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Richard Derks

Published: 20 April 2017
Author: Richard Derks

How to use the complex CFA volunteer injury scheme

Making a compensation claim on the CFA

Given the very public nature of the CFA and the acknowledged risky nature of its work, it’s unusual that so little is understood about how the Authority administers claims made against it by injured fire fighting volunteers.

Yet, this largely volunteer organisation which rightly occupies a special place in the public’s affections, does operate a compensation scheme very similar to WorkCover, although quite separate from it. 

However, almost no information is publicly available about how the Country Fire Authority’s unique injury claims and compensation system works.

How are volunteer and auxiliary CFA members covered for injury?

CFA volunteer firefighters are covered by a compensation scheme provided for under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (the CFA Act), which is administered by the CFA.

Some of its features

A 3-year deadline for common law claims from the date of the injury.

Impairment compensation is determined under a similar system to the Victorian WorkCover table of maims that existed prior to 1997. However, the CFA has made significant amendments to these tables both in relation to the cap allowable for compensation, how the tables are to be applied, and for injury types.

Where an injured CFA volunteer is unable to work, weekly loss of income payments are payable.

The CFA injury compensation scheme also provides for the reimbursement of “reasonable medical expenses such as as well as medical and hospital care, ambulance services, rehabilitation, and travel costs.

How to make a CFA injury compensation claim

As with WorkCover, a claims form must be submitted which requires a detailed description of the circumstances surrounding the injury.

Where income replacement is being claim, a separate section must be filled in which contains evidence of earnings such as recent wage payment slips, or in the case where someone it self-employed, copies of a tax return, PAYG assessment, a BAS statement, and so on.

While a claims form may be submitted directly to the CFA without the need of legal advice, it is often prudent to have a lawyer skilled in CFA compensation cases to at least check over the details of your form and review the potential for a more substantial compensation claim being made.

If you are a CFA firefighter who has given the time and risked your life in order to help others, you deserve to be looked after should you in turn need assistance.  You owe it to yourself and your family to get the best legal advice on how this complicated and hidden system works.

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