Injury at work compensation – what can you claim?
If you suffer an injury at work or over the course of your employment in Victoria, there are several options open to you should you wish to pursue compensation.
The main option open to people is to pursue a WorkCover claim. However, there are options beyond and in addition to this.
This page will explore the topic further.
The list on this page is not exhaustive. However, it does cover the most common options.
Table of Contents
Injury at work compensation options
- Equal opportunity claim
- Fair Work claim
- Superannuation claim (TPD/income protection)
The rest of this page will explore each of the above and their relationship to the other compensation options.
WorkCover is insurance that an employer takes out to cover their workers in the event they suffer an injury, illness or condition related to their employment.
If a person lodges a claim and has it accepted, they may be entitled to the following benefits under the Victorian WorkCover scheme:
If a person’s ability to work has been impacted as a result of an injury, then they may be entitled to claim weekly payments of compensation from the WorkCover insurer.
Weekly payments are payable if a person has no work capacity or a partial work capacity.
Payments can be made to a person for 130 weeks.
If a person has no work capacity after 130 weeks then they may have an entitlement to payments beyond 130 weeks.
They may also be a possibility of top up payments beyond 130 weeks if a person has returned to work but only in a limited capacity.
Payments being made is dependent upon certificates of capacity being provided.
Medical and like expenses
If a person needs medical treatment as a result of an injury, illness or condition, then generally speaking, once they have an accepted WorkCover claim the WorkCover insurer will be responsible for payment of those benefits.
Medical payments are not locked in for ever. From time to time, the insurer may seek to reduce or terminate a persons entitlement to a particular type of medical expense, or all medical expenses.
Impairment benefit lump sum
This is the first of two lump sum claims under the WorkCover scheme.
This is a no fault lump sum claim.
In order to be entitled to this claim, a person must have an injury that has stabilised.
A person must also have a permanent impairment.
This is a claim that involves a person being medically assessed and their whole person impairment rating being determined.
Common law lump sum claim
This is the second lump sum claim available to an injured person to pursue under the WorkCover scheme in Victoria.
In order to succeed in such a claim, a person is required to show that they have a serious injury and that there was negligence on behalf of their employer or a third-party.
An injured person can be compensated for both pain and suffering and potentially loss of earnings.
Comcare is similar in many ways to the Victorian WorkCover scheme.
If you are employed by the Australian government, under an agency authority, then it is likely that compensation for an injury at work will be payable via the Comcare scheme, rather than the WorkCover scheme.
You’re also likely be covered by the Comcare scheme if you are making a claim against the Commonwealth for an asbestos related condition or you are employee of national companies. licensed by the SRCC.
The benefits payable by Comcare are in some ways similar to the benefits paid by the Victorian WorkCover scheme.
If you are unable to work as a consequence of an injury, then income support payments are payable in certain instances.
Comcare can pay for medical expenses including attendances on doctors, hospital expenses and pharmacy expenses. In addition, they can pay for the cost of rehabilitation services, household services, travel expenses and attendant care services.
There are also lump sum payments open to a person to claim under the Comcare scheme.
Just like under the WorkCover scheme, there is a permanent impairment benefit that can be claimed if a person suffers a permanent injury.
Like under the WorkCover scheme, this lump sum claim is based on the concept of whole person impairment. In order to be entitled to compensation, you will need to reach a threshold level of impairment (in certain instances there is no threshold that needs to be met).
In addition to an impairment benefit, you may also be entitled to claim compensation for non-economic loss compensation which is designed to compensate you for pain and suffering.
If you believe you have a Comcare claim you can contact Comcare directly.
Seacare is a national scheme that is designed to compensate seafaring employees who suffer an injury, illness, or condition related to their employment.
If you are an Australian employee in the Maritime industry you may well be covered by Seacare.
The Seacare scheme operates in a similar way, in terms of the payment of benefits, to the Comcare scheme.
If you are not someone who meets the criteria to claim under the Seacare scheme, then you still may be entitled to make a claim for under WorkCover or one of the other schemes mentioned on this page.
Equal opportunity claim
If you suffer an injury illness or condition related to your employment, and you feel as though you have been discriminated against because of this, you may have an equal opportunity claim.
There is a wide variety of things that a person can claim under an equal opportunity act, including, but not limited to; financial compensation relating to the discrimination, changes in workplace policies, payment of medical expenses, apologies in relation to the discrimination, training for the employer.
If you believe you have a possible equal opportunity claim, you can initiate a claim by contacting either the Federal or State equal opportunity body.
Fair Work application
Again, if you feel as though you have been discriminated against because of a work related injury, illness or condition, you may have an entitlement under the Fair Work legislation.
There are many different claims that can be made via Fair Work however.
Two relatively common claims are general protections claims
potential claim that is open to a person who feels as though they have been treated differently because of their work related injury is a general protections application.
This application must be commenced within 21 days
If a person is successful, in this claim, they can seek similar remedies to those mentioned in relation to the equal opportunity claim.
There are also avenues under the civil remedy provisions of the fair work act, which may be open to a person to pursue, depending upon the circumstances.
If a persons ability to work has been impacted following an injury at work, they may be able to claim income benefits from their super fund in the form of income protection payments.
Not everyone is entitled to these benefits however. It depends upon your specific superannuation policy.
You can read about income protection in comparison to WorkCover payments here.
If your ability to work has been impacted to such a degree that you are no longer able to return to work at all, you may have an entitlement to a total and permanent disability payment under your superannuation.
Again, like income protection, not everyone has the option of pursuing a TPD claim and it is dependent upon a persons individual superannuation policy.
In order to succeed in this claim medical material is required from their treating medical practitioner/s certifying that they are not likely to be able to return to work, given the injury, illness or condition that they have suffered.
Note that when it comes to a TPD claim, a person is not restricted to claiming just the consequence of the work related injury, illness, or condition.
Any injury, illness or condition that a person has that may not be work related can also be factored in when determining whether a person has a capacity for employment.
If you’re a volunteer
You can read about compensation for injured volunteer workers here.
Transport Accident Commission (TAC)
If you suffered your injury driving to or from work, then you may be entitled to TAC benefits.
Compensation by the employer
A person potentially can be compensated by an employer if they suffer an injury illness or condition related to their employment.
Sometimes employers will offer to pay for example, for an injured persons medical expenses and/or lost wages.
If a person suffers an injury at work, there are a number of options that that person has to obtain compensation.
The primary option is via a WorkCover claim. However, there are alternative/additional options.
An injured person may be covered by the Comcare or Seacare schemes. They may have entitlements under equal opportunity legislation or under the Fair Work Act.
They may be able to claim either income protection benefits or a total and permanent disablement benefit via their superannuation.