WorkCover is the main Workers Compensation employer in Queensland. If you have been injured at work must follow the correct procedures:
- Seek medical attention and obtain a Workers’ Compensation Medical Certificate
- Notify your employer and provide the Medical Certificate
- Lodge your claim along with the Medical Certificate, with WorkCover – your employer should provide all the necessary forms
- Seek legal advice – if your injury is serious, or likely to be permanent it is recommended you seek the advice of a lawyer.
Most claims are successful but some claims are rejected. If your claim is rejected you can discuss the decision with a work injury lawyer who may be able to assist you. If your injury was as a result of someone elses negligence it is recommended you seek the advice of a lawyer. Workplace negligence claims are ‘fact based’ so all the surrounding factors need to be reviwed. Discussing your entitlements with a WorkCover Lawyer who specialises in WorkCover cases will offer legal advice and discuss a potential common law (negligence) claim entitlements with you.
WorkCover claims are still valid even if you have not taken time off work but have paid out medical or other expenses related to a workplace injury. While a back injury is possibly the most common work accident, broken limbs, head and neck injuries and amputation are often viewed as the only valid types of WorkCover injuries, conditions such as repetitive strain injury and stress can also be covered by Queensland Workers Compensation Laws, therefore, it is always recommended professional legal advice from a lawyer is sought.
Most claims are settled without the need to attend court. As part of the WorkCover settlement and conditions of returning to work, an employer can be required to fix any unsafe issues.
When completing a WorkCover form and undertaking a WorkCover assessment, aspects such as the severity and possible long-term outcome of the workplace injury, plus duration away from the workplace are taken into account and will have an impact on the final WorkCover outcome. Once again, it is recommended your contact a skilled WorkCover lawyer to discuss your entitlements.
WorkCover claims can be lodged online. Also, the WorkCover Authority provides vital information and forms for employees and employers alike.
What is a Notice of Assessment?
If you have had an injury at work and are on workers compensation benefits you may be wondering what a ‘Notice of Assessment’ (NOA) from WorkCover actually is? A Notice of Assessment is issued at the end of a WorkCover claim (statutory claim). To obtain a Notice of Assessment you need to follow WorkCovers guidelines until you reach a ‘stable and stationary’ point with your injury. This means you are not going to get any better or worse or a maximum medical improvement is reached. This also means that WorkCover will cease payments (wages), and treatment. For a Notice of assessment to be issued you must attend a ‘Permanent Impairment Examination’ with a specialist medical practitioner of WorkCovers choice.
When you receive your Notice of Assessment, it is recommended you discuss your WorkCover lump sum offer with a personal injury lawyer. By seeking legal advice you will become aware of your options and entitlements. At Claim Lawyers we can advise you to either; accept the WorkCover lump sum payment offer; or reject it and proceed to a common law claim.
The Rehabilitation Period: Once you have lodged a WorkCover claim after having an injury at work, you will usually go through a rehabilitation period. For physical injuries most claimants are required to attend medical appointments with their treating general practitioner and sometimes specialists to assess the injury and locate what needs to be done and whether you require surgery or some sort of therapy or physiotherapy. Some claimants require surgery for particular injuries and this can cause the rehabilitation to go on for some time.
Workers who have suffered psychological injuries also need to comply with WorkCovers process and attend, depending on the severity of the injury some sort of counselling, or a psychiatrist for treatment. Once the injured worker has met the criteria for being ‘stable and stationery’ WorkCover will have you assessed. The assessments are made by the General Medical Assessment Tribunal (Psychiatric) which is administered by QCOMP the workers’ compensation regulatory authority.
What is permanent impairment? Permanent impairment is an assessment to find out to what point your body has recovered from the injury. This is called WRI – ‘Work related impairment’. Work related impairment is worked out on a percentage basis. Once this has been assessed WorkCover may make a ‘lump sum offer’. This offer is to compensate the injured worker. The outcome of the permanent impairment assessment percentage and lump sum offer is located on the Notice of Assessment. Even if the percentage is 0% this does NOT affect your rights at common law stage. At this point (providing the employer is liable for full or part negligence) you have the right to agree or disagree with the assessment and pursue a claim for damages (Common Law Claim). You may agree or disagree with the assessment but you must NOT sign the Notice of Assessment without discussing it with a Personal Injury solicitor first to discuss your rights and entitlements. By signing the NOA you will end all your future rights to claim further compensation.
Your rights: Some injured workers do not know their full rights and WorkCover ‘close’ the claim after meeting the ‘stable and stationary’ guidelines. If this has happened to you then you need to call WorkCover with your claim number and request the Notice of Assessment. If you have rights for further compensation (common law claim) then you can seek legal advice, investigate the claim further and find out if you qualify on the no win – no fee scheme.
Nothing in this website should be construed as legal advice and is simply general introductory information. Please contact Claim Lawyers for advice specific to your circumstances.