Suffering an injury in the workplace is an unfortunate situation that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It can set in motion a chain of inconvenient events that include weeks or months of time off and recovery, not to mention the medical costs that follow. However, there are legal protections in place – for piece, commission, seasonal, casual, part-time and full-time employees – that can help you secure the financial and medical treatment you might need.
If you’re advised to take time off work by your physician, the expenses of reasonable medical and rehabilitation time will often be covered as a consequence of your entitlement to employees’ compensation. Here are a few things to know before you consider making a workplace injury claim.
Provide as many details as you can
When you inform your GP about your workplace injury, they’ll take a history of it and note what happened to you. It’s important to take this opportunity to give your medical practitioner precise details of the incident, even if such details seem non-consequential at the time. If there are any issues about the case of your injury at a later date, your GP will need to know exactly how that injury happened. If you require any time off work, you should also ask your physician for a WorkCover certificate.
Understand where your legal obligation ends
If you’re legally entitled to employees’ compensation and you make a claim, know that you are under no legal obligation to give a statement to a WorkCover investigator. You can do so of your own volition, although, it is advised that you obtain legal counsel to appreciate the significance of any document you are asked to sign and it is often better to have a lawyer present when that statement is taken. This will ensure only relevant questions are asked and adequate answers are given, and you will have the chance to check and amend such a statement before it is signed.
Seek legal advice
If you suffer an injury at work, you should seek legal advice at the earliest possible time. Some claims about workers’ compensation are inherently complex. What is more, different parts of the country have different laws regulating workplace injury claims. For instance, if you’re from the Gold Coast, you can contact compensation lawyers from Gold Coast, as they would have a better understanding of the laws pertaining to that part of the nation. It’s best to seek advice even if WorkCover accepts your claim, since you may be entitled to other rights other than just substantial compensation. This can be in the form of a no-fault lump sum for a permanent injury, suffering and permanent loss of income, compensation for your pain, or disablement benefits under your superannuation policy.
How to report your injury?
The South Australian employee’s compensation legislation requires workplace injuries to be reported as soon as possible – within the 24-hour time period – after the injury and before any voluntary resignation from your employment. A workplace injury can be reported verbally, by making an entry in the injury register book held by your employer or by completing an injury notification form. The report of the injury should contain your address and name, the date, the nature and cause of your injury. Failing to notify your employer about your injury may compromise your claim.
When you sustain a workplace injury, you need to understand that legal protections can help you secure the medical and financial assistance you might need. Know your time limit, employer’s and insurer’s obligations, seek legal advice if needed, and you will be well on your way to compensate for a workplace injury.