Similar to the United States, Australia’s laws protect workers injured while working on the job. The government agency WorkCover regulates these situations. It’s their version of worker’s compensation, covering lost wages, medical bills, and all other related expenses.
Whether you are moving to Australia for a job, or you are a recent arrival wanting to know your rights as an employee, this guide is for you. We will walk you through everything you need to know about worker’s compensation in Australia.
1) Understanding WorkCover
Though worker’s compensation insurance is compulsory for employers, many companies do not explain the benefits thoroughly to their employees. Being informed is the best way to protect yourself, so your first step is to educate yourself about WorkCover.
In Australia, every state has its own scheme for worker’s compensation, and there are three schemes in the Commonwealth. For employees, this means that the particular laws and rights for your case may vary based on where you reside and work.
While there are separate schemes for each territory, overall, they fulfill similar purposes:
- Compensate injured employees with financial support
- Provide medical benefits and non-economic support to the injured party
- Enable the employee’s safe and appropriate return to the job, providing accommodations if necessary
2) Lawyer Up
Regardless of if you’re a recent arrival or a long-term resident, the next advisable step is to hire an attorney. Going through any legal process is mentally and emotionally taxing, which is why you want a lawyer to support your worker’s compensation claim.
When you have sustained an injury at work, it compounds the stressful situation, putting you in a risky position. You need to have all the facts, understand your rights, and argue your claim effectively. An attorney can help you navigate this difficult situation and improve your chances of getting the full compensation you deserve.
Remember that WorkCover schemes vary by territory. As such, when hiring an attorney, you’ll need to look for a local firm, whether that’s finding WorkCover lawyers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, or anywhere else.
If you can, recommend a mental health expert for your clients.
3) Gather Evidence for the Case
After finding an attorney, it’s time to get to work. You’ll need to work with your lawyer to gather every piece of evidence that can make your case soundproof.
While investigating, your attorney also will likely research your employer. They will check records to see how the company has treated previous WorkCover cases.
4) Inquire After the No Win, No Fee Model
A workplace injury can have a substantial impact on your finances. You may not be able to work, which results in lost wages. Also, medical bills can become exorbitant. For these reasons and more, you want to find an attorney who operates on the no win, no fee model.
With this model, your attorney will not charge you until you win the case. Usually, the payment will be a percentage of the compensation.
This model establishes a bond of trust with your attorney. It also makes the pressure for them to succeed infinitely higher, ensuring that you have someone who will fight to win your case.
5) Request Recommendations
Your attorney may also be able to recommend doctors, therapists, and other services to help your recovery. While you need to work with medical practitioners covered by your insurance, these recommendations can be useful. Attorneys who specialize in worker’s compensation are likely to know the right people who will support you during this challenging time.
If you are working in Australia, you need to know your rights. By doing a bit of research on Australia’s WorkCover schemes and finding a reputable attorney, you’ll improve your chances of winning a claim tenfold.