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Michael Burdess

Published: 05 April 2013
Author: Michael Burdess and Peter Claven

WorkCover, TAC claims and you. Part 4

Our firm has helped nearly 70,000 claims on behalf of WorkCover and TAC clients. There aren't too many questions that we haven't heard, and answered, before.

In this series of blogs, injury experts Peter Claven and Michael Burdess tackle some of the misconceptions.

I'm worried that my WorkCover claim will take years before it is decided. Do they always drag on?

Medical expenses and weekly payments are covered immediately upon the claim being accepted, which is usually decided within 30 days of being lodged. The time that it may take to obtain the lump sum compensation that you deserve varies from case to case. There is no fixed amount of time that applies in every case. The main complicating factor for most cases is the issue of "stabilization".

If the injury has just occurred or if you have just had surgery because of the workplace accident some time will need to go by before a claim for lump sum compensation can be lodged. Patience is required, but your lawyer should keep you briefed on its progress.

If I win a common law claim, will the other side pay all of the costs?

A common question raised by clients is why given that they have won their case are they paying a legal bill to their lawyers. The answer is very simple. Usually, the opposing party pays a portion of the entire amount of legal costs, and you are left to pay the remainder. The legal costs that will be payable by the other side will not cover the entire amount of legal work performed in a case. It is similar to the Medicare "gap". Only in very extreme cases or in very particular circumstances can the Court order that the other side pay the entirety of your legal costs.

I was injured in a car crash. I've seen my own doctors but now my lawyer wants me to have more tests done. Is this necessary?

If you are going to pursue a lump sum claim whether it be fault or no fault, further medical examinations by specialists appointed by either your lawyer or by the opposing party will be necessary. This is unavoidable and is a reality in most, if not all cases.

Can I go back to work or look for another job if I've been on WorkCover?

The aim of the WorkCover Scheme is to get you back to work as quickly as possible as long as it is safe to do so.

Your employer should be actively assisting in trying to get you back to work. If you and your employer part ways down the track, having had an accepted WorkCover claim does not mean that you cannot look for another job. There is no restriction on you looking for other work but it is very important that if you are continuing to get WorkCover certificates of capacity and you have recommenced work somewhere else that you note on the certificate that you have returned to employment.

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