We often see workers who have sustained an injury at work but who did not lodge a WorkCover claim (‘a claim’) immediately. Often this is due to employers telling workers that they do not have any right to compensation, or the workers not realising they have these rights. Some workers also feel they might be sacked if they report an injury.
In this blog we explain what happens if you do not make a WorkCover claim as soon as you are injured and what can do about it.
If you did not lodge a WorkCover claim on or around your date of injury, it does not necessarily affect your rights under the act.
For example, if you sustained an injury at work six months ago you may still lodge a WorkCover claim form. However, while your rights under the Act are not automatically extinguished if you do not lodge a claim immediately after your injury occurred, your employer or their insurance company may try and reject your claim on the basis that there has been an excessive or unreasonable delay. To avoid this, try to submit your claim form as soon as possible after the injury occurs.
If you failed to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of the injury occurring, this also does not eliminate your rights to make a claim. Again, while reporting your injury to your employer within 30 days is not a necessity, it is beneficial for your claim to report your injury to your employer as soon as you can or as soon as you become aware of your injury.
If you did not lodge a WorkCover claim immediately after sustaining your injury and if you did not notify your employer of your injury straight away, visit your doctor as soon as possible and disclose the injury. Make it clear when the injury occurred and what physical or psychological impact the injury has had on you since.
You should also you keep copies of all receipts relating to your injury.
Your doctor will issue you a certificate of capacity and this is generally done on the date of examination. A backdated certificate can be requested where your incapacity commenced before the date you attended your doctor. If the certificate is backdated, the reasons for this should be clearly stated on the certificate.
Once you have reported your injury to your doctor, it is advisable to contact a lawyer who specialises in WorkCover law to find out more about your entitlements and the next steps you should take. Most workplace injury law firms, like ours, will offer you a first free interview during which your rights will be explained. You are not then obligated to use a lawyer for your claim. If you feel pressured to do so, speak to a different law firm.