What is Conciliation (ACCS)?
The Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS) is a body that can help to resolve WorkCover insurance disputes.
If your Insurer or Self Insurer makes a decision that you are not happy with you should appeal the decision to Conciliation at the ACCS.
Disagreeing with a decision by a WorkCover insurer is very common. For long term injured persons, it is often not “if” but “when” a disagreement occurs.
You can do this even if your Insurer or Self Insurer fails to make a decision such as to pay you weekly payments, medical expenses or accept your claim within a reasonable period.
How do I make an Application for Conciliation?
You can start your appeal process by either completing the below form and lodge the Request for Conciliation or downloading and emailing to rfc@Conciliation.vic.gov.au
What is the Conciliation process?
Once an application for Conciliation has been made, you will be contacted by the ACCS to allocate you a dispute number. Soon after you will receive a date for a meeting at your nearest Conciliation centre.
You will need to prepare for the Conciliation conference. How you prepare for the dispute will depend upon why you believe the decision of the Insurer or Self Insurer is wrong. We would recommend you obtain evidence such as:
- Medical Reports from treating doctors that specifically deal with the issues at hand;
- Medical Records from treating doctors;
- Witness Statements from colleagues; and/or
- A Medico-Legal Assessment;
Do I need a lawyer for Conciliation?
A lot of law firms choose not to attend Conciliations for their clients. We do not think this is properly looking after injured workers.
Lawyers are not necessarily given permission to appear at Conciliation, as permission must be given by the WorkCover insurer.
Conciliation can sometimes be daunting, and not easy for a lot of workers, who often already feel bullied by WorkCover.
The experienced Lawyers of Arnold Dallas McPherson are best placed to recommend what evidence will best support your application for Conciliation, can obtain such on your behalf and can assist you in this preparation.
We have appeared for thousands of workers at Conciliations.
We will often turn up even if not given permission to be involved in the conference, so we can speak with you and the conciliator straight away after it, to ensure your rights are protected.
What happens at Conciliation?
Your Conciliator (similar to Mediator) will meet with you and a representative of the Insurer or Self Insurer at a conference.
The Insurer or Self Insurer will then say why they made the decision.
You will have the opportunity to set out why you disagree with the decision.
The Conciliator will then try to get the parties to come to some sort of agreement, usually by splitting off into separate rooms to discuss things with both sides privately, then acting as a go between. Anything said in these sessions is confidential, and will not be communicated to WorkCover, unless you give permission.
What Outcomes happen at Conciliation?
There are 5 possible outcomes at Conciliation:
- The Insurer or Self Insurer reverses/withdraws their decision
- The Insurer or Self Insurer makes you an Offer to settle the dispute
- The dispute is referred to a Medical Panel
- The dispute is referred to a Court
- The Conciliation Officer makes a Direction demanding that the Insurer or Self Insurer reverses their decision as it has no reasonable basis
You are always entitled to at least 7 days to get legal advice following a Conciliation conference to assist you in making a decision as to what is best for your matter.
If you do come to an agreement, it is important to obtain legal advice before the outcome of the Conciliation is finalised. To not do so could hurt your claim in the long run. You can call one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss potential outcomes with no obligation.
How much does Conciliation cost?
It is free to lodge an Application for Conciliation.
If you instruct our firm to assist in your matter in most cases our No win No Fee policy will apply.