Should I lodge a WorkCover claim?
A WorkCover claim isn’t the answer all the time. However, it can be of great assistance if you think you might need medical expenses and or income replacement benefits because your inability to work is impacted due to a work related illness or injury.
If you have an injury that is likely to be very short-term where you might not need any medical treatment or you might not need any time off work, then in the circumstances, you need to ask yourself whether you want to go through the WorkCover process for very little gain.
A WorkCover claim is able to pay for your medical expenses as well as income replacement benefits. If you do not need either of these things, then it is questionable how much use a WorkCover claim is going to be.
If you don’t need either of these things at the moment, but you’re not sure how your injury is going to progress, then you should consider lodging a WorkCover claim now even if you do not utilise it
An alternative to this, rather than lodging a claim at this point in time, is making sure that the injuries reported. The best way to do this is to report it in the injury register at your place of employment.
If you don’t want to do this, then you can visit your doctor or other health practitioner and they should make a note of your attendance and the injury.
This way, if you wish to lodge a claim down the track, there is documented evidence in relation to it. You’ll have a decent chance of showing that you suffered an injury connected to your employment.
Be clear on what you can claim before pursuing a WorkCover claim
When deciding whether you should lodge a WorkCover claim, you should be clear on what benefits you can get under a WorkCover claim.
As mentioned above, you can be paid medical expenses as well as income replacement benefits so you don’t need to use your sick leave if you can’t work.
In addition, you can also potentially pursue an impairment benefit claim which is a lump sum claim open to people if they have a permanent impairment.
Finally, if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to pursue a common law claim for damage another lump sum claim.
Under a common law claim for damages, you can be compensated for pain and suffering and in certain cases, loss of income.
It can be helpful to see examples of WorkCover lump sum compensation amounts to help you in your decision making.
How will a WorkCover claim impact my current employment?
When deciding whether to lodge a WorkCover claim, considering how that WorkCover claim will impact someone’s employment is important.
The law says that employers are not able to treat workers differently if they have lodged a WorkCover claim.
However, in reality, we know that this sometimes does happen.
Yes, the laws in place are there to help protect people from being discriminated against for lodging WorkCover claims.
However, if you lodge a WorkCover claim and you get treated differently because you’ve done so, you need to understand the legal avenues that are open to you, and you also need to be able to pursue one or more of these avenues.
Pursuing these avenues can come at considerable time and expense, particularly if you’ve engaged a lawyer.
Some employers will see have a WorkCover claim for what it is, that is, someone pursuing compensation to help them get back on their feet and accessing their lawful entitlements. Whereas other employers may see things differently.
What impact will a WorkCover claim have on future employment?
If you’re applying for a new job in the future, it is possible that the prospective employer will ask about any WorkCover claims that you may have had.
It is a good idea to, in this instance, declare that you’ve had a previous WorkCover claim because failing to do so can result in your not being titled to compensation if you aggravate the injury that was the subject of your previous claim.
As mentioned above, employers are not allowed to discriminate against people that have lodged WorkCover claims however, sometimes it does happen.
Should I lodge a claim now or should I wait until I’m ready?
Lodging a claim early gives you the best chance of having your claim excepted.
However, WorkCover claims that are lodged many months or sometimes years after injury occurred can be accepted.
Sometimes people just don’t feel ready to lodge a claim. They may for example want to see Heather Andrew progresses before they commit to a WorkCover claim.
Having a WorkCover claim accepted it is all about the evidence.
What evidence is there to show that you have an injury that you suffered at work.
So, you do not need to lodge a WorkCover claim at the moment. Keep in mind that doing so does give you the best chance of having your claim accepted without issue.