Workplace Injury Claims Guide.
Although it’s a situation you never want to find yourself in, around 90,000 Australians are injured at work every year*. Nobody plans on getting injured, so it isn’t always easy to know what to do next. Many people are unaware of all the compensation they may be entitled to, making a claim can be a complicated process, and claims are often denied.
For injuries and illnesses caused by work, all Australians are protected under a no-fault workers compensation policy. Regardless of the kind of injury, if you’re injured on the job then you’re likely eligible to make a workplace injury claim which can help you cover lost wages, medical bills, fund your rehabilitation, and even provide a lump sum payment.
*According to SIRA data, iCare, NSW Government
What is a workplace injury?
A workplace injury is any harm you experience while you’re on the job. This means anything from a torn rotator cuff caused by repeated strain of lifting heavy materials, to a concussion received after slipping over in the break room. It also covers general wear and tear that builds up over time and may leave you susceptible to further injury. If you’re on your employer’s property or completing a task for work (like if you’re involved in a car accident while driving a company car to see a client) then it’s considered a workplace injury. You’re even covered if you’re working from home.
Workplace injuries aren’t always physical. Exposure to harassment, bullying or undue stress can also result in a psychological injury. Whatever the injury, the impacts can be overwhelming and sudden. In many cases you might be unable to work while you recover, or unable to do the job you’re trained for. This can cause financial hardship or companion injuries like depression, anxiety, or strain on other parts of your body while overcompensating for the injury. On top of this, pain and stress can build up and make the situation feel out of control very quickly.
Workplace Injury Claims
What are the most common work injuries?
Some types of injury are more common than others, like slips, trips, falls, and strains. It’s important that your workplace has all the appropriate safety measures in place to protect their workers, and some industries have more workplace injuries than others, like trades, technicians, and laborers. People who work in jobs that involve physical labour tend to be more at risk of injury, but poorly set-up workstations or inappropriate equipment in other settings can be just as bad. The most common workplace injury claims in NSW* are about hands, shoulders, legs, feet, hips, and back, as they’re usually the parts of the body being used most. Other common workplace injury claims include cuts and burns, issues arising from manual handling work, and repetitive strain damages.
Can I claim on mental health or psychological injury?
You can claim workers compensation for your mental health or psychological injury. These types of injuries can occur from workplace stress, bullying and harassment, job instability, or even working night shifts. They can have just as much impact on your life and overall health as any other type of injury.
Most workplace injury claims relate to physical injuries, though psychological injuries like depression, anxiety, and PTSD are less likely to be reported**. Workers are less likely to seek treatment or compensation for mental health struggles than other injuries which makes it difficult to determine the true extent of how many Australians experience psychological injuries.
For a psychological injury claim to be successful there must be proof that it was caused specifically by your employment, or that it came about as a secondary injury because of a physical injury sustained at work. You can get a statement or a certificate of capacity from your treating GP or psychologist.
**iCare, NSW Government
Do I qualify for a workplace injury claim?
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for a workplace injury claim, then these questions will give you some clarity. Ask yourself:
- Am I in pain/injured/unable to work because of something that happened at work?
- Was my employer negligent in their responsibility to keep me safe (not providing training, no appropriate safety gear, incorrect staffing ratios)?
- Have I had to take time off work or spend money to see a doctor or specialist because of an injury that happened at work?
- Am I unable to do things that I used to do because of something that happened at work?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you’re probably eligible to make a workers compensation claim. If you’re still not sure, or would like some advice, the quickest way to find out is to contact a specialist personal injury lawyer.
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What about if I get injured while working from home?
Working from home has increased significantly in the last few years, and there has been a rise in injuries resulting from that. Especially common are arm, neck, shoulder, and back injuries caused by workstations that are incorrectly set up. There is also an increased risk of repetitive strain for muscles and eyes.
If you’re injured while working from home then you’re still protected and able to make a claim because at the end of the day, it’s still work. It’s important to notify your employer of what’s going on and seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible.
How long does it take to settle a workplace injury claim?
It can take up to two years to settle a workplace injury claim. Claims are often denied due to lacking information or applications that aren’t thorough enough. A specialised workers compensation lawyer can help you settle your claim more quickly with the benefits of experience, avoiding disputes, and knowledge of how to be best prepared.
After submitting a compensation claim because you were injured at work, the insurer has 14 days to notify you whether:
- Your claim has been accepted
- There’s not enough information to decide and they need more time
- Your claim is denied
If the claim is accepted, then you should start receiving payments straight away. Unfortunately, the process is not always straightforward. If your insurer denies the claim, it isn’t the end of the road. Contact a personal injury law firm for the best support in making a successful workers compensation claim.
Workplace Claim Payouts
How much can I claim from a workplace injury?
A workplace injury payout can cover up to 95% of your lost wages, all your medical bills, and even a lump sum payment. The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed in April and October annually. The maximum amount from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 is $2,341.80.
There are two types of lump sum payments you may be eligible for. The first consideration is Whole Person Impairment (WPI). A doctor will determine your level of WPI, and if it’s more than 11% for physical injuries, or 15% for psychological injuries, then you may be able to access a WPI payment as compensation. This type of payment could range up to $637,290 if your injury occurred before July 1, 2022, or $665,260 if you were injured after that date. For a better understanding of the scale and entitlements, see the below table, or our WPI compensation calculator and guide.
|Degree of permanent impairment||Compensation range|
|0 – 10%||$0|
|11% – 20%||$22,480 – $53,970|
|21% – 30%||$51,880 – $86,370|
|31% – 40%||$83,040 – $139,760|
|41% – 50%||$131,440 – $193,160|
|51% – 60%||$242,010 – $341,270|
|61% – 70%||$376,030 – $489,280|
|71% – 74%||$510,040 – 563,270|
|75% – 100%||$577,050 – $637,290|
If your WPI is 15% or more, then you can access a Work Injury Damages (WID) payment. This is for when your employer has been negligent in some way, like if they could have prevented or minimised the injury but didn’t. This type of payment is uncapped and will be dependent on your individual situation, and you don’t have to do it alone. For a more personal appraisal, contact us for a free consultation.
So, you’ve been injured at work – here’s what you need to do:
There are some steps that will give you the best chance at a successful claim after a workplace injury.
- Seek medical treatment immediately
Access the most suitable medical treatment from on-site first aid, a doctor, or an ambulance if necessary. The most important thing is to treat the injury as quickly as possible to reduce the potential harm.
- Report the injury
If you’re able, let your supervising manager or employer know as soon as possible after an injury occurs. If something happens on site, like a cut or burn, then tell the person you’re reporting to immediately. If the injury is something that has built up over time, like a repetitive strain injury, report it from the first day you miss work because of it.
- Have your injuries assessed by a doctor
For a workplace injury claim you will need to see a doctor for a certificate of capacity, which should explain the extent of your injuries and whether you’re capable of working.
- Record everything
Make notes about what is happening, you never know when it will come in handy! Keep any emails you send, write down when you had a phone call and what was discussed, and keep track of your pain and the impact it has on you.
These are the basics, but for more information see Injured at work? Everything you need to know about a workers compensation claim.
If you’re unsure about what your first step should be, you can contact Law Partners for free, expert claims advice, without committing to anything. Contact us on 13 15 15 or chat with us today.
If you’re injured at work your number one priority is always recovery. Often factors outside your control can impact that recovery, so making a workers compensation claim for a physical or psychological injury can give you the financial security you need to get started. You don’t have to do it alone. You can contact us for free claims advice from a lawyer who specializes in cases just like yours.
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