Why You Shouldn’t Accept the Statutory Offer From WorkCover Before Talking to a Lawyer.

Apr 14, 2020 | Workplace Injury Claim

Have you received a statutory offer from WorkCover for a workplace injury? Have you discussed the offer with a lawyer? No? You could be losing thousands of dollars in compensation. 

WorkCover claims are a complex process and it pays to get professional legal advice before accepting any statutory offer. If you have suffered an injury at work it is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice from personal injury lawyers at Trilby Misso Lawyers to ensure that you receive your maximum entitlements.

WorkCover Queensland is the exclusive provider of workplace accident insurance in the state. People who have been injured at work are entitled to compensation regardless of their employment status. WorkCover compensation is available for full-time, part-time, permanent and casual employees, regardless of who is at fault for injuries sustained.

There are two types of claims you could make if you are injured at work:

  1. Statutory (No-Fault) Claim.
  2. Common Law Claim.

Statutory Claims

Statutory compensation claims are paid regardless of who is at fault for the cause of the accident and resulting injury.

Statutory benefits may include:

  • Weekly payments for wages lost due to injury.
  • Payments for hospital, medical and treatment costs.
  • Lump sum payment as compensation for permanent impairment.

An injured employee does not need to prove that their employer is at fault to be able to make a claim and making a statutory claim is the quickest way to obtain benefits. However, lump sum payments for statutory compensation claims are typically smaller than common law lump sum payments, despite the severity of the injury.

Common Law Claims

Many workplace injuries are avoidable, however, accidents can and do happen. Common law damage claims are based on the negligence of the employer or of a fellow worker. Injured employees who can provide irrefutable evidence that their employer or a fellow worker was negligent can pursue a common law claim for compensation.

Common law damages may include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Economic loss including loss of income and superannuation payments.
  • Past, present and future medical treatment including rehabilitation, pharmaceutical expenses, care assistance, aids and equipment.

A common law compensation claim can only be pursued after a statutory claim has been lodged and accepted by WorkCover Queensland or the self-insurer.1

Lodging a statutory claim is complicated, and claims agents who often undergo limited training may neglect to inform you of your entitlement to lump sum compensation and your right to appeal an offer. Misinformation and mistakes in the claims process could mean that you lose thousands of dollars in potential damages.

Common mistakes include:

  • Failing to report the injury in a timely manner.
  • Poor record keeping.
  • Non-compliance to medical advice.
  • Inconsistency in the specifics of the accident and injury.
  • Failing to seek professional legal advice.

A failure to seek legal advice is one of the most common mistakes people make when making a WorkCover claim. The reality is that many people are lulled into a false sense of security by insurance companies who seem eager to ‘help’. However, the complexity of the system and limited knowledge, means that agents will often neglect to tell you of your rights and full entitlements to compensation or damages.

During the statutory claims process, you may receive Notice of Assessment. This document provides valuable information such as the Statutory Lump Sum Offer and your Degree of Impairment (DOI) value (%). The percentage of impairment is an indicator of the seriousness of the injuries sustained and has a direct impact on your ability to lodge a common law claim for damages. Your decision to accept the Statutory Lump Sum Offer is irrevocable and you may not be able to lodge a common law claim thereafter.

For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you do not respond or accept the statutory offer without first obtaining expert legal advice.

References

  1. Workers’ compensation. (2020). Retrieved 5 February 2020, from https://www.qld.gov.au/jobs/entitlements/compensation