you should seek legal advice if you require assistance with making a claim as soon as you first become aware of your injury.
If you are an exempt worker who sustained a total or partial work-related injury, you may be entitled to weekly payments. The amount of weekly payments will be calculated by the insurer based on average weekly earnings (AVE) and current weekly wage rate (CWWR). AVE is the average amount you were receiving over a certain period of time, usually twelve months, while CWWR is used if you are employed by a fixed rate. After 26 weeks from the date of your injury, the weekly payments will be at a fixed rate, also known as “statutory rate”. The statutory rate from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021 is $527.40.
In NSW, the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 defines a “worker” to be a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or a training contract with an employer (whether by way of manual labour, clerical work or otherwise, and whether the contract is expressed or implied, and whether the contract is oral or in writing).
Some people are also classified as deemed workers for the purposes of workers compensation in situations where the employment arrangements do not adhere to the above definition
The insurer may cover necessary and reasonable medical expenses for you. These can include medical treatment, domestic assistance services, nursing, ambulance services, workplace rehabilitation services, and travel expenses when attending medical appointments.
You should get the insurer’s approval for medical treatment except for the initial treatment right after the accident. Also, consultations with your nominated doctor, treatment during a consultation for the injury provided by your nominated treating doctor within one month of the injury, any services for the injury that are provided in the emergency department of a public hospital, and some treatments by the allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, psychologists, counsellors and exercise physiologists.
The extent of compensation for medical expenses will depend on the seriousness of your injury. The entitlement period for compensation for medical costs will depend on whether the worker sustained a permanent impairment and the degree of it. Workers with no or less than 10% permanent impairment can claim compensation for medical expenses for two years after weekly payments ceased or for two years from the date of the claim if no weekly payments were made. Workers with more than 10 but less than 20% permanent impairment can claim medical costs for five years after weekly payments ceased or for five years from the date of the claim if no weekly payments were made. If a worker’s permanent impairment is assessed being at 20% or more, the worker is classified as a worker with high needs and may be eligible to receive medical treatment compensation for life.
As an injured worker, you may be entitled to compensation for travel expenses to attend medical, hospital and rehabilitation appointments. In order to make a claim, you should keep record of the kilometres while using a private car or receipts of public transport. Except for treatments that do not require to be pre-approved by the insurer, travel costs should be pre-approved. The maximum amount payable if a private motor vehicle transport is used is $0,55 per kilometre.
In certain conditions, you may receive domestic assistance benefits from the insurer. Domestic assistance is different from domestic medical care services and includes activities like home cleaning, gardening, and travel. If the medical assessment of your injury proves that domestic assistance is required or you suffered from 15% permanent impairment or more, you can make a claim for these types of benefits.
New employment assistance payments
If your work-related injury led a situation where you have to seek new employment for returning to work, you can claim new employment assistance payment. This type of benefit may cover various expenses resulting from return to work efforts through new employment, such as education or training for new job, transport and clothing. You should present a written document to the insurer showing that you were offered new employment for at least three months.
Work Injury Damages Claim
You may be entitled to lump sum payment if your injuries are assessed at a certain level of permanent impairment. If you sustained a physical injury which resulted in an 11% or more permanent impairment, lump sum payment is awardable. For primary psychological injuries and illnesses caused or aggravated by work, permanent impairment should be assessed at 15% or more. A lump sum claim cannot be made for secondary psychological injuries. For exempt workers (police, firefighters, and paramedics) lump sum compensation for physical injuries can be made as long as the injury has given way to some level of permanent impairment. Before going through an assessment for permanent impairment, your condition must have reached maximum medical improvement, that is, it must have stabilised and become unlikely to change within a year. The assessment for determining whole person impairment (WPI) should be conducted by a trained assessor listed on the State Insurance Regulatory Authority’s (SIRA) website. If you sustained multiple physical injuries, they will be assessed together for determining the degree of permanent impairment. Physical and primary psychological injuries deriving from the same accident will be evaluated separately and the compensation for permanent impairment will be determined based on the greater amount payable.
Lump sum payments
If you have been injured at work and the injuries are a result of the negligence of your employer you may be able to make a Work Injury Damages Claim. A Work Injury Damages Claim is a common law claim for past and future economic loss against your employer for negligence.
To make a Work Injury Damages Claim in NSW, you must:
- Make a claim for lump sum compensation in respect of whole person impairment under the Workers Compensation Act 1987;
- Be assessed as having a whole person impairment of 15% or greater; and
- Successfully show that your injury was a result of the negligence of your employer and that negligence has caused you to suffer a loss.
You should seek legal advice with respect to your rights to make a Work Injury Damages Claim.
Frequently Asked Questions
Workers compensation, also known as workers comp, is a form of insurance in place to assist a worker who has suffered a work-related injury. You may be able to claim lost income, treatment expenses, lump sum compensation and domestic assistance.
If you meet the definition of a worker under the 1998 Act or are classified as a deemed worker and have suffered a work-related injury or illness or experienced the aggravation of a pre-existing physical or psychological in the workplace, then you may be eligible to make a claim for workers compensation.
You must make the claim within six months of the injury or illness occurring or within six months of becoming aware of the injury or illness. The timeframe for making a claim may be extended in certain situations.
You can make a workers compensation claim up to three years after the injury occurred if you can show that there was a reasonable basis for the delay.
A claim for workers compensation may be denied for several reasons such as the injury not being related to work, the employee not being legally considered as a ‘worker’ or due to a lack of evidence. In NSW, you are eligible to ask for a review of your denied claim.
A lawyer can provide you with legal advice tailored to your unique situation as well as guidance as to what steps can be taken next if your claim has been denied by the insurer. You can contact our experienced team to arrange a free consultation.
Yes. You can still make a workers compensation claim after 21 days of termination of employment. You may be also entitled to a separate discrimination compensation.
Compensation is largely determined by your unique circumstance. Factors such as your capacity, extent of your injury and medical expenses can all affect how much compensation you are entitled to. At Withstand Lawyers, our experienced workers compensation can review your situation and give you an estimate.
Why Do I Need A Workers Compensation Lawyer ?
To ensure that you receive all your entitlements, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced lawyer in workers compensation. Many workers may not be aware of their rights under the law and find the claim process daunting. We can take care of your claim and ensure that your rights are pursued to the full extent, while you focus on recovering and returning to work.
No Win No Fee Workers Compensation Lawyer
Seeking legal advice and obtaining a lawyer can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you receive. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable in the area of the workers compensation. We are confident in our expertise and have a no win, no fee policy. Our personal injury lawyers in Sydney will assist you in ensuring that the compensation you are entitled to is maximised.
In NSW, legal Costs are covered by the WorkerCover Independent Review Office (WIRO). This means we will not charge you for work done in relation to your workers compensation claim as WIRO covers our fees due our personal injury lawyers being accredited with WIRO.
If you have been injured at work or have suffered a work-related illness, please feel free to contact our friendly personal injury lawyers so that we can arrange a free consultation.