Injuries in the workplace can have devastating consequences for workers, such as long-term suffering or a loss of future income. As employers benefit from the labour of their workers, it remains only fair that they should also bear the costs of any work-related injuries. If you have been injured in the workplace, read on to find out if you are eligible to make a Workers’ Compensation claim.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Worker’s Compensation provides compensation to workers who have suffered injury, illness or a reduced work capacity as a result of the course of their employment. The Workers’ Compensation system aims to provide injured workers with assistance during their recovery, and to support a safe and appropriate return to work.
What are the criteria for making a Workers’ Compensation claim?
The following conditions must be satisfied before making a Workers’ Compensation claim:
- The worker must be an employee
- The worker must have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner
- This medical condition must have arisen due to the course of the worker’s employment, where the employment was a substantial cause of the condition
- The worker has suffered a financial loss
Who is considered an employee?
To be eligible for Workers’ Compensation, a worker must be deemed to be an employee.
An employee can be:
- A full-time worker
- A part-time worker
- A casual worker
- A volunteer
- A trainee, apprentice or work experience student
What is considered as an injury?
- Injuries suffered during work activities, or at your workplace as a result of your work.
Injuries can be physical (such as bodily injuries, strokes or heart attacks) or mental (such as severe stress and psychological conditions).
- Diseases caused by your work (such as cancer)
- Pre-existing conditions made worse by your work (such as asthma)
What is not considered an injury for the purposes of Workers’ Compensation:
- Injuries sustained whilst travelling to or from work
- Dust diseases
Do I need medical certification?
A Workers’ Compensation claim must be substantiated with medical certification from a medical practitioner, stating that the worker has a medical condition and that their employment was a substantial contributing factor to this condition.
No fault requirement
Before the implementation of Workers’ compensation, the only means of receiving compensation was for a worker to prove negligence on the part of their employer. Now with Workers’ Compensation, there is no requirement to prove the employer was at fault – workers only need to prove that their injuries were substantially caused by their employment.
What type of compensation can I receive?
There are five basic types Workers’ Compensation entitlements, including:
- Weekly payments
Compensation for when the injury has caused a loss of earnings, such as if the worker is unfit or incapacitated for work or, if upon returning to work, the worker is earning less money than before (make-up pay).
- Medical expenses
Compensation for all medical charges, including hospital and rehabilitation expenses. It may also include the expenses of travelling to and from the doctor.
- Permanent impairment
Compensation for damage to a body part, resulting in a permanent loss of function.
The amount payable is based on the percentage of the whole person which is impaired (where the minimum threshold for impairment is over 10% of the whole person).
- Property damage
Compensation for damage to artificial aids or damage to clothing.
- Death benefits
Compensation for a work-related death, which may include family support and coverage of funeral expenses.
The compensation a worker can receive varies between each individual claim, and is based on the type, nature and severity of the injury.
Act as soon as possible
Many workers often delay in making a Workers’ Compensation claim because they believe that any minor injuries they have sustained will heal with time. A relevant example would be a worker who sustains a minor work-related injury on Friday, and believes that the injury will heal over the weekend. If the injury still persists after the weekend is over, the worker’s chances for Workers’ Compensation have decreased simply by waiting until Monday to report the injury. There may have been events over the weekend, such as sporting activities or other recreational activities, which may arguably be seen as the cause of the worker’s injury, thus making it more difficult to prove the injury is work related. To ensure your best chance at receiving Workers’ Compensation, it remains in your best legal interests to report any injuries to your employer as soon as they occur.
Schreuder Partners, as a specialist in Workers Compensation, can provide you with legal assistance in your Workers’ Compensation Claim. Get in touch with us today.