WorkCover Queensland has a fairly easy online system in order to lodge a WorkCover claim. But is there more to the process than simply applying?
Many workers take the WorkCover process for granted. There are many reasonable expectations that workers have for the WorkCover system in Queensland:
-They expect their employer and the WorkCover insurer to act in their best interests.
-If they have suffered an injury, they expect to be properly taken care of.
-If the accident has caused an injury resulting in time off work, they expect to be compensated for their wage losses within the law.
-If the employer has acted negligently and failed to protect their employees, workers expect justice to be served.
Unfortunately, this may not be the case in some circumstances:
-The legislation is very strict. A worker who makes a mistake in lodging their documentation or failing to adhere to the limitation period may lose their legal rights to workers compensation.
-WorkCover insurers have a duty towards their shareholders that may conflict with the interests of an injured worker.
-Injured workers may not have enough time or may be incapable to properly handle their claim due to their injury.
-A claimant may be subjected to an independent medical examination (IME) that always seems to be biased on the side of the insurer.
It is during these times that injured workers in Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast, need a solicitor to best protect their legal interests.
Here are some circumstances where taking advantage of a free initial consultation with a personal injury firm is recommended:
WorkCover has stopped your weekly payments for workers compensation.
A decision by WorkCover to stop your weekly workers compensation payments can be incredibly difficult. It may be challenging to know your legal rights and how you may be able to argue the decision.
The most common reason why WorkCover stops weekly payments is because they have determined that an injured worker has regained the capacity to work. This may occur at any time after you start receiving WorkCover benefits, but can be very common if you have been in receiving weekly payments for longer than 130 weeks.
A personal injury lawyer in Brisbane can help you challenge the decision and recover some of your legal costs from WorkCover. Trying to attempt this alone may lead to a rejection at review and a more costly appeal.
WorkCover has offered you a lump sum payment for your injury.
If you have suffered a permanent injury, then you may be entitled to a lump sum payment.
NEVER accept the first offer you receive from WorkCover for your injuries until you have spoken with a personal injury lawyer.
You may be assessed at a level that may not fit the exact nature and extent of your injuries. This can happen with a claimant’s WorkCover claim because initial medical opinions made by WorkCover doctors may not take into account all the aspects of your injury in the limited time that you are assessed.
Lump sum payment entitlement.
If you have suffered a physical injury you may have an entitlement to a lump sum payment. It is a lump sum for whole person impairment. You may need legal assistance when you have been assessed and you have received a decision from WorkCover stating that you have reached a level of permanent impairment. If you’re not satisfied with the assessment a workers compensation lawyer can assist you. A second opinion can also be organised or a challenge can be made if you have been prevented from receiving the proper entitlements.
WorkCover won’t pay for the course I want to do.
You may have been talking to your case manager or rehabilitation consultant about your future. You have discussed your work experience, interests and work goals. You have provided information to them about a course or training program you’re interested in, and you feel it will assist with your re-training. If WorkCover is unwilling to pay for your preferred course then you should seek legal advice. A workers compensation lawyer can assist you to secure funding for the course by challenging the decision made by WorkCover.
WorkCover hasn’t reimbursed my medical expenses.
When your claim is accepted you are entitled to reasonable medical treatment costs. This includes, hospital expenses, medication, periodic treatments such as physiotherapy, and travel to and from medical appointments. These expenses often need to be incurred first before they can be reimbursed. What happens though when you submit these accounts and you haven’t been paid? This is a common problem faced by injured workers. A workers compensation lawyer can assist you by asking WorkCover to make a formal decision in relation to the expenses and if necessary lodge a Notice of Dispute on your behalf in the Workers Compensation Tribunal.
Do I stay on WorkCover if I resign?
Returning to the same workplace where you initially sustained the injury can be stressful for a number of different reasons. Resignation is often an option that is considered by WorkCover recipients. It is important to understand that your employer has an obligation to provide you with suitable duties within your restrictions pursuant to Section 58B of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. If you decide to resign, your weekly payments of income maintenance will stop. You will be seen to have breached your obligations under the Act. This if referred to as “breach of mutuality”. You have an obligation to your employer to make yourself ready, willing and able to perform suitable duties. Further, if you commit an act that is considered serious and wilful misconduct the employer can let you go and your payments will stop.
The above briefly touches on only some of many examples where workers seek the advice of experienced workers compensation lawyers in South Australia. It is important to note that the outcome of each issue will be depend on the individual circumstances of the worker.