Sustaining an Injury and Making a Claim: Far From a Free Ride by Rod Draper

So, your injured and off work, living on an insurance payment. Let’s take a moment to discuss what this may look like.,

If your injury is the result of a workplace incident or accident on the way to/ from work, then your covered by workers’ compensation insurance through Workcover Qld (WCQ), or receipts from your employer if they’re a registered self-insurer. These payments will likely start at the acceptance of your claim and be equal to your full-time wage (for the first few months) and after a while the payments will get less and less until; at the 2-year mark and then drop down to single pension rate, at the time of writing (Sept 2022) was $936.80/ fortnight.

However, you don’t just get money, you must comply with the act and that means do as WCQ asks you in terms of facilitating your rehabilitation and return to work and mitigating your loss. This may come in the first instance in answering a series of questions and assessments from all sorts of people:  insurers, lawyers, specialists, G.Ps, allied health practitioners and rehabilitation and employment specialists. You have to sign a series of consent forms for all the above mentioned to store, share and release information about you, your work and work history, your injury and comorbidities, your drinking, eating, and medication regimes among many, many others.

Injury is anything but a free ride. If you’re asked to attend a medical review or treatment; you’re expected to do so, if you don’t, you could be found to be non-compliant, and payments stopped. WCQ is an insurance company wholly owned by the Qld state government and run by workers’ unions. I say that because the CEO is an x CFMEU office holder, and every member of the board are serving or x office bearers of workers’ unions. Reading this, you might think that this would tilt the scales toward the worker – not in my experience, not by a large margin.

The other side to this is injury outside the work area whereas you will either claim against an insurance policy like; Income protection (IP) / salary continuance policy that is attached to your super or that you have had the foresight to set up individually, TPD if your injury is severe and totally disabling, or Centrelink payments (the least attractive). Always check with your insurers to determine what insurances you have attached to your super. Up until a short while ago, these were mandatory but now workers have to ask for them. IP has a waiting period of between 2 to 12 weeks, TPD doesn’t pay income, but a lump sum paid at intervals over a 5 year period, CTP also doesn’t pay income but damages occurred by a third party driver. 

The take home of this passage is that injury is no fun and can be very difficult in both personal and monetary terms. My advice,

  1. Check you super and other insurances to make sure you have some type of salary continuance cover
  2. Always make a claim
  3. Consult a litigator, choosing a lawyer is another mine field, so be aware and you might find you need a lawyer’s advice on choosing a litigator.

For more information and to book an appointment with Rod or be part of his rehab advocacy group email:  rod@injuryrehab.net.au

Rod Draper

Rod has an extensive background in construction with a degree in economics. And for the last 6 years he has worked as a rehab counsellor with a Masters in Rehab counselling.

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