Buller McLeod are Victorian Workcover Lawyers providing representation for those injured at work. Our partner Peter McLeod has been representing injured workers and getting them their fair entitlements and injury compensation for over 30 years.
The Victorian Workcover compensation system can be a minefield for an injured worker with strict and complex time limits and requirements to be eligible for benefits and compensation. An injured worker should seek out legal advice about their rights as soon as possible after suffering an injury at work.
Who is Eligible for Workcover?
Under the Accident Compensation Act (Vic) any “worker” who sustains an injury in the course of their employment may be eligible for compensation. A “worker” may also include someone employed indirectly at a workplace on contract through an agency. An “injury” can include a physical or mental injury, as well as having contracted a disease or the recurrence or aggravation of a pre-existing injury or disease as a result of their employment.
What Compensation is Available?
There are 4 types of compensation for which an injured worker may be eligible:
- if the injury prevents the worker from working: weekly payments at 95% of your pre-injury wage for the first 13 weeks and then 80% of your wage for up to 130 weeks, or longer if you continue to be unfit for work. Allowances and overtime are also payable for up to the first 52 weeks.
- medical and related costs.
- if a worker suffers a permanent impairment then they are eligible for a “no fault” lump sum payment based on the level of the impairment. The amounts vary depending on the part of the body impaired and the % degree of impairment.
- serious injury common law claims. Not all workers are eligible for this type of lump sum compensation. Unlike the above “no fault” lump sum claims it is necessary to prove that the worker has suffered a “serious injury”, either by obtaining a Serious Injury Certificate or a Court Order by a Judge declaring that a worker has suffered a “serious injury”, and that the injury was caused by the employer’s negligence. If both of these hurdles can be overcome then a worker is entitled to damages for their pain & suffering and future loss of earnings.
What a Victorian Workcover Lawyer Can Do for You
If a worker’s claim for weekly payments and medical expenses is rejected by the employer’s Workcover Insurance Claims Agent the worker can apply to the Magistrates Court of Victoria for an Order by the Court that the claim be accepted and compensation paid to the worker. You should use the services of an experienced Victorian Workcover Lawyer to try to ensure that your claim is accepted by the Court.
Even though “permanent impairment” claims are “no fault” you should still use a lawyer to ensure that you claim and recieve your maximum entitlements for all parts of your body affected.
“Serious injury” claims through the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria are highly technical, time consuming, protracted and often heavily contested legal proceedings in which the worker needs to have an experienced Victorian Workcover lawyer to fight their case for their client. Workcover will have top notch Workcover and personal injury specialist Solicitors and Barristers representing its’ interests, to try to have the worker’s case dismissed or to minimise the amount of damages it has to pay to the worker. The worker needs to have a lawyer with similar experience and a determination to get the best for their client in their corner.
Who Pays the Worker’s Legal Costs?
In the case of weekly payments cases and claims for “no fault” lump sums Workcover will usually pay the worker’s legal costs. In “serious injury” cases Workcover will pay most of the worker’s legal costs if the worker is successful in obtaining damages.
Because of this Buller McLeod is usually willing to act for injured worker’s on a “no win/no fee” basis for those cases where we consider that the client has a good chance of success.
Due to the complicated laws and strict time limits on lodging claims, you should contact us by email or by calling us on 03 9306 4000 as soon as possible to organise a consultation with us.