The workers compensation rights you need to know about.
They say knowledge is power, and when it comes to workers compensation, that’s most certainly the case.
In almost every facet of life, the better your understanding or the more you know about a situation, the more likely you are to make the right decisions that best suit you.
But for injured workers going through the process of making a workers compensation claim – that’s often easier said than done.
Yes, feeling vulnerable is certainly not an unusual feeling when making a workers compensation claim, but to make things a little clearer, here are few basic rights and entitlements all injured workers should know when making a claim.
You’re entitled to choose your own doctor
Throughout the workers compensation process, an injured worker’s relationship with their doctor is extremely important. Quite often insurance companies will recommend a WorkCover approved treating doctor, but by no means are you required to go with that recommendation.
You can choose your own doctor, and it’s often a good idea to do so as it can eliminate any concerns you may have that a doctor selected by your insurer or employer may have a bias against you or may be making recommendations other than in your best interest.
Choosing a doctor you’re familiar with, such as a family GP, can be helpful as they already know your medical history and will more than likely continue to treat you post-injury.
Your employer is obliged to provide you with suitable duties
It’s extremely important for you to know that the ball is in the employer’s court if your doctor has cleared you to return to work with certain restrictions. Your employer must provide you with suitable duties, and if they don’t, they need to officially demonstrate to you and the insurer exactly why not.
During this process, the employer needs to show you who they consulted with to come to this decision, what’s restricting them from providing you with suitable work and that they actively reached out for help with providing these duties from the insurer or a rehabilitation provider.
The rehabilitation provider will likely carry out a workplace assessment to highlight how, if possible, your employer could accommodate your suitable duties. You and your doctor have a right to be involved in this process.
You can select your own rehabilitation provider
Returning to work after a workplace injury can be an emotional time for many people. You may be excited to return to work but also anxious about your physical capacity and whether or not you may be viewed differently by your work colleagues. These mixed feelings are very normal.
As you now know, your employer needs to do everything possible to ease your transition back to work, and this includes arranging a treatment plan with a workplace rehabilitation provider. Generally the rehab provider is selected for you by the insurer, however just like your doctor, if you don’t feel comfortable with the selected provider, you have the right to replace them with your own preferred provider, given they’re WorkCover approved.