Six Things You Should Know About Workers Compensation in Australia

On average, 560,000 Australians experience workplace injuries and illnesses each year. If you’ve experienced a workplace injury or illness, you understand how frightening and uncertain the future can seem.

Dealing with hospital stays, medical bills, and lost wages can be overwhelming. Navigating the legal process only adds to the challenges of being an injured worker.

Workers’ compensation protects injured workers, but the process is not nearly as simple or comprehensible as it should be. Here is what you need to know about workers’ compensation in Australia.

1. What is Workers’ Comp and How Can You Benefit?

Australia workers’ compensation protects workers who suffer injuries and illnesses as a result of their working conditions. Depending on your situation, you may be able to claim benefits for your injuries right away.

In Australia, workers’ compensation laws are based on the principle of ‘no-fault.’ This means you do not have to prove negligence on the part of your employer to make a claim.

The workers’ compensation scheme also helps injured workers through the process of recovery. Workers’ comp insurance pays for medical bills, hospital stays, and rehabilitation.

If you cannot work while you are injured, workers’ comp will cover the cost of your lost wages as well. That way you can focus on healing without worrying about your medical expenses and income.

Workers’ comp also protects surviving family members in the event of a workplace fatality. They may be entitled to compensation, funeral expenses, and family support.

Here is where you can learn more about Australian workers’ compensation and the Work Safe Act.

2. Is It Difficult to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Australia?

Unfortunately, filing a workers’ compensation claim is very complicated. The process includes many special requirements and strict deadlines. It is very easy to make a mistake that will disqualify your claim.

The best thing you can do to improve your chances of getting your claim approved is to hire an expert workers’ compensation lawyer before filing your claim.

It is imperative that you report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Failing to report your injury can result in claim denial. You should do this before you file a workers’ comp claim with your lawyer.

When you file your claim, make sure you do so within six months of the date of your injury.

Finally, make sure you get the medical attention you need for your injury. You will need medical documentation of your assessment. Your doctor will provide a note detailing your capacity to work and your limitations.

Consult your lawyer to understand your rights under the Work Safe Act. Insurance companies do not want you to get legal advice. When you know your rights it is much more difficult for them to weasel out of paying you.

Remember that insurance companies want to give you as small a settlement as possible. They are businesses trying to minimize their costs. Knowing your rights and hiring a lawyer to advise you is your best bet.

A lawyer will not charge you for a consultation. Nor will you have to pay legal costs for hiring a lawyer to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. A lawyer’s fees will come out of your winnings or you won’t pay.

When workers’ compensation claims are done properly, an employer is very likely to settle for an appropriate amount.

3. Can You Claim Both Physical and Psychological Damages?

When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can claim both physical and psychological injury or damage. You will need to prove that the psychological damage you are suffering is directly related to your injuries.

If it happened at work or as the result of work, you should be able to use it in your claim. However, there are some hurdles to consider.

For example, claiming psychological and physical injury can complicate a lump sum claim.

Keep in mind that physical and psychological injuries do not need to have occurred because of one specific event. Diseases that develop over time as the result of working conditions are also workers’ comp injuries.

4. Is Your Employer Required to Provide Suitable Work Upon Your Return?

Employers must provide suitable work to injured employees under the Workplace Injury Management Act of 1998.

In some cases, employees may be too injured to return to work right away. In other cases, employees are able to return to work either part-time or full-time with certain restrictions.

It is the responsibility of your employer to provide you with work duties that are safe for you to perform while you recover. This does not mean you have to perform demeaning jobs or those that don’t benefit the company.

The new duties your employer assigns should be as close to your original duties as possible. If an employer fails to provide suitable work, they may receive fines up to $10,000.

If your employer refuses to provide suitable work, you can file a complaint here.

The only time employers are not required to provide suitable work is if they are small businesses. This is because not all small businesses are able to provide light work or appropriate work positions.

5. How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Workers’ Insurance Cost in Australia?

The cost of workers’ compensation insurance varies. The cost is based on a percentage of the company’s total payroll.

Although Australia requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, some do not. Failing to carry workers’ comp insurance can result in a steep fine.

If you get injured at work, you can file a workers’ comp claim whether your employer carries workers’ comp insurance or not.

6. Are Workers’ Compensation Payments Taxable in Australia?

If you receive workers’ compensation for lost salary or wages you must declare them on your taxes. The following types of payments qualify:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Income protection
  • Lost salary or wages
  • Sickness or accident insurance policy

You should not include payments where the premiums are deductible and taxes have already been withheld or you already included the payments on your tax return.

Australia Workers’ Compensation Takeaways

Workers’ compensation protects injured and ill workers and their families. It pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for physical and psychological damages.

The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim is complicated. Insurance companies will always try to settle for less than you deserve.

If you’ve experienced a workplace injury or illness, contact an expert workers’ compensation lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible.