Isn’t an Incident Report Enough?
So many workers think that once they have reported the accident or injury to their employer they are protected as far as a workers' compensation claim goes.
This is partially true in that a common law claim against your employer (where you must prove that your employer was negligent) can be pursued at any time within a 3 year time limit even if a workers' compensation claim was not lodged and/or WorkCover Queensland had never been notified about the accident.
What about where it was my own fault?
The difficulty arises when the injury that the worker suffered did not arise as a result of anyone else’s negligence.
In those cases, where there is no claim for negligence against the employer, a worker only has 6 months from the date of injury within which to lodge an Application for Compensation with WorkCover Queensland or the private workers' compensation insurer. If they fail to do so, then they may have no entitlement to workers' compensation benefits.
This can be particularly concerning in cases where surgery and/or long periods of time off work are ultimately required as a result of that injury. WorkCover Queensland will not pay for the surgery or time off work where a WorkCover claim was not lodged within 6 months after the injury.
So when should I lodge a WorkCover claim?
Well, every time a worker suffers an injury of any significance (i.e. we would suggest any injury where the symptoms last for more than 4 weeks), the worker should lodge an Application for Compensation as soon as possible thereafter with WorkCover Queensland.
This is the case even if no treatment or time off work is required. WorkCover Queensland will then simply accept the claim as a “notification only” claim.
What this does is protect the workers' future rights in relation to that injury, should any treatment or time off work become necessary in relation to that injury even many years into the future.
Finally, this is a complex and tricky area of law so if you are still unsure what to do, our Gold Coast Personal Injury Lawyers are specialists in this area of law and they are more than happy to provide free initial telephone advice and free initial consultations, so that you can have all of your questions answered.
Should you require the assistance of one of our specialist personal injury lawyers, call our office on (07) 5554 8333.