At GC Law we get a lot of questions about what a work-related injury is. What qualifies as a work-related injury can include physical injuries, psychological disorders, diseases, or even death. These need to occur while you’re at work, travelling to and from your job, on a scheduled break or as a direct result of doing your job.
Work Related Injury Examples
A personal injury can include several different kinds of injuries both physical and mental. Examples of some work-related personal injuries include:
- Physical injuries gained from work activities or while at work (e.g. sprains, strains, torn ligaments, industrial deafness, broken bones, burns, and more.)
- Psychological disorders where work is the most significant contributor (e.g. depression, anxiety, phobias)
- Diseases (e.g. Asbestosis and Silicosis)
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition from completing work duties
- Death of a worker
What Are The Most Common Work Related Injuries?
The type of work-related injury that is most common will depend on the nature of the job and employment situation. Some of the most common workplace injuries tend to include slipping/falling, muscle strains, falling objects, repetitive strain injury, vehicle crashes, cuts, inhaling toxic fumes, exposure to loud noises, and fights in the workplace.
Young workers are also more likely to be injured at work because of their unique risk profile. Around 4,000 young workers aged between 15-24 are injured in Queensland every year. They are often inexperienced, and the likelihood of an injury is highest during the first 6 months in a new job. There are both developmental and generational factors that contribute to this increased risk of injury at work in younger generations. These factors include:
- Intellectually, the brain does not finish developing until the mid-20’s. The areas of the brain that develop last are typically those that control logical decision making, problem solving and controlling impulses.
- Physically, young workers are still developing their strength and fitness. They need more sleep and recovery time.
- Socially, young workers desire to impress others and fit in so will tend to follow the behaviour of co-workers (right and wrong) rather than ask questions or raise concerns.
- Young workers will typically have had classroom style training rather than hands on experience.
- Young workers may respond better to information provided through images and technology, rather than highly technical written documents.
- Young workers may lack the perception of risk of injury. They may lack the ability to perceive when a situation has become dangerous.
How Do You Prove A Work-Related Injury?
To claim compensation for a work-related injury your injury must fit into the technical definition of “injury” within s32(1) of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003:
- An injury is a personal injury arising out of, or in the course of employment if:
- for an injury other than a psychiatric or psychological disorder – the employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury; or
- for a psychiatric or psychological disorder – the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the injury.
Evidence will help prove that your injury is work-related and can be a vital part of your workers’ compensation claim. Some types of evidence you should try to gather include:
- Pictures of the scene and your injuries
- Witness reports
- Time reports showing you were at work at the time of the accident
- Maintenance reports of equipment involved in the accident
- Records of your or anyone else’s formal report of the accident
With this type of evidence, you will have a much better chance of proving that the accident occurred on the job. However, your employer and their workers compensation insurer may still try to undermine your account of what happened. This is why it is important to have an experienced workers compensation lawyer onside throughout the process.
How Long After A Work-Related Injury Can I Claim?
A workers’ compensation claim must be made within six months of the date of injury or incident. This time frame can sometimes be extended to three years under certain circumstances where there is reasonable cause for not making the claim earlier.
Examples of one of these reasonable causes may include absence from the state, mistake, or if the worker does not become aware of their injury until some time after the fact.
What To Do If You Have A Work Related Injury
The first step you should take if you are injured at work is to see your doctor or go to hospital immediately for initial treatment. From here you need to get a work capacity certificate from your treating doctor. The next step is to let your employer know what has happened as soon as manageable and give them the completed work capacity certificate.
This is when it is time to make your claim, this is best done with the assistance of an experienced workers compensation lawyer, to ensure your best chance of getting your claim approved.