WorkCover assist: who are they and how can they help you?
WorkCover assist is a no cost service that is provided by WorkSafe (WorkCover) Victoria. As an injured worker, you can choose to engage a member of WorkCover assist to help you with your WorkCover Conciliation matter.
WorkCover assist representatives are not able to assist you in relation to other parts of your WorkCover claim. They can specifically help people with conciliation matters.
They are also not able to assist you in relation to lump sum related issues such as the rejection of an injury relating to an impairment claim.
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What can WorkCover assist help with?
If you have a WorkCover Conciliation on foot, then in most instances WorkCover assist are able to help you prepare for the Conciliation as well as provide representation for you at the Conciliation.
Typical issues that progress to conciliation that WorkCover assist can help you with are:
- Rejection of claim.
- Rejection of medical expenses
- Non payment of a particular type of medical expense.
- Weekly payment issues including termination of payments and payment calculation issues.
How do I engage WorkCover assist?
Engaging WorkCover assist is optional.
You don’t have to engage WorkCover assist (or anyone else) to help with a conciliation matter.
The WorkCover assist service is an optional service for injured workers.
Some people choose to engage a lawyer for conciliation, or other representative. Other people might prefer to represent themselves at conciliation. It’s up to you.
If you do want to engage WorkCover assist, here’s how:
When you are completing the application for Conciliation form (previously called the request for concilicaiton form), there is a section on the form where you need to specify whether you would like assistance at the conciliation, and if you do, who from.
If you want to engage WorkCover assist as your representative, you should indicate this by ticking the relevant box.
Please see below.
What happens after the form is lodged is that relevant documentation will be sent to WorkCover assist, including a copy of the application for Conciliation form.
A representative from WorkCover assist will then make contact with you to introduce themselves and discuss your conciliation matter.
They typically do this about a week or two prior to the conciliation date (sometimes earlier).
If there is the prospect of resolving the matter by way of negotiation before the conciliation, then the WorkCover assist representative may contact the insurer and/or the conciliator and try and do so.
Can I use WorkCover assist if I have a lawyer?
You can but we would suggest speaking to your lawyer first.
Some WorkCover lawyers will represent people at Conciliation themselves (and prefer to do so) so there is no need to have representation from WorkCover assist.
Other lawyers do not assist people with Conciliation matters and therefore if you don’t have another representative then WorkCover assist can be a good option for you.
We would, however, suggest that you speak to your lawyer first (if you have one) and ask them what they suggest you should do before you finalise the application for Conciliation form.
If you do have a lawyer, and choose to use WorkCover assist, in most instances the WorkCover assist representative will make contact with your lawyer and will discuss the matter and seek the opinion of your lawyer.
And typically if there is an opportunity to resolve the matter at Conciliation, the WorkCover assistant representative will speak to your lawyerbefore resolving the matter.
Are WorkCover assist lawyers?
No, WorkCover assist are not lawyers, they are however people that are familiar with the relevant WorkCover processes and policies.
What are WorkCover assist not able to help me with?
WorkCover Assist are not able to assist you with disputes that relate to lump sum compensation.
An example of this would be in relation to an impairment claim where the insurer has rejected liability for a particular injury.
And in order to contest the decision of the insurer to reject liability for a particular injury, you lodge a conciliation request.
In these instances you would need to have a lawyer or another representative (or you can represent yourself – although generally not recommended).
Do I have to engage them to help me?
No, it’s completely up to you who you have WorkCover assist represent you at the conciliation.
Is there a cost for WorkCover assist?
No, there is no cost to an injured worker to have a WorkCover assist representative help with a conciliation matter.
Are WorkCover Assist only able to assist in relation to Conciliation matters?
Yes, WorkCover Assist representatives are only able to help you in relation to Conciliation matters before the Workplace Injury Commission.
They are not able to assist you in relation to any other parts of your claim.
Can WorkCover assist help me after conciliation if my matter doesn’t resolve?
No, the assistance provided by WorkCover assist is limited to the conciliation.
If your matter does not resolve at conciliation, then they are not able to continue to assist you.
Can WorkCover assist help me with an arbitration matter?
No, they are not able to help you with an arbitration in terms of preparing the matter for arbitration and representing you at arbitration.
However, you can ask them for advice in relation to potentially proceeding to arbitration during the conciliation process.
WorkCover Assist is a service that is provided by WorkSafe Victoria.
Should you wish, you can elect to have a WorkCover assist representative help you in relation to a WorkCover conciliation that does not relate to lump sum compensation.
You can obtain representation from a WorkCover assist representative by ticking the relevant box on the conciliation request form.
If you have a lawyer you should ask them as to whether they will represent you at the conciliation or whether they want you to list WorkCover assist (or another representative) on the conciliation request form.
The assistance provided by WorkCover assist is limited to the conciliation. If your matter does not resolve at the conciliation then they are not able to assist you beyond that.