We sat down with Henry Pill, an Associate at Hall Payne Lawyers, to discuss the workers’ compensation system in Tasmania.
We wanted clear information for you to keep in mind if you ever need to lodge a workers compensation claim.
Here’s what he had to say.
What are some of the issues that our members should be aware of when entering into a Workers Compensation claim?
There are two steps to making a workers compensation claim in Tasmania. The first is “notice” (telling your employer you’ve suffered an injury or illness) and the second is making a “claim”, which involves filling out a physical claim form and getting a medical certificate.
Notice is a really important step, and one which can have major consequences for a claim. Under Tasmanian law a worker who suffers an injury is required to give notice as soon as reasonably practicable. Notice needs to be given to a manager or delegated person to receive notice.
Workers should be aware of what the process to report an injury or incident in their workplace is.
If there is an incident report form, they should know where it is or how to get it. If not, they should be aware of any policies regarding how injuries are reported and who to.
We would also recommend that you keep a record of where and how an incident is reported. That might mean taking a copy of an incident report form, or reporting an incident via email or even text message to make sure that you have a record of how and when it was reported.
After that, the next step is to go to a doctor as soon as possible, and talk to the doctor and get a workers compensation certificate.
What recommendations would you make to members embarking on this process?
Once you’ve given notice of a claim, a doctor will complete a “workers compensation medical certificate”, which is a special type of medical certificate specifically for work injuries. You’re then required to fill in a “claim form” (which your employer has to give you upon request). It is important that both of these documents describe the injury the same way. If your doctor’s certificate describes an injury to your left hand, for instance, and your claim form is actually about an injury to your right hand, that might hurt your claim at a very early stage.
The time limit for making a claim is six months from the date of injury, though ideally a worker should put in a claim as soon as possible afterwards.
Workers compensation medical certificates are a really important part of any claim. It’s important to read each Doctor’s certificate and make sure they are correct before you give them to your employer, but this is especially important with regards to the first certificate.
How can members ensure the best outcomes and what should they be doing before, during and after making the employer aware of the issue?
Get that medical advice ASAP. There are plenty of people who don’t like going to the doctor, or find it too hard to get an appointment at short notice so they don’t worry about it. Delaying talking to your doctor can slow the process down in terms of treatment, but also in terms of getting payments if you do require workers compensation. It’s important to note that doctors won’t always pick up on the fact that a claim is related to work, so its important to tell them at the first consult.
If you had to sum up your best advice for members going through Workers Compensation in one sentence, what would you say
Stay in touch with your Union. They’re an invaluable resource in terms of getting the right information and getting it early. They can also refer you to us for free initial information or advice, if need be. Every case is different so it’s important that you get information which relates to your specific circumstances, and we and your union can provide that.