Workers Compensation Law

Workers Compensation

If you sustain a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to claim workers compensation. Workers compensation laws aim to support workers who are injured, aggravate a pre-existing injury or condition, or become ill as a consequence of:

  • performing their usual work duties on or off work premises;
  • an incident arising out of their employment
  • travelling to and from work (in some circumstances).

A workplace injury or illness includes physical and psychological injuries.

Statutory compensation scheme

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) regulates and administers a no-fault workers compensation scheme in New South Wales. The scheme provides injured workers with weekly benefits and access to medical assistance such as physiotherapy, rehabilitation and home care, whilst they recover.

Provided the injury is work-related, compensation is generally payable even if there is no fault on the part of the employer.

What to do if you are injured at work

If you are injured while performing your work duties, you should report the incident to your employer as soon as possible after it occurs, and no matter how minor the injury may seem at the time. Sometimes an innocuous injury may turn out to be something more troubling with the progression of time.

Following any injury, your employer should give you the details of its workers compensation insurer and provide a compensation claim form if requested.

A claim for workers compensation should be made as soon as possible to ensure you receive appropriate support for your recovery and to protect your legal rights.

If medical treatment is required for your injury, you have the right to consult your own doctor. He or she should complete a SIRA Certificate of Capacity (formerly known as a WorkCover certificate) even if you initially do not require time away from work. The certificate describes the type of injury or illness you have sustained, the recommended treatment and, if relevant, your capacity for work.

This certificate is an important means of communicating your condition and any required treatment to those involved with your claim and is included with the workers compensation claim form.

Time limits apply when claiming compensation and failing to lodge the appropriate documents within the prescribed timeframes may make it difficult to pursue your claim for compensation benefits.

Work injury damages claims

A work injury damages claim (or common law claim) is a claim made by an injured worker against the employer (through its insurer) for injuries sustained due to negligence (either directly by the employer or through its agent). Time limits and thresholds apply when making such claims, and an award of damages may impact entitlements under the statutory scheme. Accordingly, it is important to be guided by an experienced compensation lawyer when pursuing such a claim.

An award for a successful work injury damages claim may include any one or more of the following:

  • lump sum payment for permanent impairment (pain and suffering)
  • payment for past and future out-of-pocket expenses
  • payment for past and future earnings
  • compensation for lost superannuation
  • costs for ongoing care and assistance

When determining the feasibility of making a work injury damages claim, we will review the circumstances of the incident, advise on the employer’s potential liability, and the type of payments to which you may be entitled, so you can make an informed decision. As part of this process, we will usually need to obtain expert medical and other reports.

Workers compensation law is complex and it can be overwhelming, particularly when trying to recover from an injury, to also understand your legal rights, the requirements for lodging a claim, and how to navigate the various processes.

We have vast experience in preparing and managing workers compensation and common law damages claims, and protecting the rights of injured workers to help them obtain the maximum compensation to which they are entitled.

If you need any assistance contact one of our lawyers at reception@thurlowfisher.com.au or call (02) 9708 2222 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.