One of the easiest ways to compromise your workers’ compensation claim is to fail to report the accident when it happens. In our experience most people don’t report the accident because they believe the injury is minor and they will recover quickly or they are fearful of losing their job.
When you delay reporting the claim until after the weekend especially if there are no witnesses to your accident you have given the insurance company the perfect excuse to deny liability for your claim.
We have also acted for people who were told by the employer that they are not entitled to claim workers’ compensation because they did not report the accident immediately. In Western Australia the law allows a worker 12 months from the date of the injury to lodge a claim for workers’ compensation.
We recently acted for a client who injured her back at work on a Friday afternoon. After the week-end she returned to work on the Monday and notified her employer. She was sent to the company doctor that day who said it was just a muscle strain and she was certified as fit for full duties. Our client did not make a claim because her employer told her that it would increase the workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Our client continued working whilst self -medicating. When the pain did not subside, she attended her own doctor and underwent an MRI which showed a bulging disc. After a period of six months the pain became so bad that our client was not able to continue working. At that point she made a claim for workers’ compensation. The insurance company sent our client to a doctor of its choice who stated that the she had recovered from the workplace injury and the cause of her ongoing symptoms was due to a pre-existing condition. The insurance company denied liability for the claim on the basis of the doctor’s report.
Our client was terminated from her employment as she could not complete her work duties. She was forced to apply for Centrelink and was put on the public waiting list as she required back surgery.
We filed an application at Workcover and we were able to negotiate a settlement for most of the money our client had lost as a result of the back injury. Of course, the settlement did not compensate our client for the distress of having had the claimed denied in the first place and the subsequent financial stress from being forced to claim Centrelink.
If you need legal advice Call Perth City Legal on 9486 8088 for a free confidential consultation.