Figures published in January 2020 on Australian Workers Compensation statistics (Source: safeworkaustralia.gov.au Serious Injury report 2017-18) show that over 107,000 serious claims were submitted due to injury in the workplace. A quarter of these were due to slips, trips and falls but two thirds due to body stressing and the remaining incidents were workers being hit by moving objects. The incidence rate of serious claims per 1000 employees was 9.1, with a higher frequency rate amongst men. It is important to clarify what you need to know if you ever had to make a claim and to understand the help that legal services in Adelaide can provide.
Injury in the workplace that was not of your making, can not only be painful and debilitating, but cause loss of income, increased medical and rehab bills, interrupt career progressions and put a strain on all aspects of home and family life. Making a successful claim will go a long way towards supporting you to return life before the accident, so let’s start with looking at the key facts you need to know.
Report the incident
If you are able to do so, report the incident to your employer or if the injury means you are not in a position to do this, make sure the First Aider or safety representative in the workplace has done so. Make a note of the conditions of the work area, for example, if you were involved in a slip, trip or fall, was the floor uneven, slippery due to lubricant or other substance leaking from nearby equipment? Was the lighting sufficient for you to see where you were going? Had you been given training and instruction in the procedure that caused the injury? Keep a record of any First Aid treatment and reports completed at the scene of the incident, as this is important when discussing your claim with your legal services.
Make an appointment with your GP as soon as the injury occurs
This is crucial, as part of making a worker’s compensation will require information from your doctor. So, give as much detail to your GP because they will note what has occurred and log this on your medical history report. Even if the details seem to be insignificant to you, let your doctor know and give an accurate report of what happened. If it was severe enough to render you unconscious, get witness accounts of what happened, your doctor will be able to sign you off sick from work and you need to keep copies of all sick notes to pass onto your solicitor.
Take legal advice
Don’t sign or agree to anything from the employer until you have sought legal advice – this includes signing any statements or reports from WorkCover investigators until you have check this out with a solicitor who is experienced in cases of workplace injury. And remember that you needn’t feel worried about making a claim, employers have to have insurance to cover just such incidents.
When choosing a legal firm to support your claim, ensure they are well versed in compensation cases in the state or territory in which your employment is based. You will need to retain all medical records, notes of the incident, any costs associated from medical treatment, aftercare, car hire to and from the hospital, physiotherapy or osteopathy costs etc. These should be passed onto your legal firm to help support your claim.
Don’t worry about making a claim
It is only natural to be concerned that if you are making a compensation claim, this might go against you with your employer or that you may lose your job. Any monies paid out due to compensation comes from the insurance company who represent your employer. You are entitled to make a claim if the injury you have suffered occurs in the workplace and any harassment or discrimination you are subject to should also be reported to a solicitor. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself, follow the doctors/hospital advice and treatment and take the time to heal.
Don’t delay making a claim
Basically, if you have had to have time off or had to pay out for medical costs then you are entitled to submit a claim. The usual process is you have to see an independent GP contracted on behalf of the insurance company. They provide their medical opinion and a report to the insurers and/employer. Your legal adviser will also be able to advise if you are entitled to other rights to more substantial compensation. This can be compensation for pain, for permanent loss of income, or disability benefits.
Know your rights and seek the services of the professionals if you are ever unfortunate to find yourself in this position – legal services are there to give a helping hand.