No one wants to get injured at work, but unfortunately accidents do happen from time to time. If you are unlucky enough to suffer an injury you will need to submit a form called the Workers Injury Claim Form. It is available from most HR departments, WorkSafe and the post office as well as online.
In Victoria any worker that is injured at work is entitled to statutory benefits in the form of payments to cover wages for time off work and medical expenses such as treatment or surgery.
This is recognition that if a worker is injured and requires time off work and treatment that ongoing expenses like a mortgage, car payments, children’s school fees and so on still need to be paid.
In order to fund workers compensation each business in Victoria is required to pay insurance premiums which are collected by WorkSafe to then pay injured workers as needed.
You are entitled to 95% of your wage for the first 13 weeks after your injury including shift allowances and overtime. This reduces to 80% at week 14 and after 52 weeks you are only entitled by your base wage (that is without overtime or allowances).
Depending on your job these changes can be quite large reductions. We often see shift workers such as nurses and truck drivers have their payments of compensation made a rates much lower than they are used to receiving.
For the majority of workers 130 weeks offers enough time to get medical treatment and return to work. If the nature of a worker’s injury means that they cannot return to the same job then this time allows them to be retrained in another industry, such as learning computer skills, or alternatively enough time to find work at a different employer.
Unfortunately if at 130 weeks you can work, but you haven’t gone back to work, either with your employer or a new employer, you will not be entitled to any ongoing weekly payments of compensation. You may be able to rely on Income Protection insurance or otherwise you may need to approach centrelink for benefits they can provide.
If at 130 weeks you have no capacity to work in any suitable employment and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future then you can have your weekly benefits continued indefinitely.
This is a very complex area of law and the advice of a WorkCover lawyer is important to ensure you get all that you are entitled to.