Further to the horrendous story highlighting the importance of knowing your rights when it comes to all things workcover. That you need to stand up for yourself, learn to say “no”, not be intimidated, pressurized, bullied or threatened when it comes to lodging a workcover claim, being forced to return to work prematurely or in the most unsuitable duties, whether by your boss, case manager, rehabber or even doctor; and further to the sad but true fact that many injured workers are reluctant to file a workcover claim, because they feel that they would be seen as suing their bosses, and others are afraid of reprisals; the following article explains what you can do if your employer encourages you not to lodge a WorkCover claim.
[Post by Co-Author Trinny and WCV]
What can you do if your boss encourages you not to lodge a workcover claim
Sadly, too many injured workers email us and tell us about quite serious injuries they have suffered at their workplaces – be it physical or psychological injuries. Many of these injured workers require surgery (or a hospital stay), medication and periods off work because of their injury.
However, quite a few of these injured workers have actually never (not) submitted a WorkCover claim form because they feel that doing so will threaten their working relationship with their employer, they fear reprisals (i.e. being terminated, being humiliated, ridiculised or discriminated by their boss or peers), or they believe they will need to ” sue their boss” to their own detriment. Some companies have a team incentive scheme for zero injuries, and as a consequence injured workers feel they would let the team down if they were to report and claim for their genuine injuries.
In some situations (more often than you think), injured workers have advised us that their bosses have told them not to submit a WorkCover claim form, and some bosses have even threatened the worker’s ongoing career if a claim form is submitted – as was the case in in the recent injured worker’s story we published. In this case this injured worker’s boss said that [the injured worker] was full of it and if he sent a claim through, he would screw it up and throw it away. This injured worker endured the most unimaginable pressure, ridicule, bullying… for being injured at work!
That’s right… it’s – again- all about the money!
This means that an organisation/company where numerous workers get injured at work will likely pay more premiums compared to an organisation/company which has seen fewer work-related injuries.
If an organisation is ‘self-insured’ (that is, they manage their own workers compensation claims internally including paying the medical expenses and income maintenance of injured workers), a claim can cost the organisation /company a hell of a lot of money.
You can explain to the lawyer and/or to the workcover authority that you are under duress as well.
If you are suffering from a legitimate (referred to as ‘compensable’) work-related injury, you should be covered for reasonable medical expenses and income maintenance (your weekly wages). For example, if you injure your back whilst lifting heavy boxes at work, you may need to purchase pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication, see a chiropractor or physiotherapist and possibly even have surgery to repair any serious damage. If you have an accepted WorkCover claim, you should not be out of pocket for these medical expenses.
Similarly, if you have time off work but have an accepted WorkCover claim, you do not need to use your personal sick leave or annual leave; you should be entitled to ‘income maintenance/weekly pay’, in accordance with the relevant workcover legislation in your state.
If your injury is severe enough that it has caused a ‘permanent impairment’, you may also be entitled to lump-sum compensation for your pain and suffering. However, you can only claim this compensation if you have an accepted WorkCover claim. In some states you can also lodge a common law damages claim if your injury is permanent and serious and provided your employer was negligent.
You should even lodge a claim if you suffer from a psychological injury. For example, if you have been bullied or harassed at work, or unreasonable demands have been placed on you and you develop depression, anxiety or another psychological condition, you will likely be entitled to workers compensation.
So, basically, If you are injured at work but do not lodge a WorkCover claim, you are putting yourself at risk.
Technically an injured worker has only a limited time (X months depending on the state) to lodge a WorkCover claim from the date of the injury, however this can be extended in certain circumstances. The sooner you attend to lodging your claim, the better!
So if you have been physically or psychologically injured while on the job and your employer has denied or obstructed your claim or told you not to file a workers’ compensation claim, speak to a workcover/personal injury lawyer and/or at least lodge your workcover claim directly with the workcover authority in your state.
You boss will not pay your weekly wages if you can no longer work, nor will they pay for your expensive medical treatment…mos likely they will sack you! How will you cope?