Injured at work but still working?What you need to know.
Table of Contents
If you have a WorkCover claim
It is possible to be injured at work but continue working with the injury employer while on WorkCover.
It is in fact quite common for injured workers to continue working with the employer on either a full duties or modified duties basis.
For more severe injuries where there is at least an initial period of time completely away from work, the usual process is that after some time of rehabilitation the employee will return to modified duties at the workplace where the injury occurred.
Clearly there are instances where this is not possible, such as in cases of serious injury or severe bullying, for example.
If the worker is on modified or light duties that involves a decrease in working hours, the WorkCover insurer will pay some amount of weekly payments to make up part of the loss of wages (as discussed in other articles, the WorkCover scheme does not make up for 100% of loss of earnings).
It is also possible for the injured worker to be working on unrestricted duties in the workplace.
This does not mean that their claim is at an end and they would still have an entitlement to reasonable medical and like expenses.
If their condition deteriorated over time, they would also be entitled to weekly payments if it prevented them from working.
When someone returns to work whether it be on restricted or unrestricted duties after an injury it does not mean their WorkCover claim is finalised or closed.
In relation to common law claims, being back in the workplace cuts both ways.
It obviously establishes that you have some capacity to work, and this in turn will affect any claim for loss of earnings/economic loss that you might have.
On the other hand, it does go in your favour in showing that you are willing to return to work, and that you have made genuine attempts to do so.
The WorkCover insurer or their lawyers can sometimes question why you have not returned to work or not made any attempt to return to work when in situations where at least some of the doctors believe you have a capacity to return to your old workplace in some form.
If you don’t have a WorkCover claim
It is also possible to have been injured at work and still working, without a WorkCover claim having been lodged.
Most of the time this occurs in situations where the injury is a minor one (or the worker believes at the time that it is minor) or the worker believes that they will recover from the injury quickly.
While there are time limits set out as how long you have to lodge a claim (you can read more about that here), it’s our recommendation that it is still worthwhile lodging a claim “out of time”, as there is always some possibility it will be accepted, particularly if there are relevant reasons why the claim was not lodged immediately.
However, keep in mind that in many cases, you don’t need to lodge a claim. Whether you do is entirely up to you, and involves consideration of the pros and cons. This article should help you in this regard.