People tend to believe claiming compensation for workplace injuries is an easy process, however there are stringent time and reporting restrictions you have to comply with when commencing a claim.

You have one shot at obtaining the best compensation outcome, so we strongly recommend you obtain legal advice from a personal injury lawyer before proceeding with your claim.

Incident reports

If you are injured at work you are obligated to complete an incident report form, however minor the injury. For example, in NSW you must complete a ‘WHS Form 10: Incident and Injury Report’, in Victoria you must complete an ‘Incident Notification Form’.

It is important to report your accident as soon as possible as even a delay in reporting the injury of more than 24 hours may be sufficient justification to reject a valid workers compensation claim.

What happens if I don’t fill in an incident report?

You must notify you employer as soon as possible if you’ve sustained a workplace injury as you generally have 6 months to lodge a claim for compensation. The optimum time frame to lodge an incident report is 48 hours as any delay, especially if there are no witnesses to your accident, could provide the insurance company the perfect excuse to deny liability for your claim.

You must also provide your employer with a Work Capacity Certificate which certifies you unfit or partially unfit for work. Once you have lodged a worker’s compensation claim and your employer’s insurer accepts liability, the insurer must start making payments for weekly benefits and medical expenses as soon as possible. It is important to receive these payments especially if you are not able to work as a result of your injuries.

Workers compensation insurers may try to minimise the amount of compensation paid by rejecting liability of your claim or claim they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to not make provisional liability payments. You should therefore be aware of your rights and what you can do if this happens.

If you don’t report the injury because you believe your injury is insignificant and not worth making a claim, you should still seek legal advice as to your entitlements as there have been instances where injuries have worsened over time leaving the injured person with significant loss. We recommend you speak with one of our experienced lawyers as soon as possible to prevent this from happening to you.

Can I still make a claim for worker’s compensation if I didn’t lodge an incident report on time?

There are exceptions that may apply if you have been unable to lodge an incident report.

Workers should notify their employer or claims service provider of an injury within a maximum of 6 months from the date of injury or accident. However, a claim can still be made after this period if there is a reasonable cause for the delay in lodging an incident report if:

  • The accident or injury wasn’t reported earlier due to a reasonable cause, such as ignorance, mistake, or absence from the State in which the event took place.
  • The injury resulted in death or serious and permanent disability.
  • Where a worker is not aware of their injury at the time of the incident.
  • Special provisions apply for disease related injuries.

If you believe that any of the above exceptions may apply to you, we recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Conclusion

You generally have 6 months to make an incident report, however, to give yourself the best chance of a successful worker’s compensation claim, it is recommended that an incident report be filed 48 hours after a workplace injury.

If you haven’t lodged an incident report within the required time frame, you can still do so if you can show there was a reasonable cause for the delay in lodging your incident report. If you find yourself in this situation, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

For a confidential case assessment, please call us on (08) 8202 0099 or email [email protected].