Workers’ Compensation in WA provides protection for employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses. Coverage for workers compensation claims includes:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Travel and related expenses
In addition, eligible individuals with a qualifying whole-person impairment rating who are able to prove employers’ negligence may receive common law benefits through a common law claim. Common law benefits can include damages for pain and suffering and assistance with daily living.
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Introduction to Workers Compensation Insurance
Workers compensation in Western Australia (claims are referred to as a worker’s compensation claim or WorkCover WA claim) is a type of insurance that provides support for employees injured at work. It offers an injury management scheme with financial coverage for medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and lost wages if the injury causes time off work. WorkCover WA regulates workers’ compensation claims pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
What does workers comp cover?
Workers compensation is an essential program designed to protect employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. In Western Australia (WA), workers comp provides various benefits to help injured workers recover and move forward. Understanding what workers compensation covers is crucial for both employers and employees.
Under the workers compensation system in WA, injured workers are entitled to receive necessary medical treatment for their work-related injuries. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery costs, physical therapy, prescriptions, medical practitioner attendance, and medical devices. These medical expenses are covered to ensure that injured workers receive prompt and appropriate care.
If a work-related injury causes an employee to take time off work, workers comp provides wage replacement benefits. The amount of weekly payments for lost wages is linked to the workers’ pre-injury income. The amount of weekly payment is capped, for some high-income workers, this means that a portion of the lost wages due to the injury will be compensated. For many workers, this means the weekly payment covers all the lost wages due to work-related injury, disease or illness. The weekly compensation payments help injured individuals alleviate financial burdens caused by their inability to work while recovering from the injury.
Rehabilitation Expenses and Return to Work Services
Rehabilitation services play a vital role in helping injured workers regain their physical and mental well-being. Workers compensation in WA covers rehabilitation services provided by WorkCover-approved rehabilitation providers, such as vocational counselling and return to work programs. Workers comp also covers retraining if an individual or injured worker cannot return to their previous job due to the injury. These services aim to facilitate the injured worker’s recovery process and improve their ability to reintegrate into the workforce.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
Where a work-related injury results in permanent disability or impairment, workers comp may provide permanent impairment benefits. This entails a lump sum payment given to compensate for any long-term consequences or limitations resulting from the injury. The amount of this benefit varies depending on the severity of the impairment assessed by an Approved Workercover Specialist.
Tragically, if a work-related injury leads to an employee’s death, workers compensation provides death benefits to dependents of the deceased worker. These benefits offer financial support for funeral expenses paid, medical expenses, and a lump sum entitlement.
Understanding and managing these coverage options helps injured workers receive the necessary support. If you have been injured on the job or have questions about workers comp, consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in this area. Remember to promptly report incidents and seek appropriate medical attention when dealing with work-related injuries.
Who is eligible for the Workers Compensation Scheme?
When it comes to workers compensation in Western Australia (WA), it’s important to understand who is eligible for coverage under the scheme. Here are the key points to consider:
- Most employees are covered: The workers compensation scheme in WA generally covers the majority of employees who work in the state. This includes full-time, part-time, and casual employees.
- Exceptions for self-employed individuals: Self-employed individuals, who work for themselves and do not have employees, are generally not covered by the workers’ compensation scheme. They are responsible for their own insurance and protection. However, if the individual is a working director of a company, they may have the option to choose whether or not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover themselves.
- Exceptions for independent contractors: Independent contractors, who work under a contract for services rather than being employed directly, are typically not covered by the workers compensation scheme. However, it’s important to note that the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor can sometimes be complex and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the work arrangement.
By understanding who is eligible for the workers compensation scheme in WA, both employees and employers can ensure that they have the necessary coverage and protection in place.
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How to file a workers compensation claim
Follow these steps, you can ensure a smooth process for filing your workers compensation claim in WA:
- Report the injury: Immediately inform your employer about the incident in writing and provide a detailed account of how it occurred. This helps establish a record of the incident.
- Seek medical attention: Visit a healthcare professional. They will assess your injuries and provide a First Certificate of Capacity, which is vital for your claim.
- Lodge a claim: Submit your Workers Compensation Claim Form and the First Certificate of Capacity to your employer within 12 months of the date of injury, including all required documentation and supporting evidence.
What’s not covered by Workers Compensation Insurance
There are certain situations and circumstances that may not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in Western Australia. Here are some examples:
- Injuries that occur outside of work premises or during non-work-related activities (note – this can be complicated in fly in fly out on site arrangements).
- Self-inflicted injuries or injuries resulting from serious and wilful misconduct.
- Injuries caused by the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Injuries sustained during breaks or lunchtime, unless the employee was performing work-related activities (note – this can be complicated in fly in fly out on site arrangements).
- Injuries suffered while commuting to and from work.
- Injuries resulting from a pre-existing condition or illness, unless caused or aggravated by work to a significant degree.
It is important to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to understand the specific coverage limitations in Western Australia.
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Your lawyer will take you through this arrangement in more detail including any terms and conditions in your obligation free first initial consultation.
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In conclusion, workers’ compensation in Western Australia is a vital no-fault insurance program that provides support for employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and more. For further information, visit the WorkCover WA website or contact their helpline for assistance.
Please note that advice from WorkCover WA helpline is general in nature and they do not provide legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances, contact Foyle Legal for an obligation free claim review. Workers compensation lawyers at Foyle Legal takes on workers comp claims on a No Win No Fee basis.