Back injury claims are probably the most common sort of workers compensation claims in Western Australia, they occur in a variety of different ways however in our experience the most common ways a back injury can occur includes lifting, bending, and working in a position that is not well suited for the task. Back injury claims mostly occur in blue collar workers in the construction, mining and manufacturing industries.
Injured workers often see us after the workers compensation claim for the back injury has been refused by the workers compensation insurer, though many also see us after the back injury claim has been accepted in order go get the best settlement possible.
In this article we have attempted to run through some of the things that injured workers can do after they have suffered a back injury in the course of their work.
Report your back injury in writing immediately after it has happened
In a lot of back related workers’ compensation claims, the allegation by the workers compensation insurer is that the injury did not occur in the course of the workers employment, and the worker who is claiming back injury compensation did not inform the employer of the accident at the time that the back injury occurred.
This can usually be avoided by reporting your back injury as soon as possible after it happened. It is common for injured workers to not report an injury thinking that, or hoping that, their back injury will just get better, and they do not want to jeopardise the future work career by reporting an injury. The courts have taken the view that this is not a good reason for not reporting an injury, and in some common law cases has found that the employer was prejudiced in its defence as a result of the worker failing to report the injury at an early time. As a result the workers compensation claim has been rejected by the courts.
In conclusion, if you have suffered a back injury at work, please report your back injury as soon as possible. Otherwise, this could have significant adverse impact on your back injury claim if you decide to claim back injury compensation.
Some injured workers may have reservations in deciding to report the injury, because they fear they may get sacked after reporting the injury or making a workers compensation claim. In most of workplaces, reporting workplace injury is required and set out in the HR employee manual. In other words, for many employers, it is expected by the employer that each employee should report such workplace injuries.
Attend a doctor as soon as possible after your back injury happens
If a person wishes to make a workers’ compensation claim for the back injury, they need to obtain a first medical certificate to provide to their employer together with the workers compensation claim form.
In some workers’ compensation claims the question is whether the worker actually suffered an injury in the course of their work, in these cases an attendance at a general practitioners office for your back injury can be very valuable evidence as it shows that the worker believed themselves to have suffered a back injury of sudden onset which is usually supported by an examination by the general practitioner.
One of the most common ways in which a back injury claim is defended is by alleging that the back injury has just occurred, in isolation, due to pre-existing degeneration. In the event that injured worker has seen the general practitioner at the time of the accident and regularly since that time the general practitioner will be in a position to say that firstly, the injured person did not have such a condition before the accident, and secondly, that the injured person has been complaining of similar symptoms from the time of the accident until the present.
Obtaining evidence of witnesses at the time of the accident
After a back injury happens, the last thing on people’s minds is whether the injury will be accepted by the workers compensation insurer. Once things have calmed down a little bit, for example when the injured worker is in the hospital and waiting for further treatment, it is a good idea to call any witnesses who saw the accident and obtain a brief statement from them. It is best for this to be in writing and signed, however if this cannot be achieved then getting the statement is an email can still be valuable.
What happens if my back injury claim is not accepted by the workers compensation insurer?
If the injury is not accepted by the workers’ compensation insurer, then the injured worker has the option of commencing review proceedings through WorkCover Western Australia, the workers compensation tribunal in Western Australia.
Foyle Legal can help you with your back injury compensation claims
If you have suffered a back injury in the course of your work then Foyle Legal Compensation Lawyers can assist you with your personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis, and at Foyle Legal your first consultation is obligation free. You can contact Foyle Legal on 0408 727 343, by email on email@example.com or through our website.