We are fortunate enough that, in Queensland, our workers are protected if they are injured while on the job.
If, due to the negligence of your employer or co-workers, you injure yourself while at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Workplace injuries include everything from broken bones to psychological damages. As such, there are several moving parts, making the workers compensation claims process convoluted.
Here are our top 5 most frequently asked questions about workers compensation claims in Queensland.
1. What are your rights under workers’ compensation?
According to fairwork.gov, workers compensation is defined as a form of insurance payments to employees who are injured or made sick at work.
These payments are intended to cover an injured or sick employee’s:
- Wages while they’re unable to work
- Medical expenses and rehabilitation.
Employers in every state and territory are required to take out workers’ compensation insurance. Workcover Queensland is the sole provider of accident insurance for employers in Queensland, aside from those employers who are self-insured in accordance with the requirements of the Workers Compensation legislation.
2. Can an employer ask about workers’ compensation claims?
In Queensland, a prospective employer may request that you disclose all pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.
3. How long does it take for workers’ compensation claims to be settled?
There are two stages to a workers’ compensation claim in Queensland:
- Statutory Compensation Benefits
- Common Law Damages.
During the initial statutory stage, you are not required to prove fault and can claim damages for the majority of your wages, medical treatment and rehabilitation. This comes from WorkCover Queensland or from your employer’s self-insurer.
If you are unable to return to work, WorkCover Queensland or your employer’s self-insurer will look to offer you a lump sum amount.
Do not accept this offer until you have spoken to a qualified personal injury lawyer.
During the common law damages stage, you are required to prove your injuries were the direct result of the negligence of your employer or fellow employee. This is not straightforward, and a trained injury lawyer will be able to consider other angles to give you the very best chance of mounting a successful damages claim.
As you can see from the above, there are a lot of moving parts. Therefore, it is impossible to offer a guaranteed timeframe but from the point in time that your Statutory stage is finalised the damages claim will take between 12 months and 18 months to finalise.
4. What expenses are covered by workers’ compensation?
WorkCover makes payments to cover any approved medical and rehabilitation costs directly related to the injury sustained at work.
This can include things like:
- Treatment performed by a registered medical or allied health practitioner
- Any additional medical items needed during recovery
- Hiring of equipment like crutches or a wheelchair
- Return to work services supporting your retraining or return to work
- Travel expenses related to treatment.
The things that aren’t covered under WorkCover are:
- Any treatment done by a non-registered practitioner, including most alternative medicines, unless expressly approved by the insurer
- Certain travel costs
- Unauthorised hospital expenses.
5. How do I know if I’m eligible for workers’ compensation?
You are eligible to claim workers’ compensation if you meet the following:
- You are a ‘Worker’ as defined in the legislation
- You’re injured or fall sick at work or directly because of your employment
- You’re injured on your way to or from your work.
If you aren’t sure of your eligibility, we recommend getting in contact with Gouldson. We’ll review your case for free and ensure you know what options are available to you.