If you were injured as a result of an accident at work or on your way to work, you could be entitled to receive Workers Compensation. Regardless of how your accident happened, you could be entitled to a claim. Even so, there are some factors you should be aware of.
Every Workers Compensation case is different and the end result will be based on a number of variables. These include:
The level of injury
To determine the level of compensation one receives after suffering an injury, a multiplier is applied to calculate your pain. Essentially, the more pain you suffer as a result of your injury, the higher your settlement offer will be. Injuries such as a head injury, joint injury, vertebrae injury or nerve damage generally score a higher calculation.
When investigating your claim, expenses looked at will include initial treatment, hospital bills, prescribed medication, long-term injury treatment and physical or emotional counselling. While you have the right to be treated by a doctor or health provider of your choice, if their rate is higher than the amount set by Work Cover, you may be responsible for the extra portion.
When injury occurs, daily life disruptions are inevitable. Following an injury, you may have to cancel a special event, upcoming holiday, miss school or training, struggle to work or suffer stiffness or loss of mobility. The more disruptions to your everyday life, the higher your calculation goes.
Physical or emotional distress
Emotional stress that follows an injury can sometimes be equally, if not more, painful than the injury itself. Emotional distress can be difficult to prove, as there are no X-rays or scars you can point to. Some stresses, however, can lead to repetitive headaches, ulcers and other physical signs of distress. A doctors note claiming you are suffering post traumatic stress will need to be supplied with your claim.
If you share no fault in your accident, you may be entitled to higher compensation. Even at fault you have entitlements, but if it is proven you put yourself at undue risk that may go against your claim.
The calmer you are about the situation and the better you handle the claim process, the more likely you are to be taken seriously. Being organised will greatly strengthen your case.
If witnesses are willing to make an affidavit on your behalf, it will help bolster your case. A form can be compiled and completed by the person(s) that witnessed your accident.
Claim adjusters will often try to get injured persons to settle early, before the injured has even finished treatment. This can result in the injured taking a smaller compensation, one that is not enough to handle ongoing treatment. Accepting compensation too early can result in you being short on your medical bills but leaving it too late also poses a risk. The are time limits and statutes of limitation and if you wait too long, your claim could be lost forever.
A person who shows they are a likeable employee who works hard and doesn’t put themselves at risk will stand a better chance at compensation over someone who is always late and runs red traffic lights to get to work, for example.
Lifestyle before the accident
If you can prove that before your accident you exercised regularly and were otherwise fit and healthy, perhaps with great sport aspirations, you have a strong reason for compensation.
On some occasions, the person or workplace where you were injured are deemed so reckless and dangerous that you could be entitled to punitive damages.
Loss of wages
There are two methods of calculating weekly workers’ compensation payments, depending on whether or not you work under an award agreement. For those working under an industrial award, they will receive the rate of weekly workers’ compensation as declared by the industrial award. Workers who do not fall into that category will receive an average of the payments paid over the 12 months prior to the injury.
It’s important to document the number of days and wages you lost as a result of the accident.
Where you are required by your employer, their insurer or a medical practitioner to travel from your home to a medical appointment or rehabilitation provider, you can claim the cost of reasonable travel expenses. For regional workers that require an overnight stay, accommodation and meals can also be claimed.
If you had pre-existing injuries, you will need to prove that your accident worsened an injury already sustained.