Have you ever injured yourself at work? Chances are your wages and medical costs were covered by workers compensation insurance. If not, they should have been.

What is workers compensation?

Workers compensation is a type of insurance that is compulsory for all employers in every Australian state and territory. It is aimed at providing protection to workers in the instance that they suffer a work-related injury or disease. Each state and territory has its own legislation, scheme and authorities to deal with workers compensation. For example in NSW, the relevant legislation includes the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) and the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1988 (NSW). This legislation outlines that an employee is entitled to compensation for any injury or illness arising within the course of their employment.

To find out the relevant authority for your state or territory, you should visit Safe Work Australia.

What are the types of compensation?

Have you have been injured, needed time off, and are wondering what compensation you are entitled to? Your workers compensation scheme could provide you with:

  • weekly benefits;
  • medical and hospital expenses;
  • property damage expenses;
  • rehabilitation services; or
  • a lump sum payment for permanent impairment.

The extent of your entitlement to compensation will vary depending on your individual claim, and the type and severity of your work-related injury.

An employee: the process of applying for workers compensation

If you are injured at work the first step you must take is to notify your employer. This allows the incident to be recorded by your employer in the Register of Injuries.

Next, you should see a doctor and ask to complete a Worker Injury Claim Form. If you need time off because of your injury, ask the doctor to complete the WorkCover Certificate of Capacity. Once those documents have been completed, provide the certificate of capacity to your employer, attaching any bills or receipts resulting from treatment. Also make sure you follow any requests for information made by the insurer.

To keep in good faith, it is important that you return to work as soon as possible.

An employer: the process of taking out a policy

Unless you are exempt, your business will need to take out a workers compensation insurance policy. You should take out a policy from one of the five insurance agents that act on behalf of WorkCover, which includes:

  • Allianz Australia Workers’ Compensation Limited;
  • CGU Workers Compensation;
  • Employers Mutual NSW Limited;
  • GIO General Limited; or
  • QBE Workers Compensation Limited.

You will need to provide the insurer with general information about your business (such as your legal name, ABN, postal/operating addresses, contact details), what date you want the policy to begin, any past workers compensation insurance details, the number of workers you employ, and an estimation of how much is paid to workers.

As an employer, it may also be an appropriate time to ensure your legal documents are up-to-date by having a lawyer review your existing employment agreements.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-price quote from one our network of 600+ expert lawyers or any other legal needs.

Anthony Guerrieri

Anthony is a Paralegal working in our content team, which writes free legal guides aimed at improving public awareness of legal and business issues. Anthony has an interest in simplifying complex legal problems in order to allow people to understand their legal dilemmas.