If you are injured at work in Victoria, you have the right to seek workers compensation for your expenses related to the injury through the WorkCover program. However, receiving compensation for your medical bills and lost wages is not automatic. You need to complete the process for seeking a WorkCover claim, which starts with notifying your employer of your injury as soon as possible and requires that you provide the company’s WorkCover insurer with necessary information about your injury and financial needs.
Part of this process is working with a general practitioner to obtain a WorkCover certificate of capacity and to develop your injury management plan.
It can also benefit you to work with an experienced injury lawyer to pursue your claim. If any disputes arise between you and the doctor or you and the insurer, your lawyer can negotiate with these parties on your behalf and ensure that your rights are protected. After you have received initial medical attention for your injury, contact an experienced lawyer at Henry Carus + Associates to start working on your WorkCover claim.
Why You Need to Visit a Practitioner
In order to pursue a WorkCover claim, you need to work with a nominated treating doctor (NTD), which is a general practitioner for WorkCover. Usually, this is your normal general practitioner. Your practitioner can evaluate your injury to determine the right course of treatment for you.
At your appointment with the general practitioner, ask him or her about how you can give yourself a better chance of making a quick, full recovery and be sure to tell him or her the following:
- The last day you worked
- Every detail you can recall about the accident
- Any other relevant information to your injury or recovery, such as previous similar injuries you have suffered
In order to receive compensation from WorkCover, you will need to obtain a medical certificate from the doctor. This is known as a certificate of capacity. This certificate is critical to your claim. It notifies both your employer and its insurer of the nature of your injury, your prognosis, the treatment you require, and your capacity for employment.
You could be cleared to perform certain job tasks while you recover. As an injured worker, it is your responsibility to do all that you can to help yourself return to work in a timely manner. Part of this is following your doctor’s instructions completely. If your doctor tells you to avoid lifting objects over a certain weight, do not lift objects over that weight. If your doctor tells you to take certain medications or undergo physical therapy, follow these instructions and get the treatment you need.
The Role of the Practitioner with WorkCover
Your practitioner is the liaison between you, your employer, and your employer’s insurer. He or she is authorised to provide certain pieces of relevant information to these parties, such as the extent of your injury and the type of treatment you require. Your general practitioner is also in charge of your injury management plan.
You will need to return to your general practitioner every two weeks to have your certificate of capacity updated. He or she can backdate your certificates up to 90 days.
If the practitioner does not think you are injured or claims that you are less injured than you actually are, you could have a difficult time getting the money you need or find yourself having to perform work duties that you are not physically capable of performing. This is why it is important that you bring evidence to back up your claim, such as photographs of the accident scene, written testimony from others who witnessed it, and any other documentation you can provide, such as journal entries detailing your pain or a copy of the report you gave to your supervisor.
If you are still told that you are not really injured, ask for written documentation that you are not injured or that you are capable of performing a certain level of physical work. Discuss this documentation with your lawyer and consider going to another general practitioner to get a second opinion. If you truly are suffering from an injury, you should not have to perform manual labour and potentially make the injury worse.
Our Advice for When You Go
Before you go to the doctor for your initial examination, determine exactly what you are going to say about your accident. The more details, the better, but it can be difficult to remember them all and you can potentially forget a few, only to remember them after leaving the doctor’s office.
It might help you to write down your clear, detailed recollection of your accident on a sheet of paper and bring it to the doctor. Even if your recollection is a checklist of point-by- point details, this can help you immensely.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. You have probably never faced this type of injury before and as the victim, you have the right to know as much as you can about the injury, your recovery timeline, and any potential issues you can face like infections or allergies to the medication you are prescribed. Bring up any concerns you have about managing your pain, staying active while you recover, and any health problems you have that can potentially impede your recovery.
We Can Help You Before You Go
If you are suffering from an injury at work, you need to visit a qualified practitioner in order to proceed with your WorkCover claim. But disputes can arise regarding your claim and sometimes, you can find yourself facing a compensation offer that is much lower than the amount of money you need for your expenses following an injury.
For guidance and legal representation as you work to get the money you need, contact our team of Melbourne workers compensation lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates. We can advocate for you to help you receive the amount of money you deserve.