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WorkCover and Workers Compensation Lawyers Cairns

Cairns owned and operated workers compensation lawyer.

WorkCover and Workers Compensation Lawyers Cairns

WorkCover Lawyers Cairns

No Win No Fee Lawyers. No Hidden Costs.

If you have suffered an injury at work or your WorkCover claim has been rejected, get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

If you have been in an accident at work and have sustained an injury in Cairns or anywhere else in Queensland, you are entitled to make a WorkCover injury claim for compensation in almost every case. WorkCover (the Queensland Government-owned insurer) provides insurance to almost every employer in Queensland. It is designed to deliver compensation for injured workers, employees, contractors, and labour-hire personnel in circumstances where they are injured at work, in connection with their work, or travelling to and from work in Queensland.

Workers Compensation Queensland is generally broken into two categories:

  1. Statutory Compensation; and
  2. Lump Sum or Common Law Compensation.

Statutory compensation is payable irrespective of whether the injured employee was at fault for the accident. This ‘no-fault’ payment can cover things such as a percentage of your wages whilst you are off work receiving medical treatment or recovering. Any potential treatment costs associated with an injury can also be covered.

Lump sum or common law compensation is only payable by WorkCover in specific circumstances. This is where it can be demonstrated that the employer, or another employee caused or contributed to the incident which resulted in injury to the employee.

Like most areas of personal injury law, there is a strict and complicated regime which dictates the way an injury claim for workers compensation must be made. If you have been injured or know of someone who has been injured at, or travelling to and from work, we strongly recommend that you contact our injury lawyers for a no-obligation free initial claim assessment.

If you have received an offer from WorkCover, we strongly recommend you get legal advice before accepting it. 

For more information about the WorkCover claim process, please see our frequently asked questions below, or contact our Cairns office.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much compensation will I be entitled to?

The amount of compensation you are entitled to depends largely upon whether you are making a statutory claim for compensation or a common law lump sum claim.

In the case of statutory compensation, you will be entitled to receive a portion of the wages you have lost on account of your injuries. In addition, you will be compensated for the costs of your medical treatment and a modest cash sum calculated in accordance with a statutory formula.

It is important to note that if you accept the cash sum, you will be unable to proceed with making a common law claim. We strongly encourage everyone who receives a cash offer as part of a statutory compensation claim to urgently obtain legal advice before deciding whether to accept or reject the offer.

In most cases, an employee will be entitled to receive significantly more compensation via a lump sum or common law claim provided they are able to demonstrate fault on behalf of their employer which caused or contributed to their injury. Under this form of lump-sum compensation, a worker is entitled to monetary compensation for:

  1. Their pain and suffering
  2. All loss of wages and superannuation (plus interest) from the date of their injury to the date they receive compensation
  3. An allowance for the likely future loss of wages and superannuation
  4. All past and future medical costs
  5. In certain cases, an amount to compensate for the time that family or friends have spent helping care for the injured worker; and
  6. Legal services and costs (but on a limited basis).

Contact our personal injury lawyers, for a no-obligation free initial claim assessment to see if you are entitled to compensation.

What is the process for making a claim?

Deciding whether you intend to pursue a claim for statutory benefits or common law lump sum benefits is the first step in the claims process. This determines which forms you need to complete and what other steps you need to take in order to achieve the maximum compensation in the shortest possible timeframe.   

Claiming Statutory Compensation

In the case of statutory insurance, there is a relatively simple form which is available from WorkCover’s website that needs to be filled out as soon as possible after the injury is sustained or comes to your attention. Remember, in some cases injuries can be caused over a period of time, such as repetitive strain injuries that will not necessarily be attributable to a specific incident. Once the form is filled out and submitted to WorkCover, WorkCover will generally accept the claim and commence paying statutory benefits immediately. In the event that WorkCover rejects the form or ceases the payment of statutory benefits, you will need to seek urgent legal advice to understand what rights of review you have in respect of WorkCover’s decision to reject or cease paying compensation. 

Claiming A Lump Sum Compensation

The process of claiming lump sum compensation commences upon completion of a Notice of Claim via the approved form. The Notice must be submitted to WorkCover within three years of the date of injury being suffered or, in limited circumstances, another period of time.

Once the Notice of Claim is submitted, WorkCover will typically appoint one of their panel lawyers to investigate the circumstances described in the Notice of Claim.

Within six months of receipt of the Notice of Claim, WorkCover will provide a formal response to the worker’s Lawyer. This response will advise whether WorkCover accepts liability for the claim, denies liability for the claim, or accepts liability in part.

Once WorkCover’s response has been received, the injured person will undertake one or more independent medical examinations by a qualified medical practitioner to report on the nature of their injuries.  In conjunction with obtaining independent medical evidence, our compensation lawyers help you to collate all information relevant to our client’s claim such as:

  • Medical records
  • Financial documentation
  • Out of pocket expenses; and
  • Statements and advice from colleagues, witnesses and firm members.

Generally, statements and advice cover the circumstances of the accident, the nature and extent of the injuries that our client has suffered. They can also include the impacts that the injuries have had on our client’s day to day life.

Once all the independent medical evidence and all relevant information and documentation has been obtained and disclosed to WorkCover, a compulsory conference will generally be convened. This can either be done directly or via a Barrister. The purpose of the compulsory conference is to present your case to WorkCover’s Lawyers with a view of seeking to negotiate a suitable settlement.

If negotiations are successful (our success rate is over 85%), an appropriate amount of compensation will be agreed, and you will enter into a Deed of Settlement with WorkCover. Compensation is then generally paid within 30 days.

On the rare occasion that a claim is not settled at the compulsory conference, the next step is to commence legal proceedings in the appropriate Court and engage in mediation.

Mediation is similar to a compulsory conference in that it is a formal meeting between WorkCover’s Lawyers and your team. They generally include a Barrister retained on your behalf. During mediation you will seek to further negotiate an appropriate payment to compensate you for injuries that you have suffered. 

The major difference between a compulsory conference and mediation is that mediation is supervised by an independent senior Barrister (often a Queens Counsel). The Barrister is engaged by both WorkCover and you to act independently. Their goal is to seek to broker a negotiated settlement of your claim.

As of 30 June 2017, all our client’s claims have settled at or before a mediation and it has never been necessary for us to take a worker’s compensation claim to trial. That said, if a claim does not settle at either a compulsory conference or mediation, the matter will progress to trial before a Judge. The judge will ultimately determine whether WorkCover is liable to compensate you and, if so, how much compensation you are entitled to.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Yes!!!

Strict time limits apply to the making of a worker’s compensation claim. In almost every case you are required to bring a worker’s compensation claim within three years of the date of the accident or injury being suffered. In some cases, it can be very difficult to ascertain precisely when an injury is suffered as some injuries (such as repetitive strain injuries) occur over a period of time. In these circumstances, the three-year period starts from when you first see a doctor about the injury. 

How much does it cost to make a claim ?

Cairns Compensation Lawyers take all workers compensation claims on a no win no fee basis.

This means that not only will we not charge you anything up front, we will also pay any costs that are associated with your claim. We will cover expenses such as independent medical report costs and disbursements such as Barristers (if they will not act on a no win no fee basis) or expert reports.

If your claim is successful, fees are payable based on the amount of work done in respect to the claim and more importantly the time spent by our team.  Prior to every resolution event (such as a compulsory conference and/or a mediation), we provide our clients with up-to-date costs to that point in time. This is so you can make decisions in respect to any offers that are made and understand precisely how much you will have in your ‘back pocket’.

How long does it take to make a claim?

As a rule of thumb, it takes us 12 months from the first meeting we have with you to having a compulsory conference where most of our client’s claims are settled. In rare cases or in circumstances where our client has suffered very significant injuries, this process can take longer. Our lawyers' experience means we are generally able to give you an assessment of how long we think the process will take at our initial meeting.

Is stress leave covered by WorkCover?

If you are suffering from work-related stress, you may be entitled to compensation either through WorkCover or through a Common Law Lump Sum claim. To be successful in making a claim, you need to be able to prove you have work-related psychological injury such as stress, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a no-obligation free initial claim assessment to see if you are entitled to compensation.

I’m a casual worker, am I covered by WorkCover?

Yes. Casual workers have the same legal rights as permanent employees when it comes to making a WorkCover claim. Whilst you may face more job uncertainty, if you injure yourself and are unable to work, you have the same protection via WorkCover. Talk to our compensation lawyers in Cairns to understand what you could be entitled to.

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