Workers’ Compensation

Statutory Claims Procedure – Overview

A claimant who sustains an injury in the course of their employment is entitled to receive medical and rehabilitation treatment for the injury. Furthermore if the claimant is required to take time off work for this injury he/she is entitled to receive compensation in the form of wages for the losses.

The claimant upon completion of all necessary medical and rehabilitation treatment will have his/her injuries assessed to determine the level of impairment by independent medical examiner appointed by WorkCover Queensland.

WorkCover Queensland upon notification of the level of impairment sustained due to the workplace injury then issues a Notice of Assessment notifying the claimant of the level of impairment with a corresponding lump sum figure.

The issue of a Notice of Assessment to the claimant then entitles him/her to seek damages from their employer if they elect not to access the lump sum offer presented in the Notice of Assessment.

 Common Law Damages Claims Procedure – Overview

The claimant once issued a Notice of Assessment has an entitlement to seek damages against his/her employer.

The claimant must give written notice in the correct form to WorkCover Queensland within three (3) years from the date of injury.

WorkCover Queensland must, in writing and within 10 business days after receiving the Notice of Claim advise the claimant whether or not it is satisfied that the notice is a complying one.

WorkCover Queensland may, within 20 business days of receiving the Notice of Claim add someone else as a contributor by written contribution notice claiming an indemnity from, or contribution towards, the respondent’s liability.  In turn a contributor must within 20 business days after receiving a contribution notice, give the respondent who gave the contribution notice a written response.

A claimant must cooperate with the respondent, WorkCover Queensland and, in particular must provide the respondent with copies of reports and other documentary material (including written statements made by the claimant or by witnesses) in the claimant’s possession about the circumstances of the accident or the claimant’s medical condition or prospects of rehabilitation.  The claimant must also comply with a request by the respondent to undergo, at the respondent’s expense a medical examination by a doctor to be selected by the claimant from a panel of at least 3 doctors nominated in the request.

Equally, the WorkCover Queensland and the employer must cooperate with a claimant and, in particular must provide the claimant with copies of reports and other documentary material in their possession about the circumstances of the accident or the claimant’s medical condition or prospects of rehabilitation; and must, at the claimant’s request, give the claimant information that is in the WorkCover Queensland’s possession, or can be found out from the employer, about the circumstances of, or the reasons for, the accident.

A claimant or respondent is not obliged to disclose information or documentary material if the information or documentary material is protected by legal professional privilege.

Within 6 months after WorkCover Queensland receives a complying notice, the WorkCover Queensland must take reasonable steps to inform itself of the circumstances of the accident out of which the claim arises.  It must give the claimant written notice stating whether liability is admitted or denied; and if contributory negligence is claimed the degree of the contributory negligence expressed as a percentage.

Before the claimant brings an action in a court for damages for personal injury arising out of an accident, there must be a conference of the parties (the compulsory conference).  Either party may call the compulsory conference at a time and place agreed between both parties on or before the relevant date being 3 months after WorkCover Queensland issues a written notice on liability to the claimant.

Source: Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003