If you are currently suffering from an injury you sustained at work but the injury happened over time, it is important to understand how to file a WorkCover claim. According to the WorkSafe Victoria government website, the Occupational Health Safety Act 2004 sets out the primary principles, duties, and rights when it comes to occupational health and safety in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria.
If you get hurt on the job, your WorkCover lawyer can help you understand how the Accident Compensation (WorkCover insurance) Act 1993 and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) can allow you to receive WorkCover benefits if you were injured. Whether you sustained an injury in a single accident or event, or if you have an injury caused by routine work or repetitive motion, you should consider seeking WorkCover benefits. An experienced Melbourne WorkCover claims lawyer at Henry Carus + Associates can assist you.
Not All Injuries Happen from One Bad Event
You should keep in mind that not all injuries occur at once. There does not need to be a single accident or event that results in your injury. Rather, certain injuries that are eligible for WorkCover benefits happen over time.
While many people assume that WorkCover benefits are only for employees who suffer an injury in a single accident, many workers have repetitive motion injuries that also prevent them from working. Repetitive motion injuries, or repetitive stress injuries, according to a fact sheet from Johns Hopkins Medicine, can be just as debilitating as those sustained from one bad event.
As the fact sheet from Johns Hopkins Medicine explains, repetitive motion injuries that result from routine work can be “temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by doing the same motion over and over again.” Why do these injuries prevent employees from working? Repetitive stress injuries tend to be painful, and they can “cause numbness, clumsiness, and a loss of motion, flexibility, and strength in the area.” They tend to get worse over time, especially without treatment. If these injuries are not properly treated, they can “result in a complete loss of function.”
The WorkCover Benefits Form Is Not Designed for Injuries That Developed Over Time
If you are suffering from an injury that has happened over time, you could be eligible for WorkCover benefits. However, you should know that the standard WorkCover benefits form was not designed for employees with injuries that have developed over time. Examples include shoulder injuries, hearing loss, and repetitive movements can tear a worker’s muscles over time. The pain grows increasingly worse, yet the form will ask you, “When did your injury happen?” You are not alone if you are struggling to decide how to fill out this information.
What should you do? First, we would like to talk about what you should not do. You should not write in the last day that you worked or the date on which the pain from your injury became too much to bear. Rather, you should simply cross out the section of the form that asks the date of the event that caused your injury. Then, below where you have crossed out that information, you should cite the date when your injury started, and then explain that it continued until you stopped work on a specific date.
The information you write below the crossed-out section should look something like this, with the dates specific to your injury filled in:
“The injury started DAY/MONTH/YEAR and continued until I stopped working on DAY/MONTH/YEAR.”
If you do not cross out the form information that asks for only one date, your claim will raise questions and it can be rejected. It is important to be as specific as possible and to make clear how you sustained your injury over the course of time and the work-related actions that caused it.
Other Tips for These Types of WorkCover Claims
What else should you do when filling out a WorkCover claim? Here are just a few tips:
- Do not quit your job.
- Talk to your boss or your other superiors about your injury as often as possible.
- Talk to other people about your injury and the ways it is impacting your job.
- Keep a journal of your injury and the way it impacts your ability to work.
- Visit a medical professional regularly to have your condition assessed.
The key to a successful claim is often documentation that proves that your injury happened at work and makes clear its severity.
Common Types of Injuries Over Time and the Jobs Where They Happen
What types of job involve repetitious physical activity that causes injuries? According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine fact sheet, these injuries most commonly are seen among employees who use computer keyboards or work on assembly lines, though they can happen in virtually any line of work. Another fact sheet from the National Health Service of the U.K. also cites jobs that require employees to be in fixed positions for a long period of time.
The following are some examples of jobs where repetitive injuries occur:
- Computer programmers and office workers
- Bar code scanners at the supermarket
- Assembly line workers at a factory or warehouse
- Meat-packing workers
- Employees who pack and stock shelves at warehouses
What are some common types of repetitive motion injuries? According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine fact sheet and an informational webpage from WebMD.com, the following are examples of specific injuries and conditions caused by repetitive motions or stress:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
These injuries can manifest themselves in a variety of different ways, causing pain, stiffness, throbbing, tingling, and weakness anywhere from the wrists to elbows and from the neck to shoulders.
Lodge a Claim with Help from Our WorkCover Lawyers
If you need assistance filing a WorkCover claim, one of our experienced WorkCover lawyers can assist you. It is extremely important to file your claim properly if you have an injury caused by repetitive physical activity. One of the advocates at our law firm can help to ensure that you present the best possible case for obtaining WorkCover benefits. Contact Henry Carus + Associates today for more information about our services.