Injuries in the workplace can have devastating consequences for workers, such as long-term pain, suffering or a loss of future income. If you have been injured in the workplace, you may be eligible for compensation by making a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, these claims are subject to strict time limits and you may be denied the opportunity for compensation if a claim is not made in the appropriate timeframe. Read on to find out more about the time limits for Workers’ Compensation claims and why you should act fast
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 los
Notifying your employer of your Workers’ Compensation claim
Workers’ Compensation claims are made directly to WorkCover, not your employer. Therefore before a Workers’ Compensation claim can be made, the worker must notify the employer of their injury. The notice of the injury may be given verbally or in writing and must include the following details:
- The name and address of the injured worker
- The cause of the injury
- The date on which the injury occurred
What are the time limits that apply to Workers’ Compensation Claims?
A Workers’ Compensation claim must be made within six months of the date of injury or incident. However, this six month time limit may be extended to three years, but only in certain circumstances where there is a reasonable cause for not making the claim earlier.
Examples of a reasonable cause may include:
- Absence from the State
- The worker does not become aware of their injury until some time after.
Should this occur, the time limit does not begin from when the injury occurred, but from the moment that the worker because aware of their injury and what caused it.
In the event of a death or serious permanent impairment of the worker, a Workers’ Compensation claim may still be made even after the three year period has elapsed, provided that there was a reasonable cause for the delayed claim.
Why workers may avoid making a claim earlier
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.
Another contributing factor to the delays in making a Workers’ Compensation claim on time is that workers do not wish to appear troublesome to their employer, or fear that they will given a hard time at work for making a claim. Some workers may even fear that they will face a dismissal from work for putting forward a claim. However workers can rest assured that they cannot their employment cannot be terminated, or they cannot be discriminated against, purely because of a filed Workers’ Compensation Claim.
Why you should act as soon as possible
Referring back to the example of the worker who believes that their injury sustained on Friday will heal over the weekend, the worker in this case has jeopardised their chance for Workers’ Compensation simply by failing to report their injury as soon as possible to their employer, with a delay of over two days. If on Monday, the worker’s injury has not healed, substantiating the cause of the injury is now much more difficult. 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.
The most appropriate actions the worker could have taken were to:
- Report the injury to his employer as soon as it occurred
- Seek medical attention as soon as the injury occurred
This ensures your best opportunity at receiving Workers’ Compensation, as it substantiates that your injury was the result of the course of your employment, and if the injury persists, the worker has a record which can give them a better chance of a successful claims.
Schreduer Partners, as a specialist in Workers Compensation, can provide you with legal assistance in your Workers’ Compensation Claim. Get in touch with us today.