WorkCover serious injury applications
A WorkCover serious injury application is an application that is made by an injured worker (in most instances, on their behalf by a lawyer) to the Victorian WorkCover Authority.
It initiates the serious injury application determination process and is the first step to obtaining a common law lump sum.
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What is a serious injury application?
A serious injury application is the first step in the process of obtaining a common law lump sum.
It initiates the serious injury application determination process, which is a period that runs for 120 days.
Components of a WorkCover serious injury application
There are a number of different components to a serious injury application.
An affidavit is a document that tells your story.
A good affidavit aims to paint a before and after picture – describing how you were before the injury and how you are after the injury.
It should describe the way that an injury impacts your life.
What you now struggle to do, what you no longer do.
The impact on your hobbies, recreational activities, self care, impact on your ablity to manage around the home and garden and your employment.
A serious injury affidavit is an important document and is something that will be used and referred to during the WorkCover common law process.
A Form A document can be thought of as the claim document.
It details the following:
- Your details
- Your employers details
- Details as to who the claim is against
- Whether you’ve finalised an impairment lump sum claim
- Details of your injury
- Details of the body function impacted
- Relevant section/s of the act you’re claiming under
- Whether the application is for pain and suffering alone, or for pain and suffering and economic loss
- Medical material included with the application
- Your earnings details
A Form D document is also called an authority and consent to release medical information.
This is a document that, once the appliction is served on the Victorian WorkCover Authority, gives the lawyers they engage permission to request medical and other material in relation to the matter.
They can take a copy of this Form D document and send it to medical practitioners and ask for any medical related material they think they need to assess the claim.
Medical material from your treating doctors
This usually takes the form of medical reports and clinical notes from your treating doctors.
Medical material from doctors that have assessed you
Sometimes you’ll see doctors for a medical assessment but they won’t actually treat you.
These IME assessments, or medico legal assessments as they are called can be included in support of your serious injury application.
Other affidavit material
Sometimes, in addition to your affidavit referred to above, other affidavits from people are included.
For example, your lawyer may want to include an affidavit from a spouse or relative who can provide their observations regarding the impact on the injury on you.
Typically your tax returns for a period of time prior to and after the injury will be included in your serious injury application.
Draft statement of claim
The draft statement of claim is a document that describes the injury, the mechanism of injury and other relevant particulars.
When is a serious injury application required?
A serious injury application is required when you want to pursue a common law claim.
It is the first step in initiating a common law claim.
Even if you have been assessed as having a 30% or greater whole person impairment rating (which would mean you would be deemed as having a serious injury), you would still need to prepare and lodge a serious injury application if you want to pursue a common law claim.
How long does a serious injury application take to prepare?
This depends on what information is required in support of the matter.
Generally speaking however, if a client asked us how long does a serious injury application take to prepare, we’d say it takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending upon what’s required.
What happens after a serious injury application is lodged?
Once a serious injury application is lodged, the Victorian WorkCover Authority refers the matter to one of the law firms on their panel.
The law firm will then need to review the matter and make a determination to either accept that you’ve suffered a serious injury (and issue a serious injury certificate) or reject that you’ve suffered a serious injury.
Can I prepare and lodge a serious injury application myself?
A serious injury application is something that should be handled on your behalf by a lawyer. It is not something that, in our opinion, you should be handling yourself.
There are other parts of the WorkCover system that a person can handle themselves without a lawyer – but a serious injury application and a common law claim is not one of those parts.
A serious injury application is an application made on behalf of an injured worker to the Victorian WorkCover Authority.
Once lodged, it requires the Victorian WorkCover Authority (by way of lawyers appointed on their behalf) to make a determination as to whether your injury satisfies the definition of a serious injury.
If it does, you’ll be granted a serious injury certificate.
A serious injury application is the first step in claiming a common law lump sum.