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Common questions about returning to work after injury

Clients on WorkCover returning to work after injury often have questions about their on-going benefits or flare-ups of an injury. Here are some common questions our WorkCover lawyers are asked.

Will my claim stop when I return to work?

Getting back to work can be one of the best things for an injured person, as long as it is done in the right way. However, many people are under the misapprehension that when they return to work their entitlements automatically stop. This could not be further from the truth.

Your entitlement to medical and like expenses does not stop simply because you have returned to work. In many cases, an entitlement to weekly payments does not stop when you return to work if you have not returned to work at your pre-injury hours.

The WorkCover insurers like to talk about “full clearance certificates”. This is not a legal term and is not found anywhere in the legislation covering workplace injury.

Just because you have been cleared to return to your old duties and old hours does not mean that your claim is at an end.

Now that I’m back at work my injury has flared up again. Do I lodge a new WorkCover claim?

This is an issue that we deal with again and again.

People are injured at work, have some time off and have medical treatment and then return to work. Six months or a year later they have increasing pain in the same place where the original injury occurred.

Often the WorkCover insurer will tell you that a new claim must be lodged. This is not always accurate advice and you should contact a lawyer so you are fully informed of your options. In some cases a new claim may need to be lodged and in other cases it may be that your benefits continue to be paid under the original claim.

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 continue to receive WorkCover certificates of capacity, and that once you have started work elsewhere you note on the certificate that you have returned to employment.