Making a workers’ compensation claim can be a testing and stressful time for an injured person as they try to recover from the injury and return to work. Adding to the complexity is the fact that strict time limits apply to workers’ compensation claims.
A key reason compensation matters are subject to time limitations is so that the incident or incidents leading to the injury can be investigated in a prompt and timely fashion to ensure fairness to all parties should the matter proceed to court.
The importance of adhering to the time limits – and the situations where an exception to the deadline may be accepted – are detailed in this article. One of the reasons it is always wise to seek help from specialists in compensation law is that they can ensure a claim meets all the relevant deadlines.
Making a claim for benefits once injured
Once a worker sustains an injury at work, or becomes aware of a work-related injury or disease, they have six months to notify WorkCover Queensland and apply for statutory benefits to help with their recovery.
Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme is ‘no fault’, meaning benefits can be applied for no matter how the injury was caused. Benefits include weekly payments to cover lost wages, medical and rehabilitation expenses, and potentially a lump sum payment to compensate for any permanent impairment.
There are limited exceptions to the six-month time limit in applying for benefits. These include where special circumstances of a medical nature exist, as determined by the Medical Assessment Tribunal; where the injured worker failed to lodge an application due to a mistake; where they were absent from the state, or some other reasonable excuse.
An earlier time limit also exists for benefits claims – where an application is lodged more than 20 business days after the injury occurs, WorkCover’s liability to pay compensation is limited to no more than 20 business days before the day on which the application was lodged.
Limits on making a workers’ compensation claim
An injured person must make a worker’s compensation claim within three years of sustaining the injury at work. Failure to make an application by this time may see any future claim barred. An extension beyond the three-year limitation period may be granted in certain very limited circumstances, including where there is a dispute about the worker’s degree of permanent impairment included in WorkCover’s Notice of Assessment.
A worker may be entitled to receive lump sum compensation from WorkCover if they sustained a degree of permanent impairment from the injury. There is no time limit on applying for lump sum compensation provided WorkCover first accepted liability for the claim for weekly payments and/or medical expenses.
Common law claims: In situations where the worker believes their injury was caused by the negligence of the employer and wishes to make a separate common law claim for damages, a Notice of Claim must be filed by the injured party also within three years of the injury occurring.
Other deadlines – response of WorkCover
Once an injured person makes a worker’s compensation claim by filing a WorkCover claim form and a medical certificate, the authority has 20 business days to decide whether to accept the application for compensation. In doing so, WorkCover may ask the worker to provide additional proof of the injury and how it was sustained, and also ask them to attend a medical appointment with a WorkCover doctor.
Where WorkCover Queensland or a self-insuring employer make a decision the claimant disagrees with, an application to review the decision should be made to the Workers’ Compensation Regulator within three (3) months.
Finally, in respect of a physical injury where the worker does not agree with the WorkCover Notice of Assessment on their degree of permanent impairment, the injured party has 20 business days after receiving the notice to request their degree of impairment be assessed by another doctor or the Medical Assessment Tribunal.
Discuss your work injury with our experts at GC Law
As this post indicates, there can be multiple time limits to observe within a workers’ compensation claim. There are even additional deadlines for WorkCover, insurers, and claimants to observe beyond the scope of this article. To ensure all the important time limits are observed and your claim can proceed in a timely, efficient manner, discuss your case as soon as possible with compensation experts at GC Law. We will handle your claim with thoroughness, and compassion, and within all the time limits to try and get you the best possible outcome.
Get Our Help
Our team at GC Law can provide you with a free consultation today to discuss your bicycle injury compensation claim. Get in touch with our Gold Coast Worker Compensation lawyers today for a free consultation and speak with a qualified lawyer who can explain your options.