In Queensland, persons who have suffered a workplace injury can claim for compensation through the WorkCover Queensland and under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld). 

WorkCover Queensland (“WorkCover”)

WorkCover is the Queensland workers compensation scheme that provides benefits and compensation to persons who are injured in workplace accidents. Some larger employers have special licences to handle their own compensation claims. These employers are known as self-insurers. 

WorkCover provides a ‘no fault’ scheme whereby an employee will be entitled to receive statutory compensation if the employee is considered a ‘worker’ and sustains an injury that arises out of, or in the course of, employment.  

If a person has been injured or has aggravated an injury, or their health has been affected by their workplace, they may be entitled to compensation from WorkCover. 

The injured worker is required to report their injury to their employer and complete a WorkCover claim form. The injured worker is also required to have their doctor complete a WorkCover Medical Certificate. 

The benefits available to an injured worker through the WorkCover include weekly wages, medical expenses, lump sum payments for the injured worker’s permanent impairment, and travel expenses for medical appointments.  

Common Law Workers Compensation Claims

Common law damages are separate to the benefits available to a person through WorkCover. 

A worker may have a common law right to damages (compensation) where a duty of care has been breached by an employer, or where an employer or other person has not complied with their legal obligations, and the worker has suffered a serious injury as a result.  

Employers are required to have workers compensation insurance for employees in their workplace. This insurance scheme covers: 

     – Casual and permanent employees;  

     – Full-time and part-time employees;  

     – Self-employed workers; and 

     – People deemed to be workers.  

The types of injuries covered include: 

     – Injuries suffered at work, as a result of work or during work activities;  

     – Diseases caused by work;  

     – Pre-existing conditions or diseases aggravated by work;  

     – Injuries suffered while travelling for work;  

     – Injuries suffered while receiving medical treatment for a separate work injury; and 

     – Psychological and stress-related injuries. 

To prove negligence, the injured worker must show that:  

     – The defendant employer owed the injured worker a duty of care, meaning that the defendant employer was expected to take reasonable steps to look out for the injured worker’s safety; and  

     – The defendant employer breached this duty of care owed to the injured worker, meaning that the defendant employer either did something that caused the worker’s injury, or failed to do something that could have reasonably prevented the worker’s injury. 

If a person can prove that they have suffered a serious injury as a result of an employer’s negligence, they can be entitled to compensation for:  

     – Common law damages; 

     – Medical and hospital expenses;  

     – Loss of wages; and  

     – Rehabilitation expenses.   

Factors that may impact the amount of compensation a person may be entitled to are mainly regarding the gap between the person’s predicted life path and their new life path after suffering the injury.     

Time Limits

In regards to WorkCover claims, an injured person must notify their employer of their injury as soon as practicable. A claim for statutory compensation is generally only valid if it is lodge within six (6) months after the entitlement to compensation arises. This typically when the injury occurs.   

In Queensland, an injured worker has three (3) years from the date of injury to commence common law proceedings.  

This time limit can be extended in certain circumstances: 

     1. If it is before 6 months prior to the end of the 3-year limitation period, the insurer gives a Notice of Assessment for an injury, a proceeding may be brought: 

          a. Within 6 months after the insurer gives a Notice of Assessment; or 

          b. If within 6 months after the insurer gives the Notice of Assessment, the injured person advises the insurer they                do not agree with the degree of permanent impairment, within 6 months after a Medical Assessment Tribunal                    decides the degree of permanent impairment. 

     2. If it is before the end of the 3-year limitation period, the injured person asks the insurer to assess their degree of permanent impairment and the insurer has not yet given them a Notice of Assessment: 

         a. Within 6 months after the insurer gives the Notice of Assessment; or 

         b. As 1b above, within 6 months of a Medical Assessment Tribunal deciding the disputed degree of permanent                         impairment.  

     3. If it is before the end of the 3-year limitation period and the injured person lodged an application for compensation which became the subject of review or appeal and the application had not been accepted, a proceeding may be brought: 

         a. Within 6 months after the application for compensation is accepted; or 

         b. If, before the 3-year time limit expires an injured person asks the insurer to have their injury assessed but does                   not agree with the degree of permanent impairment, within 6 months after the Medical Assessment Tribunal                     decides the degree of permanent impairment.  

Superannuation and Disability Insurance

If a person is unable to work due to illness or injury, they may be entitled to benefits through their superannuation or other insurance policies. Contact Littles Lawyers to discuss your eligibility to make an insurance claim.  

Emily Wright and our team are specialist personal injury lawyers who can assist you with your claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. If you would like advice in relation to a personal injury claim, please reach out to Emily Wright and Littles Lawyers today. 

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