FAQs

WorkCover FAQ

If an injury, illness, or condition you have suffered is in any way connected to your work then you may be entitled to WorkCover Benefits. If an injury happens due to the duties that you perform at work on a specific day then it is easy to see that an injury is work related.

Often injuries do not arise on a single day but build up over time due to the work that you do from day to day. “Over the course of employment” injuries are very common. Sometimes your Doctor will be able to identify whether your injury is due to the type of work that you can do. A lawyer can assist you in completing your WorkCover Claim Form to clearly indicate that your injury has occurred over time.

Sometimes workers are required to do work duties outside of normal work hours and the usual place of business, but if those duties are work related and you are injured you are still entitled to WorkCover. A classic example is getting work tools or other items out of your car at home.

To make a claim you should:

  • Report the injury to someone in authority at work.  If there is an Injury Register at work, make sure you report it there.  Whatever you do, make sure the report is in writing and get a copy of the written report.  The report should be made within 30 days.
  • See your doctor, and obtain a WorkCover medical certificate for up to 14 days if you cannot work.
  • Complete a WorkCover claim for compensation, and give it to your employer.  Claim forms are available from post offices, from us and from the Victorian WorkCover Authority at worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Your employer passes your claim on to the WorkCover insurer, unless it is a minor claim (a minor claim is when you are expected to be off work 10 days or less or your medical expenses are expected to be minimal).

The insurer has 28 days from when it receives your claim from your employer to make a decision.  During this time, it is likely that the insurer will send you to a doctor who will provide a report to help the insurer to decide your claim.

If your claim is rejected, or there is a delay in a decision being made, you can refer your claim to Conciliation.

WorkCover pay a variety of benefits if you’re injured at work:

Weekly Payments

A weekly wage calculated on what you were earning prior to injury is payable.

There are different rules that apply to the rates of pay that are payable and for the length of time that you can receive payments after injury.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses for medical appointments, treatments and medication, provided they are reasonable and are related to your injury, are payable. Other costs that you may have (such as gardening, home help, car modification, and the like) may also be paid by WorkCover following injury.

Lump Sum Compensation

If your injury is long term WorkCover may pay a lump sum of compensation to you.

You may be entitled to an Impairment claim and, if your injury is “serious” and someone else is responsible for it, you may be entitled to a common law payment for pain and suffering and loss of income.

Your lawyer can help you with these benefits.

Special rules apply for workers injured while working casual hours. It’s important that the rate of pay is done correctly at the start of a claim as the rate of pay assigned by Workcover is the base figure applied to all weekly wages received from Workcover.

The rate of pay is known as PIAWE or pre-injury average weekly earnings.

A PIAWE calculation for casual workers can be difficult to determine or check whether WorkCover has calculated it fairly.

You must have all wage slips/payment summaries and pay rates that you can find for the 12 months before injury when calculating the correct rate that should apply. If you have worked for less than 12 months with your employer then you need just those that cover the period of time before an injury.

Second jobs should also be included, though the number of hours they allow per week can be capped.

Shift allowance and Overtime

These wage supplements should also be included in a PIAWE calculation, with the average of each over the 12 months previous being included in the PIAWE rate of pay.

Incorrect calculation

Workcover get PIAWE calculations wrong regularly. If a rate of pay is wrong it is very easy to appeal and your lawyer can assist with this.

If you have a long term injury you may have a Permanent Impairment. What level of Impairment you have directly correlates to how much compensation you are entitled to.

Firstly, you must wait at least 12 months after your injury to see what Impairment you may have.

Once you make a claim WorkCover will first assess your Impairment in accordance with prescribed Guides. You are entitled to appeal this Impairment rating.

Arnold Dallas McPherson are experts in advising as to appropriate Impairment ratings taking into account the symptoms and treatment a client has had and how the Guides relate to them. We strongly recommend you seek advice of experts in this area when pursuing an Impairment Claim.

If you have a “serious injury” then yes, you can.

Where injuries are long term and serious you can make a claim for loss of income and pain and suffering damages. But you must be able to prove that your injury was someone else’s fault, either your employer or someone else.

You need Specialist Legal Advice to pursue a claim against someone for compensation. Arnold Dallas McPherson can advise you of your chances of making a successful claim and guide you through the process.

Insurers often simply don’t respond to a request you or your Doctor has made to them.

It is very frustrating when they simply won’t get back to you. Following these easy steps will ensure any delay in responding will not be protracted –

  • Make sure any request you or your Doctor make of the insurer, such as for treatment or home help, is done via fax or email.
  • Keep a copy of the request and confirmation that it was received.
  • Diarise for 28 days to see if there has been a response.
  • If there has been no response lodge a Conciliation request.

A non-response Conciliation request usually is enough to prompt the Insurer to attending to the request, but you must be able to prove that they got the request in the first place.

Conciliation

Any decision made by a WorkCover insurer may be referred to conciliation. Conciliation is meant to be a process controlled by the independent conciliator which allows discussion of the dispute. The conciliator helps you to find a way to resolve the dispute, but has only limited powers to make a binding decision.

You do not need a lawyer to go to conciliation, but you may find it helpful. You may want to take a friend with you.

What you need to do is:

  1. Within 60 days of the decision being notified to you, complete a Request for Conciliation form.
  2. Send the form and any medical reports supporting you, and a short written summary of what should happen and why, to the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service.
  3. A date for a conciliation meeting will be set, and you will be notified.

We can assist you:

  • to lodge the conciliation request;
  • to obtain all relevant material and file it with the Conciliation Service;
  • by attending conciliation with you.

If you are not happy with a conciliation outcome, seek legal advice. You may be able to take the dispute to court for a decision.

Can I appeal to Court?

YesIf conciliation is unsuccessful, you may issue proceedings in the Magistrates Court or County Court.

Sometimes medical questions are referred from conciliation or Court to a Medical Panel.  A Medical Panel is made up of a number of doctors who will read the documentation, examine you and make a decision on the medical question which is then binding on the parties and on the Court.

TAC FAQ

A person can generally make a claim from the TAC if they are injured in a motor vehicle accident, due to the driving, or in certain circumstances, the use of, a motor vehicle. The definition of “motor vehicle” is quite broad, and can include a variety of transport, such as cars, trains, buses and even some industrial vehicles.

There are some exceptions to this, such as unregistered vehicles being driven off road, or lighter motorised transport such as mobility scooters, though advice should be sought from your solicitor at Arnold Dallas McPherson if any vehicle has been involved in your injury.

In order to make a claim from the TAC, you should call the TAC directly on 1300 654 329. You will then speak to a person there who will complete a claim form for you.

You have one year to lodge a TAC claim after your motor vehicle accident. There are certain circumstances in which this can be extended, however the safest course is to call the TAC and begin the claims process within one year of the date of your accident.

The circumstances in which this period can be extended are complicated and if you are beyond the one-year period, you should contact us as soon as possible for advice.

Loss of Earnings/Income replacement

A weekly wage calculated on what you were earning prior to injury is payable.

There are different rules that apply to the rates of pay that are payable and for the length of time that you can receive payments after injury. Complicating factors, such as sporadic or self-employment, or multiple jobs can make this calculation difficult.

TAC do not always get this calculation right. Your lawyer will be able to advise you in relation to such payments as they apply to you personally.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses and other similar costs that you may have are paid by TAC following injury. This can extend to a range of assistance, including gardening, home and car modifications, aids and appliances.

Lump Sum Compensation and Damages

If your injury is significant and permanent TAC may pay a lump sum of compensation to you.

You may be entitled to an Impairment claim and, if you have a ‘serious injury’ and someone else is at fault, a common law damages claim for pain and suffering and loss of income.

Your lawyer can help you with these benefits.

If you have a long term injury you may have a Permanent Impairment. What level of Impairment you have directly correlates to how much compensation you are entitled to.

Firstly, you must wait at least 12 months after your injury to see what Impairment you may have. This is to allow you to stabilise from your injuries.

Once you have stabilised from your injuries, your lawyer at Arnold Dallas McPherson in concert with the TAC will arrange for assessment of your Impairment in accordance with specific Guidelines.

Arnold Dallas McPherson are experts in advising as to appropriate Impairment ratings taking into account the symptoms and treatment a client has had and how the Guidelines relate to them. We strongly recommend you seek advice of experts in this area when pursuing an Impairment Claim.

If you have a “serious injury” then yes, you can.

Where injuries are long term and serious you can make a claim for loss of income and pain and suffering damages. But you must be able to prove that your injury was someone else’s fault, either the other driver or someone else.

You need Specialist legal advice to pursue a claim against someone for damages. Arnold Dallas McPherson can advise you of your chances of making a successful claim and guide you through the process.

It is difficult to know exactly what a person is entitled to in terms of damages until their case has been explored thoroughly.

Arnold Dallas McPherson is comprised by experienced solicitors who understand how damages are calculated in any given circumstance and will be able to advise you as your case progresses. Many of the solicitors at Arnold Dallas McPherson are Personal Injury Specialists, accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria.

Pain and suffering damages are calculated based upon the effects of your injuries on you as an individual. They depend on how any given injury, or injuries, affect your day-to-day life, home duties, hobbies, recreational activities, pain levels, sleep, mood and various other facets of your life.

How the injury affects you is the key factor.

Loss of income damages can be for your past loss of earnings and also sometimes for your future loss of earning capacity. This can be a wide ranging calculation depending on your age, education, skills, training and experience in the workforce, when looked at in the context of your injuries suffered and your resultant disability.

It will depend significantly on your personal circumstances as to what you might be entitled to.

Again, how the injury affects you is the key factor in this calculation.

Generally speaking, TAC will respond to your various enquiries or requests for medical treatment or reimbursement. However, on occasion there can be significant delays in any decisions made by the TAC.

The first thing to do is ensure that you continue to contact the TAC to make sure that they are paying attention to your issue. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

If they continue to not respond to you, you should contact your solicitor at Arnold Dallas McPherson to discuss what options there might be in engaging with the TAC regarding the issue at hand.

At various stages throughout a claim, the TAC may make a decision in relation to your entitlements that you do not agree with. At that stage, it is extremely important that you obtain legal advice regarding your options as soon as possible.

You only have one year to dispute any decision made by the TAC. This is a very strict time limit and it is not able to be extended.

Once you have a dispute with the TAC, however, there is a protocol process between the TAC and solicitors acting for injured persons that allows most matters to be resolved.

Depending on the nature of the matter, if agreement cannot be reached with the TAC, the matter can be referred to VCAT or in some instances a Court to resolve.

Even what you might consider relatively minor issues should be queried with your solicitor at Arnold Dallas McPherson as early as possible so as to ensure your rights are protected.

Asbestos FAQ
  • The most significant risk factor of contracting mesothelioma is by exposure to asbestos, more common when exposed to high levels of asbestos.
  • The law considers any exposure to asbestos someone may have had to have contributed to the development of the condition.
  • Therefore, if asbestos exposure can be established claims against former employers or manufacturers of asbestos products are easily made despite exposure often being decades before illness.

You can make a common law damages claim in Court if you are suffering from mesothelioma, seeking compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Shortened life expectancy;
  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Past and future care;
  • Loss of future earning capacity if you were still working at the time of your diagnosis.

It is hard to predict case by case, but ordinarily amounts of compensation made to people suffering from mesothelioma is in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It is important that you have a lawyer, like one of the team at Arnold Dallas McPherson, well experienced in maximising claims for asbestos related illnesses.

If you are suffering from a serious asbestos related illness, such as mesothelioma, claims are often made quickly through Court, as short as 3 months from the date court proceedings were commenced.

The Court orders claims for damages for mesothelioma to go through a Pre-Hearing Settlement Conference process which frequently allows the claim to be finalised prior to getting to a final Court Hearing.

These days, comparatively few asbestos cases run to a court hearing – most settle out of court.

If Arnold Dallas McPherson take on your claim to pursue damages due to a mesothelioma diagnosis then we would do so on a No – Win No – Fee basis.

In the event that you win or settle your claim it is common for the Defendant/s in an action to contribute substantially to legal costs. Any shortfall of costs that is likely to be payable by you will be fully explained to you prior to commencing the claim.

Yes it is likely that you can. If you have been diagnosed as suffering asbestosis it is likely you have been exposed to substantial levels of asbestos dust in your work during your lifetime.

It is usually possible to pursue a claim for damages you have suffered, including pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, due to exposure to asbestos.

Please contact us and we will readily be able to advise you of your chances of pursuing a claim for asbestosis.

 

Comcare FAQ

Comcare is the federal workers’ compensation scheme. It provides for workers employed by the Commonwealth Government via government departments and its related agencies, such as Telstra and Australia Post.

The system has also been extended to apply to workers who are employed by particular national companies of a non-government nature which have obtained special permission to operate as self-insurers under the Comcare laws. The list of companies includes National Australia Bank, Optus, Chubb Security and Linfox Armaguard. These national companies are called “licensees”.

If you suffer an injury at work you should report it to your employer as soon as possible. Often, the employer will provide you with the relevant form to complete.

Alternatively, seek the assistance of your union, and note also that PDF versions and electronic lodgement are available via Comcare’s website via this page.

Weekly Payments

A worker is entitled to full pay at the level of their Normal Weekly Earnings for a period of 45 weeks and at 75 % of such pay from then on. This entitlement continues to age 65 if the worker remains totally incapacitated.

The calculation of the Normal Weekly Earnings is generally based upon a worker’s salary in the two weeks prior to injury, however if there is variance in the amount that they are paid week to week, an average is taken, which can be over a longer period if two weeks is not a fair representation.

Medical and like Expenses

Comcare will pay for medical and like expenses appropriate for the treatment of any given injury. This not only includes the direct treatment of injury, but indirect things such as medical aids and appliances required as a result of the injury. It can also extend to household help, and the like, if required. They will also pay for travel to appointments to a certain threshold.

Lump Sum Entitlements

Any person who has suffered a permanent injury as a result of their Commonwealth employment may be able to make a claim for lump-sum compensation in either the form of a permanent impairment claim or sometimes a claim can be made for damages. Such claims are only able to be made if you reach a certain threshold of injury.

The calculation of impairment is a complicated process, and as part of this process you may also be entitled to a pain and suffering component in addition to your impairment.

As a result, such claims generally require legal representation, and your solicitor at Arnold Dallas McPherson will be able to guide you through this process.

Whilst it is possible to sue under the Comcare scheme, this is rarely done. The maximum amount of damages that are payable to an injured worker under the Comcare scheme is $110,000.00. Furthermore, in order to make a claim for damages, you would have to elect not to receive any impairment benefit that may be afforded to you.

However, each circumstance is different, and your solicitor at Arnold Dallas McPherson would look at this on a case-by-case basis.

Public Liability FAQ

Yes. However, the type of claim will depend upon how your injury occurred. Such claims cover a very wide range of circumstances such as trips, slips, falls, defective goods, defective equipment, defective buildings, criminal activity, failure to control domestic animals such as dogs and cats, failure to control livestock such as cows and horses and a great number of other circumstances.

If you have been injured like this or in some other manner it is always best to see one of our solicitors at Arnold Dallas McPherson on a no obligation basis to assess your claim in detail. We can then let you know whether, and if so, how to proceed with your claim.

In public liability claims, there are no statutory authorities, such as the Victorian WorkCover Authority or the Transport Accident Commission to deal with after you are injured.

However, governments, most businesses and householders these days have Insurance to cover these types of accidents so in most instances if you are injured there will be an insurance policy available to pay your claim if you are successful.

However, it is unusual for these insurers to make any progress payments for your expenses before your claim is finalised.  Accordingly, it is a good idea to act promptly to ensure full payment is made as soon as possible. We are very experienced in efficiently processing these types of claims for our clients.

It is therefore very important that you receive early advice in relation to your claim.

If you suffer injury due to the fault of another party, generally speaking you will be able to claim the following:

Loss of Income Damages

If you are unable to work as a result of your accident for a specified period of time or tragically perhaps never able to work again, you can claim for past and future loss of income. This will be calculated on a net weekly basis and paid to you as part of your claim by way of lump sum. How this is calculated can be quite complex and will depend upon a number of factors such as your usual employment, education, skills, training, age and experience. We are very experienced in calculating this loss and claim every amount to which you are entitled.

Medical and like Expenses Damages

You can claim for any and all medical treatment and like services that have been required for the past and into the future. Doctors’ Fees, surgeries, medication, travel to services, physiotherapy, counselling and a host of other relevant medical treatment are claimable.

Past and Future Care

Compensation for this type of care and domestic assistance can be claimed – even if it is not paid for at the time, such as when this assistance is provided by family members or friends.

Again, these claims can involve quite complex calculations, and will often require evidence from medical professionals, such as doctors and occupational therapists. It is very important that expenses like this are properly calculated, so as ensure that you are adequately covered into the future for ongoing medical and like expenses. At Arnold Dallas McPherson, we engage with highly qualified medical experts to ensure that your compensation claim properly allows for these out-of-pocket expenses.

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering compensation is available in these types of claims. Such payments can be substantial, and depend upon the injuries suffered. However, the way in which your pain and suffering claim will be determined will turn on the law that applies to your case, and this will depend upon how and where your accident occurred.

Sometimes the claim will involve assessing your level of impairment suffered as a result of the accident and whether you have been left with a “significant injury”, while in other types of claim, such as product liability, intentional acts,  and accidents occurring outside of Victoria, your claim may depend upon the degree of injury and disability you have suffered.

Successfully achieving the best result for you in any of these circumstances is our goal and you can be assured that we at Arnold Dallas McPherson will claim any and all pain and suffering compensation damages available to you.

 

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