Workers Compensation is constructed to support people who have been injured at their job and are unable to continue working. Our workers compensation lawyers offer an unrivalled knowledge of WorkCover law that helps us maximise your compensation pay out.
Workers Compensation Claims Process
With more than 30 years’ experience in this area, the team at Henry Carus + Associates has seen all accident situations. One of our senior solicitors was also involved in the recent rewrite of the WorkCover legislation and is aware of its intricacies.
When it comes to WorkCover claims, we primarily see it as our job to step in and provide our expertise to dispute any improper decisions. So we’ll start by working hard to get you the workers compensation benefits you deserve.
In our experience, such early intervention leads to a range of outcomes including:
- Conciliation of an improper insurance decision
- Successful referral to the Medical Panel on medical issues
- Successful contests at the Magistrate’s Court on any benefits dispute
- Successful serious injury application to the VWA or Self-Insured Company
- Successful application to the County Court for a serious injury certificate
- Successful common law claim seeking lump sum compensation at the Supreme Court
How Our Workers Compensation Lawyers Will Help You
The main difference between the big city law firms and us is our approach. Most firms have grown up with the WorkCover legislation given to them as a set piece of legislation that they believe is set in stone and can never be reinterpreted.
Our Principal Henry Carus is an ex-trial lawyer who has previously worked for insurance companies and government agencies so he understands the intricacies of WorkCover Law and Common Law concepts and how they can be used to a client’s advantage.
As a result we have been able to take more cases to trial – and be successful – than any other similar sized firm in Victoria when it comes to workers compensation.
Types of WorkCover Benefits
Victorian workers who suffer injuries in work-related accidents may be entitled to a variety of benefits through the WorkCover program. These benefits include:
- Payment of all injury-related medical expenses, including the cost of in-home assistance if necessary
- Partial replacement of wages lost due to time away from work caused by the workplace injury. Weekly benefits typically amount to 95% of the injured person’s pre-injury wages for the first 13 weeks of work absences, and then 80% thereafter. Injured workers who are still able to perform some work while recovering may receive weekly payments that replace 80% of the difference between their pre-injury wages and what they are now able to earn
- Lump-sum payments for permanent impairment caused by the work-related injury. The permanent impairment must reach the minimum level set by the WorkCover law, and must be assessed by an independent doctor
In addition to benefits paid through the WorkCover system, you may also be able to bring a common law claim for additional compensation if someone else’s negligence contributed to the accident. A successful workers compensation claim may result in significantly more money than what is available from WorkCover. These claims require bringing a lawsuit that is a separate matter from the WorkCover claim.
Types of workers compensation that may be recovered in a common law workplace accident claim include:
Your injury must meet the law’s definition of “serious” in order to bring a common law claim. A “serious” injury is generally defined as one that results in at least a 30% impairment rating for a WorkCover lump sum payment, or one that causes at least one of the following:
- Permanent serious impairment of a bodily function
- Loss of a bodily function
- Disfigurement that is both serious and permanent
- Permanent and severe mental or behavioral disorder
- Loss of a foetus
How To Get Workers Compensation After An Injury In Melbourne
As a part of the processing of your claim, you may be required to undergo an independent medical examination, and you may be asked to provide a statement that details what happened during the accident. WorkSafe Victoria will issue a decision on your claim within 28 days.
The first step in the dispute process usually involves a senior agent reviewing the initial decision reached on the claim. If you do not receive an acceptable result at this stage, the claim may be referred to the Victorian Government’s Accident Compensation Conciliation Service. The Conciliation Service will arrange an informal meeting between you, WorkCover and sometimes your employer as well. The goal of this meeting is to facilitate an agreement about your claim.
If it is not possible to resolve your claim at conciliation, the conciliator may either declare a genuine dispute or refer your case to a Medical Panel if there is a medical question. The Medical Panel typically consists of two or three independent doctors who will review the case and provide an answer to the medical question. The Medical Panel’s decision is typically final and may not be appealed to court.
If the conciliator declares a genuine dispute rather than referring the case to the Medical Panel, you may pursue your claim in court. Most proceedings take place in the Magistrate’s Court, though some go to the County Court.
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