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Workers Compensation

Connor Legal has specialized in worker’s compensation claims for workers in Western Australia. Contact us and find out how to claim workers compensation in Western Australia.

Workers compensation in Western Australia is a “no-fault” system of compensation for work-related injuries. It is governed by the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and administered by a government agency, WorkCover WA. If you suffer a work place injury, you are entitled to:

  • weekly payments of compensation;
  • reasonable medical expenses and rehabilitation expenses;
  • a lump-sum payment; and,
  • reasonable travel expenses.

You have these entitlements regardless of whose fault your injury was, as long as you were a worker when you had your accident.

You Need a Lawyer

Most workers who suffer more than trifling injuries at work, find workers compensation far from generous and frustratingly complex. There is potential for dispute at every stage of a workers’ compensation claim. Dan Connor has been dealing with these claims for more than 25 years, and he has handled workers’ compensation cases involving the following questions:

  • Am I a worker? In Western Australia, only “workers” as defined in the Act are eligible to claim. It is not always obvious whether someone is a employee or not, the answer may not be straightforward. Even the courts sometimes have difficulty in figuring it out. These questions can also involve journey claims, and whether a sub-contractor is a “worker” under the Act. These questions are complicated, and just because an Insurance Company says you are not covered, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim;
  • How do I make a workers compensation claim? In Western Australia, making a claim is fairly easy. Just fill out a Claim Form, and give it to your employer, with a First Medical Certificate from your doctor. Make sure you keep a copy of your claim form and medical certificate.
  • Am I too late to make a claim? There are all sorts of time limits for making workers’ compensation claims in WA. Some of these limits can be extended and some are fatal to a claim. Don’t rely on your boss’s insurance company to tell you if your claim is too late – phone Connor Legal to find out. We have been successful with claims filed years out of time;
  • How much is my lump-sum worth?  Not all injuries attract a lump sum. Only certain permanent injuries (impairments) are eligable for the lump-sum, and your injury needs to be assessed by an Approved Medical Specialist as being a permanent impairment as mentioned in Schedule 2 of the Act;
  • How do I settle my Claim? Negotiating settlement of your claim is no easy task. How much is your claim worth? Are your entitled to a lump-sum payment? Do you have to settle your claim? Can you claim more than a Second Schedule Payment? Can you negotiate a higher offer? All these questions need legal knowledge and experience to answer. Don’t try it yourself. If you sign a settlement, it’s usually too late to get advice if you change your mind. Get the right advise from Dan Connor before you sign;
  • What is a Section 61 Notice? If you receive one of these notices, your employer’s insurer is trying to stop your weekly comp payments. This doesn’t mean your claim is over, if you want to challenge the s61 notice phone us right away, you only have limited time. Find out how to challenge a s61 notice.
  • What Medical Expenses can I claim? Workers’ Compensation insurers tell workers what treatment they can and can’t have. But a worker is entitled to reasonable medical expenses under clause 17 of the Act, and it’s not up to insurers to say what reasonable treatment is. If an insurer knocks back your surgeon’s request for funding for an operation, call us to find how to make the insurer to pay.
  • What is a Section 93O Notice?  Under this section the employer is required to notify the worker in writing about the Common Law “Termination Day” and the significance of the termination day for the worker’s ability to seek damages via a common law claim against the worker’s employer. So, what is the Termination day? We have found that this notice confuses workers more than it explains the law in this area. Unfortunately if you don’t act on the s93O Notice in time you stand every chance of losing your common law damages claim. You definitely need advice on what to do about the temination day. Ring us up and find out how to arrange a medical appointment to assess your WPI.
  • Weekly Payments. Insurers can miscalculate you rate of weekly payment while you are on compensation. Calculation of the right rate under Clause 11(3) or 11(4) of the Act can be difficult and open to interpretation. If you believe that you weekly payment is too low contact Connor Legal to find out how to calculate your weekly payment.
  • What is the Termination Day? The termination day is the date at which you cease to be eligible to make a claim for common law damages. The termination day generally falls one year from the date your claim for weekly compensation payments was made to your employer, however there are exceptions.

No matter how good your claim is or how much it is worth, you will face difficult opposition and you will need a lawyer to support you through your claim. Why? Insurance companies deal with cases like yours all the time. They have knowledge and experience. This is likely your first and only claim. Level the playing field by knowing as much about the system as they do. Phone Connor Legal to find out your rights and entitlements.

Making Common Law Claims

In addition to settlements available in the workers’ compensation system, workers who have sustained at least a 15% permanent whole of person impairment may be eligible to pursue a common law claim against their employer. This area of law is a minefield for injured workers. In general, the compensation obtainable in a common law claim is far more extensive that in a workers compensation claim and can include additional compensation, such as:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering;
  • Compensation for future loss of income;
  • Future medical expenses;
  • Home or nursing help given to you by your friends and family;

However, there are a number of catches to pursuing a common law claim. First, unlike the “no fault” workers’ compensation system, to succeed in their claim a worker needs to prove that their workplace injury was caused by negligence or other fault of their employer. Call us and find out how to make a common law claim in Western Australia.

Second, there are additional legal requirements that need to be met in order to pursue a claim at common law:

Impairment: A worker choosing to pursue a claim for common law damages against their employer must have a level of permanent “Whole Person Impairment” of not less than 15%. The impairment must be assessed by a WorkCover “Approved Medical Specialist”.

Negligence: Workers must prove that their workplace injury was caused by negligence or other fault of their employer.

Timeframes: Timeframes, also known as ‘the termination day’ apply for a worker seeking access to common law damages. If you are eligible to seek common law damages, you must advise of your intention to do so within strict time frames by lodging an Election to Retain Right to Seek Damages Form with the Conciliation and Arbitration Services (CAS).

Note that an election may affect your workers’ compensation entitlements and, once made, is irreversible.