MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT

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1 MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT

2 02 MAURICE BLACKBURN YOU RE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. If you are hurt, injured, or are facing an unfair situation, you and your family shouldn t have to suffer. That s why we never stand back when bad things happen to good people. At Maurice Blackburn we believe that the law should serve everyone. Who you are or where you re from, it doesn t matter. You re worth fighting for. Maurice Blackburn was born from one man s belief in making a difference to people s lives. Nearly 100 years on these values remain a powerful influence on everything we do. We exist to fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to. Because at Maurice Blackburn, we fight for fair.

3 03 WORKERS COMPENSATION Workers Compensation is a complicated area of the law and it is important to get advice about making a claim. What injuries or illnesses are covered? Workers Compensation can be claimed for an injury that arises out of, or in the course of, employment. Employment must also be a significant contributing factor in cases of: recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any preexisting injury disease, heart attack injury or stroke injury, or disease contracted in the course of employment. These diseases may include asthma, cancers and arthritis. What injuries, suffered while travelling, are covered? Injuries suffered while travelling for work are covered by Workers Compensation. For example, a truck courier who is injured while travelling between deliveries is covered. Injuries suffered while travelling to or from work, a trade school, an education course, a medical appointment or a rehabilitation course are also covered by Workers Compensation. These injuries may result in a separate entitlement to damages if they arise from the negligence of another motorist within the ACT. If you need advice about whether an injury is compensable, contact Maurice Blackburn. How can I claim compensation? If you suffer an injury at work, you: must notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible, either by advising them or by completing the employee injury register notification form which should be provided to your employer should report any injury, even if treatment is not required immediately, as it will help your claim should the injury worsen should keep a copy of your injury notification form must complete a Workers Compensation claim form if medical treatment or time off work is needed the claim should be made as soon as practical, and, wherever possible, while you are still employed should consult a doctor who can provide an initial Workers Compensation medical certificate, if you need time off work (if you are only claiming medical expenses, you do not need a Workers Compensation medical certificate) must give your employer your Workers Compensation claim form and a Workers Compensation medical certificate (if time off work is claimed) should keep a copy of all documents and record the date they are delivered to your employer (the claim form must be signed and dated by your employer), and you should send a copy of the claim to the Workers Compensation Insurer.

4 04 MAURICE BLACKBURN Claim forms are available from employers, insurers and Maurice Blackburn offices. You may use accrued leave or claim eligible Centrelink benefits while you wait for your claim to be decided. If the claim is accepted, you must reinstate accrued leave and repay Centrelink as appropriate. The claims process The Workers Compensation Insurer: has 28 days, from the date of receiving the claim form, to accept or reject the claim is considered to have accepted the claim for weekly payments, if a decision in writing is not provided within 28 days of its receipt of the claim is considered to accept a claim for medical and like expenses, if it does not reject the claim within 28 days may send an insurance investigator to interview you (but if you think there may be a dispute regarding the claim you should get legal advice first) will request, in most cases, that you attend one or more medical examinations (you must not unreasonably refuse to attend these examinations, or the insurer may refuse compensation or suspend payments) should notify you of a decision to accept, reject, reduce or terminate benefits; or a decision to refuse medical treatment including surgery (in many cases, you should dispute these decisions), and should take all reasonable steps to give you the information you request. What if there is a dispute? If the Workers Compensation Insurer denies liability for compensation, you may commence proceedings in the ACT Magistrates Court. You should contact Maurice Blackburn for an opinion about commencing proceedings before the ACT Magistrates Court. Definitions Workers Weekly earnings Injury Can include casuals, labour hire workers, trainers, workers from home but does not include Commonwealth or ACT government employees, or an employee of a company licensed to operate under the Comcare scheme*. Your compensation payments are based on average pre-injury weekly earnings including regular overtime and allowances over the 12 months prior to injury. Includes a physical or mental injury and includes the aggravation, acceleration or recurrence of a pre-existing injury but with certain restrictions on claims for mental injury. *Consult our Comcare specialist if your claim falls under the Comcare scheme

5 05 WORKERS COMPENSATION Your responsibilities Your right to compensation depends on you participating in rehabilitation, making every reasonable effort to return to work, attending medical and vocational assessments, and/or making every reasonable effort to obtain suitable alternative work. The employer s responsibilities The employer is responsible for establishing an occupational rehabilitation program and a return to work plan. This plan should be in writing and include the date of commencement, the details of the offer of employment, the appropriate steps to enable a return to work, and any occupational rehabilitation service necessary to maintain the return to work. Benefits The basic entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act are for weekly payments and payment of medical and like expenses. The level and nature of benefits depend on the date of injury and the classification of your capacity. Weekly payments The level of weekly payments is based on your pre-injury average weekly earnings. These are calculated by looking at your average weekly rate of pay over the 12 months prior to injury, including regular, overtime and shift allowances. After the first 26 weeks of incapacity, should you remain fully incapacitated, you will be entitled to a maximum of 65% of your preinjury weekly rate of pay. You should not accept or reject a return to work plan without first consulting your treating doctor. An unreasonable refusal of a job offer may result in the termination of benefits. An employer is obliged to re-employ an injured worker in an equivalent job or suitable employment within six months from the date of injury, provided you are substantially fit for your pre-injury duties. Suitable employment is employment for which you are currently suited, given your age, education, skills, work experience, place of residence, pre-injury employment and incapacity. Maurice Blackburn exist to fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to.

6 06 MAURICE BLACKBURN Weekly payment Partial incapacity for work Total incapacity for work 0-26 weeks from the date of injury 100% of the average weekly pre-injury rate of pay. 100% of the average weekly pre-injury rate of pay. After 26 weeks from the date of injury Between 65% and 100% of the average pre-injury rate of pay depending upon the workers actual or notional capacity for work 65% of the average pre-injury rate of pay. Medical expenses You are entitled to treatment from a doctor of your choice and do not have to be treated by the employer s doctor. The Workers Compensation Insurer pays: reasonable costs of medical treatment including cost of medication occupational rehabilitation (provided by an approved rehabilitation provider) ambulance services, and travel expenses for attending medical treatment, rehabilitation and examinations arranged by the Workers Compensation Insurer. If you require surgery or hospitalisation, your treating practitioner must make the request in writing. The Workers Compensation Insurer should respond within a reasonable period and may require an examination by a doctor of its choice, to determine liability. If you have not received a response within 28 days, contact Maurice Blackburn. You can attend medical treatment during work hours. However, where possible, this should be by agreement with the employer as it may be considered unreasonable to attend medical treatment during working hours if other arrangements are possible. When claiming medical and like expenses, you should submit the details in writing to the Workers Compensation Insurer and keep copies of the documents.

7 07 WORKERS COMPENSATION Lump sum claims If you suffer a permanent impairment arising from injuries sustained during work you are entitled to claim a lump sum under Section 51 of the Workers Compensation Act, as well as any weekly payments, and medical and like expenses. The maximum lump sum for permanent impairment is $133,187.62*. An entitlement to impairment is measured by assessing the loss of efficient use of the part(s) of the body affected. You cannot lodge a claim within two years unless the injury is stabilised or without leave of the court. *Single Loss Amount Payable as at December 2012 Common law negligence claims You can make a common law claim for damages against an employer or third party, providing you can prove negligence or fault of another party. You only have three years from the date of injury to claim common law damages. This is a complex area of the law, and you should consult Maurice Blackburn early to protect your rights. In a common law claim, depending on the nature of your injury, you are typically entitled to: general damages (compensation for pain and suffering) past economic loss (net past loss of earnings, interest and superannuation) future economic loss (an amount determined on an actuarial basis) past medical expenses future medical expenses, and I can t speak highly enough about the service that was provided to me, everyone was very professional, understanding, and made me feel like I was your only client. Workers Compensation Client past and future domestic care and assistance. During many of the stages of a common law claim, your rights may be affected by the decisions made. Contact Maurice Blackburn for advice.

8 08 MAURICE BLACKBURN Death claims If you die while working, your dependants can claim compensation. Anyone may be classified as a dependant, provided they can show that: they were wholly, mainly or partially dependent on your earnings, or would have been dependent but for your injury. Children are considered dependent when they are under the age of 16 or if they are a full-time student under the age of 25. Dependants can claim a share of a maximum lump sum of $199,781.46*, in addition to weekly pensions. *As at December Indexed quarterly In two recent workers compensation cases, we secured our clients over seven times the initial settlement offer. John Salanitri Workers Compensation Principal

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10 10 MAURICE BLACKBURN The weekly pensions may be paid fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or annually, as determined by the Workers Compensation Insurer. In some cases, the weekly pension payments may preclude recipients from any social security benefits. Any payments to dependants must be approved by the ACT Magistrates Court. If you die due to your employer s negligence, your dependants may have a right to claim damages from your employer to compensate for the loss of income that you would otherwise have provided to them. It is important that the dependants of a deceased worker get legal advice. Contact Maurice Blackburn for assistance with making a death claim. Protecting your rights is our business At Maurice Blackburn, we are committed to getting a fair outcome for our clients so you can get on with your life without disadvantage. Our expert Workers Compensation lawyers provide a free first consultation and will fight to ensure you receive the best possible outcome, because we recognise that the compensation you receive is vital to ensuring quality of life for you and your family. If you would like to make an appointment, please call From the very beginning, we fought for the rights of ordinary people. We continue this tradition today. Maurice Blackburn and costs Maurice Blackburn works on a No win No charge basis, subject to certain conditions. We provide free telephone advice to workers and your first consultation is free. Generally, should your claim proceed to either the Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court on our recommendation, and be unsuccessful, we will not charge you for our professional services.

11 CONTACT US If you are considering legal action or want to fight for your rights, get in touch and we can assess what you need or arrange for a meeting with one of our lawyers. For most practice areas, your first consultation is free (business hours) mauriceblackburn.com.au Workers Compensation Road Accident Injuries Medical Negligence Asbestos Diseases Superannuation & Disability Insurance Public Liability Faulty Products Comcare Will Disputes Employment & Industrial Law Class Actions Social Justice Feel free to drop into our Canberra office: Canberra (02) Melbourne Building 82 Alinga Street Canberra ACT 2601 Visiting offices Call us or visit the website for more details: Fyshwick

12 Maurice Blackburn is a leading Australian law firm certified to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Information correct at 1 April This brochure is a general guide to dealing with WorkCover claims and is not a substitute for professional advice in this area. Maurice Blackburn is proud to be carbon neutral (see our website for details). This brochure is printed on ecostar Silk. Made with 100% certified post consumer waste fibre, it is produced with a carbon neutral manufacturing process and has been made in a facility that operates under the ISO Environmental Management System. MB4184_ACTWC 05/14

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