If you work on a construction site, with dangerous materials, or regularly have to do heavy lifting as part of your job you’re probably very aware of the inherent dangers in the workplace and take measures to try to avoid accidents.
But it’s a worrying truth that accidents could happen in every single workplace in Australia – even if you’re sat at a desk for most of the day.
For anyone who has had an accident at work, sustained a psychological injury from his or her workplace environment or been involved in a motor accident during working hours, you’ll know the importance of getting the right legal advice early.
Having to take time off because of a workplace injury can have a devastating effect on families, both financially and mentally.
It isn’t uncommon for injuries sustained in the workplace to affect someone for the rest of their life, and some people can never return to their normal duties again. Specialist companies are experts at making sure you’re given the right advice.
The Industrial Relations Act (QLD) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (NSW & VIC) lets employers know what they should be doing to maintain a safe working environment for its employees. This includes:
- Providing a safe working environment for its employees, which includes facilities and work systems
- Making sure that employees have had sufficient training to be able to safely handle job related equipment and substances
- Providing the correct training, supervision, instruction and information to its employees
Employers always have workers compensation insurance
It is mandatory for all employers to take out Workers Compensation insurance to cover their staff. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify their employer at the time of having an accident, and is also important to seek medical advice as soon as possible to have the injury investigated and formally documented.
Workplace injuries can be life changing so it is vital to discuss what options are available to you when in this position. Workplace dangers can often be avoided but in most circumstances not all risks are obvious and can be overlooked.
Types of Compensation Claims
There are three main types of compensation claims:
- Workplace physical claims – these can be anything from stains, industrial accidents, heavy lifting injuries, and fatalities
- Permanent Impairments – Usually assessed by WorkCover who will request an independent doctor to provide assessment
- Common Law Claims – The most important part of the claims process if severely injured, which is why it is so important to discuss your legal rights and options with specialist personal injury lawyers before signing anything
What workplace injury law doesn’t cover
If a worker is injured because they failed to correctly carry out instructions on how to perform a duty or task correctly, it is very unlikely they’ll be able to claim compensation. However, each case will be judged on its own merits.
Stress related injury as a result of demotion or disciplinary action taken by the employer isn’t generally covered. The same applies for self-inflicted injuries.
Claiming for compensation
As a general rule, if you’ve been injured at work then you will be able to claim for compensation. However, any amount awarded will vary from state to state and it’s very difficult for the average person to establish their legal rights. Speaking to a legal professional can make a huge difference to an injury claim.
Experienced freelance writer, Lara Anderson, wrote this article. Lara specializes in providing personal injury advice to business owners and employees.