WorkCover claim settled: now what?
When most people refer to their WorkCover claim having settled, what they’re usually referring to is that they’ve settled a lump sum claim.
This article will look at what happens once your claim has settled.
Impairment benefit settled
Once you resolve an impairment benefit lump sum, you should expect to receive the settlement monies within about 2-3 weeks from when you provide instructions to the insurance company to settle.
Settling an impairment benefit lump sum will have no impact on your entitlement to the payment of medical expenses.
It will also have no impact on your entitlement to weekly payments. So if your ability to work is impacted, and the insurer hasn’t made a decision to terminate your entitlement, you can still receive weekly payments.
In some cases, in addition to an impairment benefit, you can pursue a common law claim.
In order to do so, there must be negligence on behalf of another party, and you need to have an injury that can be considered to be a serious injury.
Common law claim settled
Once you have settled a common law lump sum, you should expect to receive your settlement monies within approximately 4-6 weeks after settlement, in most cases.
As with an impairment benefit, generally speaking, resolving a common law lump sum will have no impact on your entitlement to the payment of medical expenses.
So if you need ongoing physio, or GP attendances, or medication or even surgery, the insurer may still be responsible for covering these costs if they have not previously made a decision to terminate your entitlement.
Keep in mind that the more time that has passed since you last claimed payment for a medical expense, the more likely it is that the insurer won’t pay for it.
For example, lets say that you settle your common law claim and then 2 years later you try and claim payment for physiotherapy expenses. The insurer may reject paying for the expense, or they may organise a medical assessment to see if the need for the treatment relates to your work related injury.
In relation to weekly payments, sometimes settling a common law claim will impact payment, other times it will not.
If your common law claim was for pain and suffering damages only, then it will have no impact on your entitlement to the payment of weekly payments.
However, if your common law claim was for pain and suffering AND economic loss, then your entitlement to weekly payments will cease.
Even if your injury gets worse in the future and you can’t work, unfortunately you’re not entitled to payments. This is because when you suffer a common law claim with an economic loss component, part of what you’re being compensated for is your lost earnings into the future. If you were to be paid weekly payments on top of this, then this could be seen as double dipping.
In relation to employment, there’s absolutely restriction on your employment once you’ve settled a WorkCover claim.
If you return to work with the same employer and aggravate your injury and wish to obtain assistance from WorkCover, then you need to decide whether to lodge a new claim or claim under your existing claim.
Just because your WorkCover lump sum or lump sums have resolved, doesn’t mean you are no longer entitled to assistance from WorkCover.
You’re probably still entitled to the payment of medical expenses, and in some cases, you may still be entitled to the payment of weekly payments.