Some people who have been injured at work do not want to lodge a workers compensation claim while they are still employed because they feel that their work situation will become ‘awkward’. This is why some employees choose to wait and claim workers compensation after termination of their employment.
Although it is possible to make a claim for workers compensation after your employment has ended, whether your claim is accepted will depend on the evidence available to support your claim. This information is for general purposes, and you should obtain professional advice from Townsville compensation lawyers relevant to your individual circumstances
Can you file a workers compensation claim after termination or being fired?
While it is possible to lodge a claim for workers compensation after termination of your employment, whether that claim will be accepted will depend on the type of evidence available to prove you suffered an injury at work or that your employment contributed to your injury.
Will my workers’ compensation claim be accepted after termination?
The answer to the above question will depend on whether you have adequate evidence to prove you suffered an injury at work.
Evidence and reasonable excuse for workers compensation may include things such as:
- documented visits and to your doctor or another health practitioner
- medical reports
- visits to hospital for treatment/care
- reports/discussions regarding your injuries to your workplace
Although reporting your injury to your employer as soon as possible after you sustained an injury will increase your chances of your WorkCover claim being accepted, it doesn’t guarantee that it will. You still need to prove you suffered the injury as a result of carrying out your employment.
Lodging a claim for workers compensation after your employment has been terminated may result in your claim being more closely scrutinised to see whether you are trying to ‘get back at your employer’.
Generally, the longer you wait before lodging your claim, the more likely it is that it will be rejected at first instance. Your claim is more likely to be accepted if you have a reasonable excuse for a delay in lodging your claim. A common example, is if you have an injury that you thought would easily resolve, however realised over time that this was not going to happen and decided to lodge a WorkCover claim.
If you are unsure as to whether it is worth lodging a claim for a workplace injury, we recommend you speak with one of our experienced lawyers.
Is there a time limit for lodging a workers comp claim after termination?
If you would like to make a workers comp claim for a lump sum payment, you have six years from the date of your injury to lodge a claim. There are exceptions to this rule, and we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe your claim is out of date.
In general, the longer you delay lodging a claim, the less likely the claim for workers compensation will be approved. This also means that you may have to attempt conciliation and attend the medical panel or Magistrates court to prove your claim should be accepted.
How do I make a post-employment workers compensation claim?
The first thing you should do is complete a WorkCover claim form. This can be found on the Workcover website.
Once you have completed the claim form, you must serve a copy on your ex-employer or the WorkCover Authority. We recommend you keep a copy of the claim form for your records. The WorkCover insurer then has 28 days to determine your claim and will send you correspondence with their decision.
The WorkCover insurer may organise an appointment for you to be assessed by an independent medical examiner. They may also engage a circumstance investigation report which basically involves a person speaking to your ex-colleagues, your boss, any other relevant people, and yourself in relation to your workplace injury and subsequently producing a report on the facts of your case.
What happens if WorkCover rejects my claim?
If your WorkCover claim is rejected, you will need to lodge a request for conciliation form to initiate the conciliation process, keeping in mind the WorkCover claim time limit in QLD. Conciliation is where an independent third party (known as a ‘Conciliator’) assists parties to a dispute to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
If the dispute is not resolved through conciliation, the parties can pursue the matter through a medical panel or Magistrates Court.
The medical panel assesses a claimant’s injuries and decides in relation to the matter. The medical panel’s decision is final and binding on the parties.
Pursuing your matter through the Magistrates Court does not necessarily mean it will be heard in front of a Magistrate. Most cases that proceed to the Magistrates Court are resolved through negotiation between the parties without having to appear before a Magistrate in a formal court hearing.
Whether your matter goes to the medical panel or Magistrates Court depends on the nature of the dispute. For example, a WorkCover claim that is rejected on grounds that the insurer does not accept that you suffered an injury in the circumstances claimed involves a factual dispute. Accordingly, the matter must proceed to the Magistrates Court for determination.
Speak to a compensation lawyer today
This information is for general purposes, and you should obtain professional advice relevant to your individual circumstances. To give yourself the best chance of a successful compensation claim, we recommend you speak to an experienced compensation lawyer without delay.