If you have been injured at work you may be entitled to compensation to cover lost income and current and future expenses related to your treatment and healing from the injury, but if your work-related injury is a reoccurrence of a pre-existing injury you may be wondering if you are still eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Generally speaking, it is possible to make a claim for WorkCover entitlements on a pre-existing injury. Here is what you need to know about eligibility requirements and the process for making a claim for compensation.
What does WorkCover say about pre-existing injuries?
According to WorkCover legislation, a worker is entitled to receive compensation if they suffer from a “recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any pre-existing injury or disease” if it is found that their work significantly contributed to the aggravation.
My original injury occurred at home. Does this matter?
If your injury first occurred somewhere outside of the workplace and/or while you were not undertaking your work it will have no bearing on the outcome of your claim. What matters is the current injury, where it occurred and the events that led to the aggravation of the injury. To be entitled to receive WorkCover entitlements your injury must have occurred in your place of work during the course of your regular employment, and you must be able to prove that it was while undertaking your work that the injury was aggravated.
What if my injury occurred while working from home?
If, during a period of working from home, your injury was aggravated during the course of your regular employment you should be entitled to receive WorkCover payments, however, each case is reviewed individually, and you should seek the advice of a legal professional who can help you to understand your unique position.
My pre-existing injury was also sustained at work. Am I eligible for WorkCover again?
In cases where a pre-existing injury was sustained at work and you have already received WorkCover entitlements for it, a new claim relating to the aggravated injury may not be necessary. It is possible to seek a reinstatement of the claim on the initial injury through the WorkCover Insurer. Occasionally, WorkCover will prefer that an entirely new claim is lodged.
Sometimes an old work injury is aggravated outside of the injured worker’s course of employment. For example, a pre-existing back injury sustained on a work site might flare up while the worker is gardening in their own home on the weekend. In cases like this, it is unlikely that the worker will be eligible for further WorkCover entitlements because the aggravation occurred outside of the worker’s regular duties.
What can I do if WorkCover rejects my claim on a pre-existing injury?
It is possible to bring a common law claim against your employer (as opposed to a claim for WorkCover), however, you would need to be able to prove that you are suffering from a serious injury that was caused either by your employer’s fault or negligence.
A court would consider your condition before and after the pre-existing injury and in the time prior to the aggravation of the pre-existing injury to determine if the two injuries can be separated. You will also be required to prove that the aggravation of your current injury (not the pre-existing injury) was a direct result of negligence by your employer.
If you have sustained an injury during the course of your regular work, including the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and you would like to understand your eligibility to make a claim for compensation, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers.