Our WorkCover accident lawyers can help you pursue benefits and other compensation if you suffered an injury on the job. WorkCover imposes strict deadlines for reporting a work-related injury or illness. Abiding by these time limits is crucial for maintaining your right to lodge a claim.
If you have been injured on the job, you owe it to yourself to speak to a WorkCover accident lawyer as soon as possible. Benefits may be underpaid and claims may be unfairly denied, and it is of the utmost importance to take steps now to protect your rights and interests.
Call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our WorkCover accident lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and throughout VIC.
When Must a Work Injury Be Reported?
For workers, the first step of lodging a WorkCover claim is reporting the injury to one’s employer. This must be done no more than 30 days after (a) the workplace injury occurs or (b) ‘the person becomes aware of the injury’ (see the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 Sect 18).
You may become aware of the injury immediately if you are hurt in a workplace accident. In this scenario, you would likely have 30 days from the date of the accident to notify your employer. Meanwhile, if you are diagnosed with a work-related injury at a later date, you would have 30 days from the date of diagnosis to report the injury.
It is in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are involved in any type of workplace accident. This ensures timely treatment of your injuries while also enabling you to promptly notify your employer of the accident.
What Happens Next?
When a worker reports an injury, employers are required to update their register of injuries. The timeframes to forward a claim to WorkSafe are legislated as follows:
- 3 business days for claims involving mental injury
- 10 calendar days for claims involving physical injury AND benefits for weekly payments, medical excess and/or disputed liability
- 120 calendar days for claims involving physical injury with no issues concerning weekly payments, medical excess or liability disputes
Some accidents (known as ‘notifiable incidents’) must be reported to WorkSafe promptly. These situations include:
- Injuries where the worker requires in-patient hospital treatment
- Medical treatment for a worker ‘within 48 hours of being exposed to a substance’
- Work accidents resulting in the following injuries:
- Loss of a limb
- Serious head injury
- Serious injury to the eye(s)
- Spinal injury
- Injuries resulting in significant loss or removal of skin
- ‘Loss of a bodily function’
- Lacerations requiring stitches and/or other medical care
- The death of a worker
If your employer has not forwarded the claim to WorkSafe, you have the option to lodge a claim yourself.
Claiming Weekly Payments
Weekly payments are a WorkCover benefit that provides partial compensation for the wages you lose while you are unable to work. This gives you essential financial support if you face limitations or are totally unable to work while recovering from a work-related injury.
Once a claim for weekly payments is lodged with WorkSafe (either by an employer or the worker directly), the WorkSafe Agent generally has 28 days to accept or reject liability. This time limit is altered to 39 days depending on when the employer forwards the Certificate of Capacity.
Ultimately, the timing of weekly payments and other benefits decisions can be difficult to anticipate. They are frequently the source of anxiety for the injured worker, for whom the wait for a decision can be interminable. Knowledgeable WorkCover accident lawyers can help you understand WorkSafe’s rules for determining liability and advocate for a timely and fair resolution of your claim at all times.
Other Time Limits to Know in a WorkCover Claim
Workers need to be aware of the various legislative time limits that apply to workers’ compensation claims in Victoria. Important time limits in your WorkCover claim include:
- 6 months: You have up to 6 months from the date of service to claim compensation for any medical and like services you paid for out of pocket.
- 2 years: Surviving family members have up to 2 years to pursue compensation for the death of a worker (see WIRCA Sect 20).
- 6 years: If you suffer what is legally defined as a ‘serious injury’ in a work-related accident caused by another, you have up to 6 years to make a claim for common law damages.
It is also important to know how much time you have to dispute an adverse WorkCover decision. You have just 60 days to dispute the denial of your WorkCover claim or underpayment of benefits. If it is determined that a Genuine Dispute exists, you have 2 years to seek referral of the matter to the Workers Compensation Independent Review Service.
How Long Does a WorkCover Claim Take?
The duration of your WorkCover claim depends on the severity of your injuries, the benefits to which you are entitled, and a host of other factors. Some claims may be resolved in as little as 4 to 6 weeks, while others can take months or even years.
It is crucial to seek experienced legal counsel if you have been injured on the job. WorkCover accident lawyers tend to handle claims involving serious injuries and substantial entitlements, making them ideally suited to maximise your compensation.
Speak to Our WorkCover Accident Lawyers Today
At Henry Carus + Associates, we believe You Deserve More. WorkCover rules can be difficult to navigate and the time limits are often strict, which is why we encourage you to speak to a member of our team as soon as possible.
Our firm has extensive experience with Victoria’s workers’ compensation and common law schemes. We can identify all of the benefits and additional compensation you deserve and fight hard for the most favourable outcome.