I got injured at work, do I need a lawyer?
The reality is that you don’t need a lawyer in every matter involving an injury at work.
If you are not intending to pursue a WorkCover claim then in most cases you won’t need to engage a lawyer.
Just make sure the injury is registered in the work injury register book.
However, if your intention is to lodge and pursue a WorkCover claim in Victoria, then you may need a lawyer.
This page will explore the issue further.
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How do you know whether you need a lawyer?
If your WorkCover matter is made up of you getting paid your medical expenses and some loss of income – perhaps for a limited period, then in many cases a person can handle this themselves without needing a lawyer.
If your intention is to pursue lump sum compensation however, then I recommend that you engage the assistance of a lawyer.
Because achieving the best result depends on having someone who knows what they’re doing.
Even initiating the lump sum compensation process can be a very difficult ask for someone that doesn’t know the WorkCover system.
Yes, you can do your own plumbing work in your home, but if you don’t know what you’re doing and you get things wrong then you can muck things up pretty badly.
Also, in order to pursue lump sum compensation successfully, you should have an injury that persists.
If you have an injury that could be considered minor that recovers after say a few weeks or even after a couple of months and you get back to how you were before the injury, you’re not likely to be entitled to lump sum compensation for this injury.
This is what the law in Victoria.
Keep in mind however that you will still be entitled to the payment of medical expenses as well as income payments if you are not able to work as mentioned earlier.
So if you intend to pursue lump sum compensation, yes in general you should have a lawyer.
If your claim is made up solely of you getting paid your medical expenses and some loss of income, then I would still recommend that you have a lawyer but you are able to in some cases handle these aspects of a WorkCover claim yourself.
If you’re at the point where you haven’t lodged a claim yet and want to know how to do so, this page should help.
It might also assist you to read about the WorkCover claim process in more detail, which you can do here.
However, if the sea gets rough, for example if the WorkCover insurer makes a decision that you disagree with like terminating your entitlement to a particular type of medical treatment that you require or knocks back surgery or terminates your payments, you should have a lawyer to help you contest that decision.
Again, this is something you could do yourself but you want to give yourself the best chance of success.
And given that many lawyers will act on a no win no fee basis, you can get the help you need in many cases (but not all) without having to pay money upfront and if you lose, you may not need to pay any costs (in some cases with some lawyers however, you will so be mindful of this).
Situations where you might not need a lawyer
- Where you do not intend to pursue a WorkCover claim after an injury
- Where you simply want to lodge a WorkCover claim and get medical expenses paid and or weekly payments for a limited period
Situations where you should have a lawyer
Lodging a WorkCover claim in general for an injury that is likely to persist
Pursuing a matter to conciliation
Issuing a matter to the medical panel
Pursuing an impairment benefit lump sum claim
Pursuant to common-law lump sum claim.
There are some cases where you do not need a lawyer if you’re injured at work. The most obvious case is if you do not intend to lodge a WorkCover claim.
If you do intend to lodge a WorkCover claim for an injury that is not likely to persist and all you are claiming is a limited period of medical and like expenses and or weekly payments, then you may be able to handle this yourself.
Really though, in any other situation we’d recommend that you have a lawyer simply because WorkCover can be stressful enough and this stress can be exacerbated if you don’t know the system very well.
Also, having someone that knows the ins and outs of the WorkCover system helps give you the best chance of success.
Finally, as many WorkCover lawyers act on a no win no fee basis, in many cases (but not all) you can get help from a lawyer without having to pay money upfront and if you lose you will not have to pay any costs.