If you’ve missed time from work due to a workplace injury, you may have noticed a strange phenomenon. Sometimes, no matter how seriously injured you are or even how the accident happened, your employer or colleagues will start to treat you like you are committing insurance fraud.
Why are you being treated like you did something wrong, when you’re the one who was injured while working?
There’s usually a grace period after a work injury, when your colleagues and supervisors are [very] supportive and concerned about your recovery. Then, as time goes on, you’re treated as though you’re the one who is to blame for your injury and any other problems at the workplace, even if there is no connection to your absence.
It may be human nature, it may be just one person with an axe to grind, but one way or the other, it will cause a great deal of stress for you.
Workers’ Compensation in Australia is a “No Fault” system. This means it doesn’t matter if an accident is caused by either the employee or employer’s own negligence. If you are hurt while you are working, you are entitled to benefits, end of story.
Injured workers back at work: our 2 cents worth of tips
If you’re back at work, it’s time to focus on your job and avoid discussing your injury and problems with colleagues. This may minimise any of the resentment your co-workers may have because they feel they had more work while you were out or resent the fact you were paid while out of work recuperate.
Resentments from colleagues can lead to big trouble. Over time, the perception that an injured worker is on an all expense paid holiday (!) , rather than recovering seems to creep up. While there is usually no basis for suspicion, be aware thatworkcover insurance carriers and employers are increasingly keeping track of injured workers through video surveillance and other investigative tactics.
Workcover insurance carriers love throwing around the word ‘fraud’, and 99% of the time, it’s just not the case. What you can do, is follow your doctor’s advice and any restrictions you are placed on.
If you are taken out of work and receiving benefits in the form of weekly payments, you cannot perform other work. This means you cannot work at a part-time job or help out a friend or family member with a day’s work because you’re out of work and collect benefits at the same time. If you are recieving workcover benefits and working, the insurance carrier will find out, whether through surveillance or even through a disgruntled colleague or former partner/spouse/friend that is upset you are being paid while out for your injury. .