Everyone has the right to go to work each day, knowing they’ll come home safely. If you’ve been injured or become ill at work you may be entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation to cover lost wages, medical and rehabilitation costs, retraining expenses or a lump sum payment for permanent injuries. 

There have been a lot of changes to arrangements in NSW for seeking workers’ compensation in recent years. You could be forgiven for being a little confused about where to start. After all, workers’ compensation laws and entitlements are already a little hard to keep up with because they vary between states and territories and may be known as WorkCover, CTP or WorkSafe. Compensation and benefits can vary greatly depending on your injury and on the law you’re covered by. 

If you’ve been injured at work in NSW, Littles has you covered. This blog answers your FAQs about what your rights are when you return to work after an injury.  

Read more here: 

I’ve been injured at work in NSW. What are my employer’s obligations to provide suitable duties on my return – Littles

Your NSW workers’ compensation FAQs – Part 1 – Littles

Your NSW workers’ compensation FAQs – Part 2 – Littles

If you’re recovering after being injured at work, you know that this can be a stressful, anxious time for you and your family. Worrying about how and when you’ll return to work, and the support that you’ll receive, can exacerbate things further. 

1. Who is my nominated treating doctor?

Your nominated treating doctor is the medical practitioner you nominate to manage your recovery from injury and to assist in your safe recovery at/return to work. This is normally your GP. However, we know not everyone sees the same GP regularly. What’s important is that it is a medical practitioner whom you have a trusting relationship with, and to whom you can speak honestly and openly about your injury and return to work. Your nominated treating doctor will complete your Certificate of Capacity for the insurer. 

In the same vein, if you have suffered a psychiatric injury, your nominated treating doctor may be your treating psychiatrist. 

2. I’ve heard I need a Certificate of Capacity to return to work?

That’s correct. The Certificate of Capacity is intended to

  • confirm your nominated treating doctor’s view that your injury is work related
  • tell the insurer what treatment is required, and
  • tell the insurer what your capacity for work is.

Even if you are fit for full-time work, the certificate still tells the insurer what treatment you need, and any restrictions which apply to your capacity for work.

IMPORTANT: If you think your nominated treating doctor may not understand the requirements of your specific job, you should ask your employer for a job description, or at minimum, write down all of your duties at work, and give it to your doctor. This will give your doctor a much better understanding of your ‘pre-injury duties’ so that you can work with them, your employer and the insurer to ensure you can return to work safely. 

Read more here: 

Help! I’m an injured worker in NSW and my weekly payments have been ceased – Littles

3. What does ‘pre-injury duties’ mean?

If you are described as being fit for ‘pre-injury duties’, that means that you are able to return to your job as you performed it before your injury without any restrictions. If and when this occurs, your nominated treating doctor will be required to indicate that this is the case on the Certificate of Capacity.  

Just because you are able to return to work, or even work the same number of hours that you were working before you suffered your workplace injury does not mean that you are fit for pre-injury duties. If you have been injured at work, you should be supported to return to work in a safe manner. This process should not be rushed. 

For example: 

James is a construction worker who suffered an injury to his left knee while working on site. James underwent surgery, as well as a number of other treatments. His nominated treating doctor advised that his injury has stablised, and that he can return to work on the basis that he only works 25 hours per week, and does not do any heavy lifting. These restrictions will be permanent. James’ doctor completes James’ Certificate of Capacity accordingly, indicating the restrictions that James will need to work under. As a result, James continues to receive workers’ compensation payments from his employer’s insurer. 

4. What happens if my Certificate of Capacity lapses?

Long story short – don’t let you Certificate of Capacity lapse. 

The Certificate of Capacity tells the insurer what your capacity for work is over a relevant period. The insurer will then pay your weekly benefit accordingly. Certificates of Capacity typically cover a period of 28 days, although if you have a chronic, long term injury, your insurer may agree that your doctor can provide a certificate at longer intervals of up to twelve months. 

If you don’t provide the insurer with a Certificate of Capacity, the insurer will not pay your workers’ compensation benefits. The simplest and easiest way to avoid this is to book a doctor’s  appointment for the day before your certificate is due to lapse, and then send it straight on to the insurer. 

5. What is the role of the rehabilitation adviser?

A rehabilitation adviser is entitled to attend ‘case conferences’, which are intended to provide a forum for you, your treating medical practitioners, the rehabilitation adviser and the insurer to discuss your claim and support your recovery and return to work. Your rehabilitation advisor is not entitled to attend any other medical appointments or consultations.  

Read more here: 

NSW workers’ compensation claims: What’s an independent medical examination (IME) – Littles

Help! My NSW workers’ compensation claim has been rejected. What do I do? – Littles

Don’t delay – seek advice now

Clearly, the workers’ compensation system can be complex, which is why it helps to seek quality legal advice as soon as possible. At Littles, we are experts in workplace injuries, and can help manage the process to ensure that you receive all appropriate entitlements and support. With Littles on your side, we can ensure that you get the fair treatment you deserve.  

If your workers’ compensation claim has been rejected, or you would like to understand how to claim benefits to support you and your family while you are injured or ill, please get in touch for a no-obligation chat. 

IMPORTANT: There are strict time limits for making and disputing a claim, so take advantage of our FREE initial consultation and get in touch. You have nothing to lose by speaking to one of our compensation law experts. The sooner we determine your eligibility to make or appeal a claim, the sooner we can help you to obtain or continue getting funding from the insurer so your rehabilitation can proceed smoothly. 

Free advice and no upfront fees

Not only do we offer a FREE initial consultation we handle most insurance claims on a no win, no fee basis.  

The Head of our NSW team, Jessica Cheung, is an expert in NSW workers’ compensation claims. If you think you might have a claim, reach out to Jessica and her team for high quality legal advice

Please note that this information is intended to provide general guidance only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your individual circumstances. For further information, please contact Littles.

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