Separovic Injury Lawyers Blog

Removal of the Workers’ Compensation Termination Date

Posted by Tony Separovic on 09 October 2020 13:22:14 AWST

At last - legislative relief for injured workers

Recent changes to West Australian workers’ compensation legislation, have for the first time in many years, stripped away a statutory obstacle that was a major impediment to injured workers accessing their legal rights and obtaining a sense of justice.

 

Over the last 20 years, various repressive legislative changes enacted in the states and territories of Australia have impacted adversely on the ability of injured workers to access common law rights and legal damages. Separovic Injury Lawyers views the workers’ compensation legislative framework in West Australia as very unsatisfactory.

 

Here, in particular the imposition of a tight deadline by which the injured worker must confirm that they intend on making a common law claim means that claimants are often prohibited from making a common law claim or receive less compensation than they deserve. Further to this, being prohibited from making a common law claim by an arbitrary and nonsensical deadline robs deserving claimants of their common law rights and it could be argued that this is an impost on our democratic process.      

 

After watching the legal rights and access to justice of injured victims be steadily eroded over time, this legislative change is a very significant ‘breath of fresh air’ for workers’ compensation claimants and plaintiff injury lawyers in West Australia. The removal of the ‘Termination Date’ by which an injured worker must confirm that they intend to make a common law claim is the first improvement to the legal rights and access to compensation enjoyed by West Australian workers in memory. 

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Tags: Work Accidents, Workers' Compensation

I am on workers’ compensation. Do I have to do a return to work program?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 25 September 2020 14:27:35 AWST

Most workplace injuries involve medical treatment and rehabilitation programs that are provided to the injured worker over many months and sometimes years. In each workers’ compensation claim it is hoped that the injured worker responds positively to their treatment and over time, regains the ability to work. Once an injured worker regains some capacity for work,  they must participate in a rehabilitation return to work program, that usually involves starting with an appropriate and suitable part time work trial gradually building up hours in either the pre-accident job or an alternative lighter job. All rehabilitation work trials must be approved by the worker’s GP. Importantly, it is not a matter for the employer or insurer to determine when or how a worker can or should go back to work. This is a medical decision which is made usually by the worker’s GP or treating specialist.

 

Over the years, Separovic Injury Lawyers have seen return to work programs become a major source of conflict between injured workers, the employer and their insurers. These conflicts often arise where the worker is pressured to return to work before they are physically or mentally ready to do so. Often in these cases, the injured worker may still be suffering from pain or discomfort caused by the work injury. Alternatively, the employee could be in a situation where the work trial is aggravating their injury, but they think they are legally obliged to push on, based on what they are being told by the insurer, employer or rehabilitation provider.  

 

Generally, the employer or their insurer is keen to have the worker return to work as soon as possible after the accident and thereby be in a position to stop paying weekly payments of compensation as soon as possible.

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Tags: Work Accidents, Workers' Compensation

I am on workers’ compensation. Do I have to attend medical examinations?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 07 September 2020 17:34:26 AWST

Injured workers entering the West Australian workers’ compensation system often become frustrated by a lack of information surrounding medical appointments and examinations. Requests to attend medical appointments, usually to be reviewed by a medical specialist  can come from the worker’s employer, their insurer or the worker’s plaintiff injury lawyer. The medical reviews that these parties may request the worker to attend are for the purpose of obtaining medical evidence, in the form of medical reports. This evidence is used for various legal purposes relating to the management of the worker’s claim for compensation. The medical evidence obtained through these examinations can determine whether a worker’s weekly payments should be discontinued, whether the worker could return to work, the level of impairment resulting from the injury, how much lump sum compensation the worker could be paid and whether the worker could make an industrial negligence claim. Not attending or obstructing a medical appointment requested by the employer or their insurer can result in a range of consequences for an injured worker, the most serious of which includes the suspension of the worker’s right to claim compensation & in particular ongoing weekly payments of workers compensation.   

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Tags: Work Accidents, Workers' Compensation

Workplace bullying and workers' compensation stress claims.

Posted by Tony Separovic on 15 November 2019 17:02:26 AWST

Instances of workplace bullying have been increasing over time.

Instances of bullying in the workplace have risen dramatically in Australia in recent times. In 2012, in response to mounting community concern, the Australian Government established a parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying. The findings of the inquiry led to the creation of a specific bullying jurisdiction within the Fair Work Commission. Disturbingly, Safe Work Australia data confirms that workplace injuries related to bullying and harassment have nearly doubled in Australia over the past decade.

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Tags: Work Accidents

Form 36 Notice to Worker About Termination Date for Election.

Posted by Tony Separovic on 11 July 2019 17:06:08 AWST

What is a 'Form 36 Notice to Worker About Termination Date for Election'?

If liability in your workers' compensation claim has been admitted, a Form 36 Notice to Worker About Termination Date For Election should be sent to you by your employer or their insurer. The purpose of the Form 36 Termination Date Notice is to inform you that, if you intend to make a common law damages claim, you must elect to do so prior to the Termination Date. The Form 36 Termination Date Notice is sent approximately 26 weeks before the Termination Date. 

 

A Termination Date sounds scary. What does it really mean?

Put simply, the Termination Date is the date, 12 months from the date on which the injured worker lodged their workers' compensation claim with their employer. Particular importance is placed on the Termination Date as it is the date by which you must elect to pursue a common law claim against your employer.

 

Contrary to common misconceptions the Termination Date is not:

  • the date when injured workers that are receiving workers' compensation are terminated from their employment;
  • the date when injured workers receiving regular workers' compensation payments have their payments cut;
  • the date when a workers' compensation claim is settled or finalised; or
  • the date by which all treatment in regards to a workers' compensation claim must be completed.
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Tags: Work Accidents, Personal Injury Compensation, Workers' Compensation

Suffering work related stress or other mental health issues?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 14 March 2018 10:46:27 AWST

Workers' compensation and work related stress, anxiety and other mental health complaints.  

Many Australian's find talking about work related stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns embarrassing. Australian's generally, have a reputation for being healthy, happy, hardworking, sports loving and resilient people. Contrary to this reputation, many Australian workplaces do not provide a safe and healthy environment for workers.

 

A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that 20% of suicides in Australia are work related and that between 20% and 30% of workers will suffer from a serious mental illness at some point in their career.

This is a huge social problem which is estimated to cost the Australian economy $12 billion a year. Unfortunately, many workers are unaware that compensation can be claimed in regards to most work-related mental illness.

 

Work related stress or mental illness. Can I make a workers' compensation claim?

The West Australian workers’ compensation scheme aims to help workers return to work after suffering from a work-related illness or injury and compensates workers for lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, medicines, travel and legal expenses while they are unable to work. If you have suffered from stress, anxiety, depression or other mental illness due to actions, events or exposures that occurred in the workplace you can make a claim for compensation. Safe Work Australia has highlighted the following key causes of mental stress in the workplace:   

 

  • Work pressure—mental stress arising from work responsibilities and workloads, deadlines, organisational restructure, workplace conflicts and workplace performance or promotion issues.
  • Work-related harassment &/or workplace bullying—repetitive assault and/or threatened assault by a work colleague or colleagues; and repetitive verbal harassment, threats, and abuse from a work colleague or colleagues.
  • Exposure to workplace or occupational violence—includes being the victim of assault by a person or persons who may or may not be work colleagues; and being a victim of or witnessing bank robberies, hold-ups and other violent events.
  • Exposure to traumatic event—disorders arising from witnessing a fatal or other incident.
  • Suicide or attempted suicide—includes all suicides regardless of circumstances of death and all attempted suicides.
  • Other mental stress factors—includes dietary or deficiency diseases (Bulimia, Anorexia).
  • Other harassment—being the victim of sexual or racial harassment by a person or persons including work colleague/s (SafeWorkAustralia).


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Tags: Work Accidents

Welcome to the Separovic Injury Lawyers Blog

We will share interesting, informative and up to date information and resources about personal injury compensation law in Western Australia, covering the following topics:

  • claiming Road Accident Compensation;
  • claiming Workers' Compensation;
  • claiming Work Accident Injury Common Law Damages arising from an unsafe workplace or a negligent act; 
  • claiming Public Liability Compensation;
  • claiming Criminal Injury Compensation;
  • developments in personal injury case law; 
  • coping with a personal injury and accessing medical and other services;
  • legislative change and its impact on personal injury compensation; and
  • useful resources to assist you in dealing with doctors, lawyers and the claims process.

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