Injuries at the workplace happen more often than you think. It could result from lifting heavy boxes, being regularly exposed to high-decibel sounds of working machinery or dust particles, even asbestos.
In Australia, employers are required by law to create a safe working environment for their employees. Even with steps and procedures in place to minimise injuries in the workplace, they can, and do, occur. Not being able to work doesn’t just deprive you of income, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health as well as that of your family’s. Taylor & Scott compensation lawyers are here to guide you in understanding your legal rights to seeking compensation for your injury.
Regardless of the severity of your injury you should always notify someone, like a manager or supervisor, if you’ve been injured at work. Your employer must provide first aid if necessary and record the injury in the register of injuries. Even if your injury is not serious at the time, it may cause ongoing problems so it’s important that the incident is recorded by your employer.
It’s also a good idea to seek medical treatment, even if you don’t think you need it. Some injuries may cause underlying problems which a medical professional can diagnose before it’s too late. A medical report written immediately after you’ve sustained an injury at work will also be useful if you need to make a workers compensation claim.
If you’re like most workers, you won’t have extensive knowledge of the law and policies surrounding workplace health and safety. It’s often something that people don’t look into unless they are actually injured at work, and a crash course in workplace health and safety legislation is challenging, let alone just after you’ve been injured at work.
Following an injury at work, many workers quickly become overwhelmed by the legal process. They can often miss important facts and therefore miss out on much needed compensation. It is therefore important that you seek professional legal advice from a lawyer as soon as possible.
Knowledge and Experience
An experienced injury compensation lawyer can review your case, and with their extensive knowledge of workplace health and safety legislation as well as relevant workers compensation legislation they can advise what you’re entitled to and the best course of action.
If you’ve been injured at work, there will likely be a mountain of forms and reports to fill out. You may also need to make decisions and research the best course of action. Multiple forms and decisions can be confusing for the novice, but with the help of a lawyer you can submit paperwork and make informed decisions in an efficient and timely manner.
When someone is injured in the workplace their employer can quickly become defensive, especially if they could be at fault. A negligent employer may even dispute the details surrounding the injury. With an injury compensation lawyer on your side from the beginning, you’ll be ready to deal with any disputes that arise and resolve them as soon as possible.
Fight Big Insurers
Insurers can be reluctant to pay compensation to injured workers. With an experienced injury compensation lawyer on your side, you’ll be ready to go up against the powerful insurance companies and have a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Peace of Mind
Speaking to a lawyer, even if you’ve been injured at work and it’s only a minor injury, can offer peace of mind. You’ll know that you’ve covered all bases and if any problems arise you’ll know that you have done all that is necessary.
Many workers who have been injured at work may hesitate to speak with a lawyer for fear of astronomical legal fees, however the fear is unfounded. Many firms, including Taylor & Scott Lawyers, will offer a free, no obligation, case assessment where they will discuss how you were injured at work and offer advice moving forward.
In this initial assessment an experienced injury compensation lawyer can review your case. They will be able to advise you if your case would benefit from their legal expertise, and if not then you would be free to walk away at no cost. If Taylor & Scott Lawyers take on your case they can make an application for a grant of legal assistance to cover all legal costs incurred in your workers compensation claim, which saves you the financial stress of pursuing compensation after you have been injured at work. This is all the more reason to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been injured at work.
What should an injured worker discuss with their nominated treating doctor during the initial consultation?
It is important that injured workers communicate with the nominated treating doctor exactly how the injury occurred. All injuries sustained in the accident should be recorded even if they appear to be minor at the time as it is often the case that minor injuries turn out to be more significant than first thought and it is difficult to add additional injuries later. All of these injuries should then be recorded not only in the clinical notes but also on the certificate of capacity which should be issued by the nominated treating doctor and provided to the employer and insurer.
Injured workers should always check that the doctor has recorded all information on the certificate of capacity and that all information is correct, prior to leaving the consultation. Any incorrect information should be corrected immediately.
What should the nominated doctor consider when determining an injured workers capacity to work?
Nominated treating doctors are constantly under pressure to return injured workers to work as soon as possible.
Whilst the goal of the scheme is to return workers to work, doctors have a responsibility to ensure that a worker has the capacity to return to work in a safe and durable manner. In order to do this the doctor not only needs to be aware of the workers injury but must also have an understanding of the workers work environment and what their job entailed and what suitable duties will be provided if the worker is unable to return to their pre-injury duties.
If a doctor is unaware of the duties the worker will be required to perform there is a risk that the worker will return to work too soon and will sustain further injuries. For example there is a big difference between the duties a worker who has an office job will be required to perform compared to a retail worker or construction worker. The availability of suitable duties will also differ vastly within these positions. It is therefore important that the doctor is fully aware of the situation they are putting the worker in. The injured worker must clearly communicate with their doctor about their role and the nature of their work and the availability of suitable duties.
What is a secondary injury?
A secondary injury is an injury that arises after the initial injury and because of the initial injury. For example a worker may have a right shoulder injury but then their left shoulder is injured as a result of relying on it more to compensate for the original right shoulder injury. Another common secondary injury is the development of a psychological injury such as depression or anxiety as the injured worker struggles to come to terms with their injury and the impact it has on their life.
It is important that any secondary injuries be listed on the certificate of capacity and reported to the insurer. An injured worker should also seek a determination on liability for the secondary injury to ensure that they will be able to claim compensation for all injuries.
A secondary injury is not an injury that was sustained at the time of the accident but not detected until later.
Can a worker be compensated for a secondary injury?
A worker is entitled to receive weekly compensation and medical treatment for secondary injuries provided the insurer accepts liability for these injuries.
In respect to receiving a lump sum, a worker can be compensated for secondary physical injuries but not for a secondary psychological injury.