Workers Compensation: employee rights

Last updated: December 2020 | 4 min read

If you suffer a work-related injury or disease and need medical treatment and/or you cannot work because of the injury, you may be entitled to claim worker's compensation.

WorkCover is the government agency which manages workers' compensation in Western Australia.

Comcare manages the workers' compensation claims of Australian government employees. This information relates to state workers' compensation claims only.

How do I make a claim?

Report your injury immediately to your employer or if the employer is not available to your immediate supervisor.

You should state in writing:

  • your name and address as the person injured
  • the cause of the injury and
  • the date and place that the injury occurred.

You should keep a copy. Make sure a report is placed in the accident book if one exists. You should see a doctor as soon as possible if you believe you may have a claim for workers' compensation. Tell the doctor exactly what happened and what you were doing at the time of the injury.

If your doctor considers you to be unfit for work, you should ask for a "first medical certificate" stating:

  • the cause and nature of the injury and
  • the period for which the worker is likely to be unfit for work.

You should give the medical certificate to your employer. Keep a copy for your records. It is advisable to give the employer progress certificates during the period of incapacity.

Always follow your doctor's directions. If you don't agree with them, you should get another medical opinion. You may also wish to get legal advice.

Complete the claim form

You should complete a Workers' Compensation Claim Form (Form 2B) and give it to your employer. This can be obtained from the employer or the employer's insurers. You should keep copies of everything you send and receive including certificates and forms. Your employer must send your claim form to their insurance company within 3 working days of receiving it from you.

What happens after the claim is lodged?

Your employer's insurer is required to notify you within 14 days after receiving your claim form from the employer if your claim has been:

  • accepted
  • disputed or
  • held for further information (also called a 'Pended' claim).

If your claim is accepted and your injury prevents you from working, your employer must start making weekly payments and continue such payments on your normal payday for the time your doctor certifies you are unable to work.

If your claim is:

  • disputed or
  • if a decision is unable to be made,
  • the insurer or your employer must let you know the reason.

If you do not hear anything within 17 days of lodging your claim, you may apply to Work Cover WA's Dispute Resolution Directorate to resolve the issue/dispute. More information on dispute resolution can be obtained from the Work Cover website.

Is there a time limit to make a claim for workers compensation?

You must make a claim for compensation within 12 months of being injured or discovering the disease. If you are outside the time limit, get legal advice.

Common law negligence claims

If you think your injury or health problem was a result of your employer's negligence it is possible that you may have a common law claim. You will need to speak to a lawyer because this area of law is complicated.

Different time limits will apply depending when your cause of action arose. It is vital if you believe that your disability was the result of your employer's negligence that you get legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

How do I find out what my rights are?

It is important to find out what your workers' compensation rights are. You may be able to deal with your workers' compensation claim yourself. Even if you do not need a lawyer to act for you, you should still get legal advice.

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