Can you withdraw a WorkCover claim?
Yes, you can withdraw your WorkCover claim.
However, there’s a few things you should keep in mind.
The rest of this page will look into how that works and what that actually means.
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If your claim has just been lodged but not determined
Let’s say that you have just lodged a WorkCover claim in Victoria.
However, it is yet to be determined and it’s still going through the determination process.
All you need to do to cancel the claim or withdraw the claim is to contact the WorkCover insurer and let them know that you no longer wish to pursue the claim.
Obviously, the earlier you do this during the claim determination process the better.
This is because during the WorkCover claim determination period, generally speaking what will happen is you will be asked to see a doctor or doctors to assess the relevant work related injury or condition (called independent medical examinations).
In some cases, a circumstance investigation report will also be obtained by the WorkCover insurer.
So it’s a good idea, should you wish to do so, to withdraw your claim prior to these two things.
However even if you’ve been medically assessed and/or you’ve gone through the circumstance investigation process, you can still withdraw your WorkCover claim.
And even though the insurer has accrued some costs – for example the doctor that assesses you may have send a bill to the insurance company in excess of $1000 – you should not be required to pay any fees.
In terms of any medical assessment arranged however, if you cancel the appointment too close to the appointment date and don’t give the doctor enough notice, they may send you a non-attendance fee which you’ll be required to pay.
Typically non attendance fees are several hundred dollars.
Doctors differ in what an how much notice you have to give them if you wish to cancel an appointment and avoid a non attendance fee, but usually if you cancel prior to 48 hours before the appointment you should be ok.
If your WorkCover claim has been lodged and accepted
You can cease pursuing a WorkCover claim once it has been accepted really at any time.
You can elect not to obtain payment for medical expenses from the WorkCover insurer.
Also, you do not have to obtain weekly payments from the insurer if you don’t wish to.
Just because you have an accepted WorkCover claim, does not mean that you need to utilise it.
You could utilise a WorkCover claim to its full extent, or not at all. The choice is yours.
In terms of completely withdrawing a claim once it has been lodged and accepted, it is not possible to do so.
Once the claim has been accepted, then it remains on the insurers system as a WorkCover claim.
If you no longer wish to pursue the claim, then you can let the insurer know this but the claim will still remain on their system.
It will just be inactive.
So if in the future if you or someone else wanted to obtain your WorkCover claims history, this claim would still be listed.
And if in the future you changed your mind and decided to utilise the claim by say, obtaining payment for a particular type of medical expense, the claim would still be there for you to do that.
As mentioned earlier, you can stop pursuing a WorkCover claim at any point.
So even if, for example, you’ve lodged an impairment lump sum claim but you haven’t gone through the process yet, you are able to let the insurer know that you no longer wish to pursue the claim and the claim would cease.
Even if you’ve gone through the impairment process and you’ve been assessed by a doctor as part of that impairment claim, you can elect to no longer proceed with the claim (we wouldn’t recommend this however given that you’ve already been assessed).
In relation to a common law claim, again you can stop pursuing this claim really at any point but the longer that a common law claim is on foot the more difficult it may be to avoid having to pay costs or fees as the next section will explain.
If you have lawyers, you may still need to pay their bill
It’s important to keep in mind that if you have engaged a lawyer and you elect to no longer pursue a WorkCover claim, even though the WorkCover claim may have ceased, your lawyer may still send you a bill for work done by them.
You should refer to any cost agreements that you have signed that will likely address this point.
This is particularly relevant in relation to a common law claim.
It’s also important to note, particularly in relation to a common law claim, that you may also need to pay the costs of the other side if you elect to cease your claim.
If you elect to stop pursuing a WorkCover claim, can you pursue the claim again in the future?
If you have withdrawn the claim before it has been determined, then yes you can pursue the claim again in the future.
However, you would likely need to lodge a new claim.
If the claim has been accepted and you elect to no longer pursue it, then yes you should be able to pursue the claim again in the future. However we’d recommend you read this page for further information about ‘reopening’ a WorkCover claim.
If you elect to no longer pursue an impairment claim before it is finalised, you should be able to pursue that claim in the future.
If you elect to no longer pursue a common law claim, you may or may not be able to pursue it again in the future. This depends on the circumstances under which is was withdrawn (was there an agreement signed, for example, confirming that you wouldn’t pursue the claim in the future?).
It also depends on time. Generally speaking, you have six years from the date of injury in which to initiate a common law claim (with some exceptions). If you’re outside this time period, it can be very difficult in many instances to pursue the claim.
Before electing to withdraw or cancel a claim you should speak to a WorkCover lawyer
You should speak to a WorkCover lawyer before electing to withdraw your claim.
This is particularly the case if your WorkCover claim has been on foot for a while and/or you’re pursuing lump sum compensation.
Yes, you can withdraw a WorkCover claim has been lodged but has not been determined.
This relates specifically to your initial WorkCover claim (which entitles you to claim medical and like expenses and possibly weekly payments).
If a WorkCover claim has been determined, you can stop pursuing that WorkCover claim and any entitlements at any point that you wish. However, your claim will not be withdrawn completely and it will remain on the WorkCover insurers system.