Workplace Injury & Worker’s Compensation
When you are injured on the job or on your way to or from work as a Queensland worker, you can apply for and receive workers’ compensation benefits. Please note if you are after information regarding the Northern Territory please click here.
Often referred to as statutory compensation, the benefits usually paid consist of wages while off work, payment of approved medical treatment and rehabilitation. If your injury leaves you with a permanent impairment, you may be offered lump sum compensation as well.
If it can be established that your employer was negligent in causing your injury or illness, then you also have the right to claim common law damages; often referred to as a negligence claim.
Statutory Benefits and Negligence Claims
Self-Insurers and WorkCover in Queensland are required to assess and manage all statutory and negligence damages claims in accordance with the rules set out in the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
We can advise and help you with:
- Day to day statutory claim management advice;
- Legal consequences of a notice of assessment;
- Disputing a decision to reject or cease an application for statutory compensation;
- Making a negligence claim relating to a work injury.
Not every work accident is because of employer negligence; but far too many are. Often you won’t know exactly what it was that could and should have been done to prevent the workplace accident that hurt you. Most likely at the initial consult, we will have a pretty good idea though.
If it can be established that an employer was negligent in causing your injury or illness, then you will succeed in the claim. Typically, you have three years from the date of a workplace injury to commence a negligence claim.
If you have an injury that was sustained over time, or you have a ‘latent onset’ illness or disease like occupational cancer, an asbestos-related illness or even a cumulative injury like repetitive strain, you must commence the negligence claim within one year of your diagnosis, or in some cases, the onset of initial symptoms.
If this is you, we would encourage you to seek immediate legal advice from a personal injury accredited specialist because over period of time injuries are complex claims and the time frames that apply are strict and difficult to calculate. There are far too many personal injury compensation lawyers that do not understand the legal complexities of over period of time or latent onset injury claims and the special limitation time frames that apply, and the medical complexities about how a workplace can cause these injuries and illnesses.
We are experienced in over time, latent onset disease, complex injuries and limitation period extensions and are able to assist.
Proving an employer is negligent is not an easy thing to do so it is advisable to seek legal advice and assistance in investigating and preparing a negligence claim as soon as possible after the workplace injury. Rest assured that the employer and their insurer have already begun to investigate your potential claim before you have even fully recovered.
We offer initial free consultations on any workplace injury enquiry. We only work for and represent injured workers and can assist and advise you about:
- Claiming workers’ compensation;
- Rejected or cancelled claims;
- Reviews and appeals;
- Medical assessment tribunal hearings;
- Permanent impairment assessments;
- Negligence claims;
- Over time injuries and illness;
- Latent onset illness; and
- Limitation periods and extensions.
Notice of Assessment and Lump Sum Offer
If your workplace injury results in a permanent impairment, you are entitled to have your work injuries assessed for permanent impairment. If the doctors decide that you have an impairment, then the WorkCover insurer will issue a Notice of Assessment and you will be offered lump sum compensation.
Importantly, WorkCover and self insurers, when they finalise or close your claim, do not automatically organise a permanent impairment assessment of your accepted injuries. If they do not, it can be arranged later.
When an assessment is done, you will receive a document called a Notice of Assessment. If you disagree with the Degree of Permanent Impairment (DPI) set out in the Notice of Assessment, you can challenge the assessment. You have 20 business days from receipt of a Notice of Assessment to disagree with an impairment assessment. There are some options available when challenging a permanent impairment assessment, and we strongly suggest that you call us about the best option for you well before your 20 days run out.
Once a final decision is made about your Degree of Permanent Impairment (DPI), a fresh Notice of Assessment will be issued. In the Notice, a lump sum offer of compensation will be made if you have a DPI finding. Some very important and complex decisions need to be made when you receive a Notice of Assessment. It is not just about accepting or rejecting the lump sum offer; it is also about deciding whether you want to pursue a negligence claim.
It is also very important that if you receive a Notice of Assessment that you DO NOT rely on any discussions or advice the WorkCover insurers’ claims officers have given you. They are not lawyers and for that reason are not allowed to provide legal advice. Yet they often try to. They are also employed by the insurer and they have a very clear conflict of interest that also should stop them from providing legal advice to an injured worker. Any discussion with a WorkCover claims representative about a permanent impairment assessment finding or a notice of assessment lump sum offer is a legal discussion, not an insurance discussion.
We encourage everyone who has sustained a work injury to have their injury assessed for permanent impairment, so that a Notice of Assessment can be issued. It is the only way you can access all of your workers’ compensation entitlements.
We also strongly recommend that every person who receives a Notice of Assessment (NOA) immediately obtains legal advice from a lawyer (not a Worker’s Compensation Claims Officer) before making any decisions about it.
We offer initial free consultations on any work injury enquiry including Notice of Assessment.
Review to the Workers Compensation Regulator Time Frames
If you disagree with a WorkCover insurer’s decision about your claim, you have three (3) months from the date of receipt of the decision (with written reasons of the decisions) to apply for a review to the Regulator. The types of decisions you might want to dispute might be rejecting or declining a claim, ceasing benefits, or refusal of surgery.
Appeal to Qld Industrial Relations Commission
If you disagree with a decision of the Regulator following a review application, you have 20 business days from date of the Regulators’ review decision, to file an Appeal to the Industrial Relations Commission.