Separovic Injury Lawyers Blog

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

What changes does the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 bring?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 25 August 2020 14:51:54 AWST

Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching impacts on our lifestyle, health system, economy and governance. In Western Australia the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 (“The Bill”) was introduced into Parliament on 24 June 2020. The Bill was successfully passed through West Australian Parliament on 13 August 2020. The Bill provides various amendments to the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (“The Act”) and will come into operation as soon as it receives Royal Assent.


The Bill is focused on easing the burden of West Australian health care workers who contract the COVID-19 virus and need access to workers’ compensation entitlements. The Bill does, however, also introduce a number of other significant developments in how West Australian workers’ compensation claims are managed. Here, most importantly is the removal of the ‘Termination Day’ or deadline by which an injured worker must elect to pursue a common law damages claim.

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Tags: Workers' Compensation

Can my employment be terminated while I am on workers’ compensation?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 12 August 2020 16:07:25 AWST

Workers' compensation claims and job security.

Anecdotally, it is reasonable to say that most of us have heard horror stories about the treatment of injured workers while they are on workers’ compensation. These accounts often involve the employer terminating the injured worker, the insurer demanding that the worker provide a voluntary resignation, the employer or insurer pushing the injured worker back to work before their symptoms have resolved or general ridicule being directed at the injured worker by management or colleagues.


The workers’ compensation system in Western Australia generally functions well and arguably outperforms the systems of other Australian states and territories. Notwithstanding this, the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (“The Act”) provides injured workers’ with a minimal level of job protection and leaves them exposed to various strategies that are used by employers and insurers to terminate the employment of injured workers.  


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Tags: Workers' Compensation

What is a workers' compensation conciliation conference at WorkCover?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 07 November 2019 16:25:58 AWST

What is WorkCover?

WorkCover WA regulates West Australia's workers' compensation and injury management scheme. WorkCover's mission is ensure that work related injuries are effectively and efficiently managed so that injured workers are able to make a safe and sustainable return to work. The West Australian workers' compensation system is the largest privately underwritten scheme in Australia and involves insurance being provided by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, 8 commercial insurers and 24 self-insuring entities.

WorkCover is funded by a levy on the workers’ compensation insurance premiums paid by West Australian employers and levies on approved self-insured employers.

WorkCover plays a number of key roles for the West Australian government. Here, for example WorkCover provides the government with strategic policy direction regarding work injury matters and workers' compensation. It also ensures that employers and service providers comply with the Workers' Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (“the Act”). Another important role that WorkCover plays is to provide a independent dispute resolution service for workers, their employers and the employer’s insurer. In the 2017 / 2018 financial year WorkCover was involved in coordinating and convening 2,035 conciliation conferences and 578 arbitrations in regards to disputes between workers' compensation claimants and insurers. 

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Tags: Workers' Compensation

Is retraining available through the workers' compensation system?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 04 November 2019 16:16:00 AWST

Are retraining programs provided as part of a workers' compensation claim?

It is possible for injured workers to access specialised retraining programs during their workers’ compensation claim. In these case the insurer must have admitted liability in the worker’s compensation claim. The injured worker must meet specific eligibility criteria in order to be considered for a retraining program. These programs allow workers who are unable to return to their pre-injury employment to complete particular vocational training or tertiary studies. Retraining programs are accessible only while the workers' compensation claim is live and before it has been settled. Access to specialised retraining programs cannot not be built into any settlement agreement so if the workers' compensation claim is settled the retraining program will cease.
The eligibility criteria is strict and the application process is relatively complex. To ensure that you have the best chance of accessing a retraining program during your workers’ compensation claim, we suggest that you obtain legal advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer.

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Tags: Workers' Compensation

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

Employer's cannot avoid paying workers' compensation.

Posted by Tony Separovic on 20 July 2018 16:02:59 AWST

Worrying trends in workers' compensation claims. 

Employers are required to meet many financial and legislative obligations in order to run a successful business. Prosecution results published by WorkCover WA suggest that employers are increasingly attempting a range of tactics to avoid the responsibilities imposed on them by the Workers' Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 ("the Act").      


Many employees who have been injured or become sick at work are not aware that employers are simply not able to avoid their workers' compensation liabilities and risk significant fines, legal proceedings and conviction if they do.


Workers' compensation - what is it?

If you sustain an injury at work or suffer a work related illness you may be entitled to make a claim for workers' compensation. To make a claim you must be defined as a worker, however, the Act relies on a wide definition of the term 'worker' and includes full-time, part-time, casual and seasonal workers on a wage or salary. Workers' compensation includes payments for financial loss, treatment expenses, medical and rehabilitation expenses and travel and lodging expenses.


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Tags: Personal Injury Compensation, Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation claims – how are they assessed?

Posted by Tony Separovic on 26 June 2018 13:29:27 AWST

Once an employee has lodged a Workers' Compensation Claim form and a First Certificate of Capacity with their employer, the employer has 5 working days to lodge these documents with their insurer. The insurer is then required to make a determination regarding the claim and notify the employee within 14 days of receiving the claim form.

Unfortunately many employees making workers' compensation claims are unaware of the legal protections that should be provided to them by their employers and workers' compensation insurers.


What if my employer does not lodge my workers' compensation claim with the insurer?

The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) ("the Act") requires the employer to forward your Workers' Compensation Claim form and First Certificate of Capacity to its insurer within 5 working days of having first received these documents. If the employer does not comply it risks being fined by WorkCover's compliance division.  


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Tags: Workers' Compensation

Injured at work? Make a workers' compensation claim.

Posted by Tony Separovic on 19 February 2018 15:03:57 AWST

Workers' compensation claims - an introduction. 

Work related accidents and illnesses can be a cause of deep personal embarrassment and anxiety. Historically, Australian workplace culture has not necessarily looked after the best interests of workers and workers have had to ‘tough it out’ or ‘suck it up’ when dealing with work injuries or illnesses. This is a significant societal problem as workers’ compensation can be claimed in regards to most work-related injuries or illnesses.


Who can make a 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. The legislation provides a very broad definition as to who is a ‘worker’. Most of us are unaware that you can make a claim for workers’ compensation if you:

  • work full-time, part-time or casually; 
  • work seasonally or on commission;
  • work for a wage or a salary;
  • are an overseas worker;
  • are over the age of 65;
  • are employed in Western Australia but your work related incident occurred interstate or overseas; or
  • if you resigned from, were terminated or made redundant by the enterprise where you suffered your injury or illness.


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Tags: Workers' Compensation

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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