Lump Sum Offers from WorkCover

I’ve received an offer from WorkCover, now what?

If you have been injured during the course of your employment and have been in receipt of WorkCover benefits, you may be entitled to receive a lump sum offer from WorkCover.

If your WorkCover claim is drawing to a close, you can request to be assessed to determine whether or not you have suffered a degree of permanent impairment. The assessment should not, however, take place until your injuries have stabilised and you have reached what is called maximum medical improvement. Generally speaking, this means that your injuries will not get worse, nor better, with any further medical or rehabilitative treatment.

If you request to be assessed, WorkCover will arrange for you to attend an independent medical examination with a specialist doctor. Following the examination and the assessment of your injuries, you will receive a document from WorkCover known as a “Notice of Assessment”. This will outline whether or not you have in fact sustained a degree of permanent impairment and if so, it will be shown in percentage terms.

Permanent Impairment

If you have suffered a degree of permanent impairment, the Notice of Assessment document will also offer a lump sum payment of compensation. This payment is usually quite conservative and does not take into consideration loss of wages (both past and future), out of pocket expenses or future medical treatment or rehabilitation.

You must decide whether or not to accept the lump sum offer, reject the lump sum offer or simply defer it to decide later. What is important however, if you have received an impairment less than 20% you cannot accept the lump sum offer and proceed with a common law claim for damages. If you do accept the lump sum offer, you lose your right to bring any further claim.

If you receive an impairment assessment of 20% or more, you can accept the lump sum offer and still pursue a common law claim for damages.

If you have received, or if you do receive, a Notice of Assessment or a lump sum offer from WorkCover it is extremely important that you contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your options before responding to WorkCover.

Our team have appointments available to discuss your options.  Contact Wallace & Wallace Lawyers for expert and reliable advice on your rights and entitlements, on (07) 4963 2000 or through our online contact form.

Tamyka Gallagher, Solicitor, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers Mackay

Tamyka Gallagher
Solicitor
Compensation Law

Seek advice if you require
more information or assistance.

(07) 4963 2000
ONLINE ENQUIRY
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Crack Down on Car Crash Scammers

Recently, the Australian Lawyers Alliance lobbied and were successful in introducing legislation to ensure that harassing calls by claim farmers to injured persons was illegal.

For years now, car crash scammers have been harassing Queenslanders with relentless phone calls pretending to help them gain injury compensation from car crashes and will then sell their personal information to third parties.

The amendments to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, which became effective as at December 2019, make this activity illegal with penalties of up to $40,000.00 for an individual who is prosecuted.

If you have been contacted by these scammers, or are being harassed to bring a claim, you should immediately contact any of the following:

If you are genuinely injured in an accident that is not your fault, contact Wallace & Wallace Lawyers for expert and reliable advice on your rights and entitlements, on (07) 4963 2000 or through our online contact form below.

Tamyka Gallagher, Solicitor, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers Mackay

Tamyka Gallagher
Solicitor
Compensation Law

Seek advice if you require
more information or assistance.

(07) 4963 2000
ONLINE ENQUIRY
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What does a compensation
claim consist of?

If you are injured, through no fault of your own, and are able to bring a common law claim for damages you may hear your lawyer talking about the ‘heads of damages’ that you are entitled to claim for.  (Note – this is separate to any WorkCover claim.)  Your lawyer should be discussing these heads of damages with you throughout the duration of your claim and taking your detailed instructions to ensure that all expenses and compensation entitlements are accounted for.  We’ve broken the heads of damages down for you:

General Damages

This is an award to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life.  This means, you are compensated for the ways in which your injury has adversely affected your ability to enjoy life to the fullest.  These damages are assessed pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2003.

Out of Pocket Expenses

This is self explanatory.  It can also be called special damages. You can claim for the costs that you have incurred which relate directly to your injury such as medical rehabilitation and treatment. This includes obvious things such as trips to a doctor, surgery, hospital fees, taxi fares to relevant appointments, medication, bandages and the like.

Past Economic Loss

If you have needed to take time off work because of your injury, you are able to claim for the net income you should have received from your employment had you not been injured, and comparing that with the net income you have in fact received. In addition to past economic loss, you can also claim for your past loss of superannuation benefits.

Future Economic Loss

This head of damages is designed to compensate you for the way in which your injury has affected your ability to obtain and maintain an income in the future. Whether that be a change of employment (because of your injuries), reduced hours or an early retirement. This is assessed in conjunction with medical evidence. Similarly to past economic loss, you can also claim your future loss of superannuation benefits.

Future/recurring expenses

These are the expenses that you will incur in the future as a result of injuries and the requirements for future treatment. This may involve further surgery, ongoing GP appointments, radiological scans, medication, physiotherapy and the like. Again, this is assessed in conjunction with medical evidence.

Care & Assistance

You may also be eligible to claim for care and assistance that has been provided to you because of your injuries, however there is a threshold that you must meet before such a claim can be made. You need to show that the assistance that you have required was for at least six hours per week for a period exceeding six months. To claim for future care needs, there is no threshold, however this is care you will have to incur in the future on a commercial basis.

There may also be other heads of damages to claim as each individual case is different.

These are complex matters and you should seek legal advice before considering making or accepting an offer from insurers and at fault parties.

Contact our compensation team today on 07 4963 2000 or through our online contact form below should you require assistance.

Tamyka Gallagher, Solicitor, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers Mackay

Tamyka Gallagher
Solicitor
Compensation Law

Seek advice if you require
more information or assistance.

(07) 4963 2000
ONLINE ENQUIRY
Read More
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Working From Home

Are you working from home, or do you have employees working from home amidst the COVID-19 restrictions?

Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003

You may or may not be aware, but if you are working from home, or you have employees working from home, the obligations of an employer to provide a safe workplace extends under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Therefore. employers should be taking reasonable steps to ensure that their employees do not suffer any foreseeable injuries whilst working from home.  Employers should be aware of their employees’ working environment as they have a duty of care to their employees to protect them from sustaining any injuries in the workplace.

Are you or your employees working in a safe environment?

If an employee is working from home, you should make sure that their workspace is still ergonomically friendly, as it would be in the office.  You should give thought to their workstation set up.  Do they have an adjustable chair at the correct height?  How have they placed their computer monitors to minimise neck and eye strain?  Is there a quick and clear exit path in the case of an emergency?

A smart idea is to implement a self-check policy and have employees verify that they are working in a safe environment.  If you have trained your employees about smart and safe working environments, then you are in a better position to protect yourself from a workers’ compensation claim and your employee from an injury.

Safe Work Australia have put together some helpful checklists to assist both employees and employers whilst we navigate these unprecedented times.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you have any queries.

Tamyka Gallagher, Solicitor, Wallace & Wallace Lawyers Mackay

Tamyka Gallagher
Solicitor
Compensation Law

Seek advice if you require
more information or assistance.

(07) 4963 2000
ONLINE ENQUIRY
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Cyclists and Motor Vehicles

The ongoing debate between cyclists and motor vehicle drivers…

With the ever growing cyclist community in Mackay, it is important that cyclists and drivers are aware of the relationship between the two when sharing the road.

Rights and Responsibilities

Bicycles are a type of vehicle and as such, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as a driver when using the road.

As a driver, did you know that you must stay wider of cyclists by giving a minimum of 1 metre when passing a cyclist in a 60km/h or less zone, and 1.5 metres where the speed is more than 60km/h.

As a cyclist, when riding two abreast, you cannot be more than 1.5 metres apart.  You can only ride with more than two cyclists side by side when overtaking.

What if I am involved in an accident?

If you are involved in an accident you should safely get yourself and your bike off the road (if you are able to do so).  Similar to car accidents, it is important that you exchange details with the driver of the car.

What if I am injured?

If you are injured while cycling as a result of negligence by a motor vehicle driver, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation against the driver’s CTP insurer.

The onus is on the cyclist to prove negligence on the part of the driver.  In addition to failing to comply with the usual road rules, the court also considers things like how defensively the driver drove, the speed at which they were driving and also the capacity of the driver to take evasive action.

Common traffic accidents involving cyclists are often because the driver failed to see a cyclist.  Slow down, check your blind spots and give way where you are required to.

You can read the Queensland Government’s ‘Sharing the road with bicycle riders‘ for more information and frequently asked questions.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries regarding your rights.

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Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation?

Under WorkCover, whether you or someone else is at fault for the cause of your injury doesn’t matter.  You will still be paid workers’ compensation.  Liability (or fault) is only a concern if you are wanting to proceed with a common law claim.

Receiving WorkCover benefits is a no fault scheme, and you should keep this in mind if you are concerned about how making a claim, or reporting your injury, will impact the relationship with your employer.

Are employers required to hold WorkCover insurance?

Employers are required to hold insurance for all of their employees, and if you are injured in the course of your employment and you are not sure whether or not your employer has insurance, you should contact WorkCover.

Your employer may need to pay a small premium to their insurer to begin with, but all payments that you receive including weekly benefits, medical expenses and rehabilitation expenses will be paid by WorkCover.

If you can prove that your employer is liable for your injury and that you were not at fault for the injury occurring, you may be able to proceed with a common law claim.  This is a complex process but again, you should keep in mind that a common law claim (some people call this ‘suing your employer’) still proceeds against the insurer, not your employer.

What should I do if I get hurt whilst at work?

Comprehensive reporting of the incident that occurred and the injury you sustained is extremely important, and you should report the incident and injury to your employer and WorkCover as soon as practically possible.

Remember, there are critical dates and time frames that apply to personal injury claims and you should seek advice immediately if you have any questions.

If you believe you have suffered a work related injury?

(07) 4963 2000

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We provide more information about WorkCover or workers’ compensation claims here.

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Work Functions & Injuries

Before you celebrate EOFY….

At common law, a non-delegable duty of care is owed by an employer to their employee.

An employee (“worker”) can seek damages for an injury sustained by them in the course of their employment, where that worker can establish that the employer was negligent or in breach of a term of the worker’s contract, and such negligence or breach caused the worker’s injury.

Initially, damages (or compensation) is paid to the worker by WorkCover Queensland or a self-insurer if applicable.

Can I claim damages if I have been injured at a work function?

This duty of care does not cease outside of the worker’s typical ‘workplace’ however.   It may also extend to an event that is organised and paid for by the employer, like staff parties or functions, even although the attendance of a worker is voluntary.  If the function is organised and paid for by the employer, the duty of care to workers remains the same as it would if they were at work.

Depending on the circumstances, and remembering that each case is different, in addition to injuries to workers, the employer could also be liable for inappropriate behaviour including discrimination, workplace harrassment/bullying or sexual harassment.

Of important note though, the ‘injury’ must occur during the course of your employment.  If you have left the work function to continue to celebrate elsewhere, or if the function is deemed to be over, you are generally not able to make a claim for benefits.

What damages can I claim?

If you have been injured outside of the workplace but in the course of your employment, you may be able to claim for statutory benefits (like medical expenses or loss of income).

Likewise, if you are an employer and would like to know more about your obligations and duties and how they extend to outside of the workplace we can give you some tips on putting measures and processes in place to minimise harm to your workers and your business.

Contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form to find out more.

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Workplace Bullying

Are you having issues at work involving your employer or other colleagues?

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour that is directed towards you, creating a risk to your health and safety.

Relevantly, some examples of behaviour can include humiliation, constant ridicule and sabotaging a person’s work.  This behaviour can come from another colleague or even your employer/manager.

Reasonable Management Action

If an employer’s behaviour is that of a reasonable management action in connection with your employment, this is not considered workplace bullying.  An example of this could be your employer asking you whether or not you are fit to perform your role and if you have suffered an injury, either mental or physical, that limits your ability in your role or makes it unsafe for you to complete your job.  It is also important to note, that workplace conflict such as differences of opinion, disagreements and general personality clashes are generally not considered workplace bullying.  However, of course the circumstances of each incident need to be taken into account.

Lodging a Claim with WorkCover

If you feel as though you are being bullied in the workplace you should seek legal advice about your options.  If workplace bullying or harassment can be established, you can apply to WorkCover for compensation.  The compensation can include loss of wages if you need to take time off, plus medical expenses so that you can talk to a counsellor about your situation.

When applying for workers’ compensation through WorkCover it is important that you list all examples of workplace bullying and provide relevant dates and facts.  The information you provide to WorkCover will assist in them determining whether or not to accept your claim.

Contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form to find out where you stand.  Our experienced team will guide you through the required process.

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Personal Injury Claim Time Limits

In Queensland, the Limitation Act imposes strict time limits within which a personal injury claim can be commenced by court proceedings.  If the legal proceedings are not commenced within these time limits or time frames, the claim is deemed to be statute barred.  This forms what we call a complete defence to the claim.

How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?

The time frame for claims for damages for personal injuries (whether it be a workplace accident or otherwise) must be commenced within three years of the injury occurring.  For example, if your injury occurred on 1 July 2011, court proceedings must be commenced before 1 July 2014.

Can I get an extension of time to lodge a claim for personal injuries?

In very limited circumstances, a court has the discretion to allow an extension of time within which the proceedings can be commenced.  This can include when a person suffers an injury but is unaware of the injury, or the extent of the injury, until the limitation period has expired i.e. lung disease.

This allowance may be made if it can be shown that the injured person did not have knowledge (or reasonable means of knowledge) of a critical aspect of their case until after the expiry of the limitation period.  A critical aspect of one’s case must relate to either the accident or the damage suffered being beyond the injured person’s means of knowledge.

It does not include the failure to obtain legal advice to understand the impact of the damage suffered.

The court also considers whether or not the injured person acted reasonably in the circumstances, including the attendance upon a GP or other medical professionals to seek treatment and rehabilitation.

Should I get legal advice?

Each case is very different and other time limits and critical dates can apply depending on the circumstances of the event that caused your injury and what legislation applies.

Contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form to find out where you stand.  Our experienced team will guide you through the required process.

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Injured at Work?

If you have been injured through the course of your employment, you have a responsibility to act reasonably and seek medical attention for the injury and to notify your employer when the injury occurs.

WorkCover Claim

Your employer should report the incident and initiate a WorkCover claim.  You are able to lodge your own WorkCover application either over the phone or online also.

Rehabilitation & Recovery

If your WorkCover application is accepted, as part of your rehabilitation and in order to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery, your employer together with WorkCover, have a responsibility to provide you with rehabilitation and to assist you with your return to work as part of your recovery.  This includes meeting the reasonable costs for treatment such as physiotherapy and other medical consultations by a registered person.

If you are required to pay a practitioner upfront for these services, you should keep all original receipts and provide the receipts to WorkCover for reimbursement.

Your Responsibilities

You have a duty to mitigate your loss which means you must, where reasonably practicable, satisfactorily participate in rehabilitation that is recommended by your employer or WorkCover, in conjunction with a medical practitioner.  Failing to participate, or refusing to participate without a reasonable excuse may result in your entitlement to compensation being suspended.

Get Support

Being injured at work can create a stressful and trying time for both you and your family.  Seeking the right support and assistance as soon as possible is only going to be advantageous to not only your recovery and return to work, but your mental wellbeing as well.  We can support you with your recovery.

If you have any queries about a workplace injury or WorkCover application, get in contact with our team today on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

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