Workers' Compensation

About Workers' Compensation

If you are injured and your injury occurred at work or your injury was significantly contributed to by your employment, you may be entitled to compensation.  Every injury is different because every person is an individual. Injuries at work arise from a wide range of reasons but there are common mistakes made; usually early on.  In the ACT there are two main non military schemes: 

#1: If you are a Commonwealth, ACT Government or employee of one of the licensees under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (SRC Act) (click here to find out if your employer is a licensee, your circumstances will bring you under the SRC Act and will be managed by Comcare, EML or your employer. Lander & Co accept retainers for those covered by the SRC Act Australia wide.

#2: For all other civilian workplace injuries that occur in the ACT, or for ACT based employees you will need to seek compensation under the Workers Compensation Act 1951 (ACT). The two schemes are  different (albeit with some similarities) – we specialise in both. 

Both are no fault systems although if your injury, usually a psychological or mood disorder was caused by administrative action the law is more complex. 

You will face different processes and potentially outcomes depending on which Act governs your injury.  We are able to assist with all stages of the process including lodgement of claim, assistance with rehabilitation disputes, cessation of liability, reconsiderations, appeals and mostly in the private sector commutation of claims. 

Lander & Co have represented injured workers for 29 years. We have advised literally hundreds of workers compensation claimants over the years. It is our work with Comcare claimants for which we are probably best known.  We exclusively represent injured workers and do not represent insurers which means we are focussed on your perspective and needs.

All litigation is stressful and comes with risks. We share and minimise the risk by effective, informative and issue-based representation, timely advice, the submission of cogent credible evidence and coherent and skilful negotiation. Our testimonials reflect our ethics and our reputation We value our clients and try to work with you as a team.

The process of claiming Workers' Compensation

1

Lodgement of Claim

It is essential if you are injured that you lodge your claim promptly. Whilst it is possible to lodge a claim yourself, there are many pitfalls, particularly if you have a psychological injury. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a competent lawyer prior to submitting your claim.
2

Receipt of Initial Decision

Comcare/EML/a Self Insurer will either accept or deny liability for the claimed injury.  If liability is denied, you have 30 days to seek reconsideration of the decision.  If liability is accepted, you will need to engage with Comcare/EML/the Self Insurer on a regular basis to maintain your claim.  You might also be able to make an application for a permanent impairment lump sum.  If you receive any decision that you disagree with throughout the course of your claim you will need to seek reconsideration within 30 days and we recommend that you seek professional advice.
3

Requesting Reconsideration

It is rare for the insurer to change its mind at reconsideration, particularly if lodged without legal representation.  You will need to make a coherent request and provide additional evidence, particularly medical evidence. Unfortunately, independent medicolegal experts will usually not see you or assess you without a referral request from a solicitor.
4

Receipt of Reconsideration/Reviewable Decision

When you receive the decision, if you are not happy with that decision (i.e. liability is denied or the decision is adverse) you will need to seek review at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) within 60 days.  This is big decision with a deadline.  We strongly advise you to seek advice from a lawyer early on at this stage.
5

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT Application)

You have only 60 days to lodge the application and it is a relatively strict deadline.  An AAT Application for review can be a lengthy process (often up a year) and whilst it is designed so that people can represent themselves, the process is somewhat adversarial and complex.  We specialise in running matters at the AAT. You are not usually required to pay the legal costs of the insurer if you are unsuccessful and you will usually be able to claim what are known as party/party legal costs from the insurer if a favourable outcome/settlement or award ensues.

6

Federal Court Appeal and Other Appeals

Appeal of the AAT decision is only available if there is an error of law and not on the merits of the decision.  You have only 28 days to lodge a Notice of Appeal and this is a strict deadline.  If you are unsuccessful, you will be required to pay the insurers’ legal costs. For this reason, it is essential that you get help from someone who can identify what is an error of law and assess  your prospects which we readily undertake.  You can appeal a decision of the Federal Court  only  if there is an error of law.
1

Lodgement of Claim

In the ACT private sector it is very important to seek legal advice when you are lodging a claim for workers compensation because many injured people don’t realise that in some cases there might be a common law claim which can give gives rise to damages and there are  statutory time limits .  It is also important to lodge your claim promptly because insurers will mostly only pay benefits from the date of lodgement of the claim.
2

Receipt of Decision

If your claim is not accepted, you are often given the option of seeking internal review which in our experience is usually not your best option.  Once you have received a denial of liability, we recommend that you lodge an application for arbitration with the Magistrates Court.  If your claim is accepted then you will receive workers compensation benefits on an ongoing basis until there is a dispute, or until you are approached by the insurer to “commute” your claim.  We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice in all of these circumstances.
3

Application for Arbitration with the Magistrates Court

Once an application is lodged, things will move relatively quickly.  A dispute resolution conference is scheduled by the Court at approximately 4 months from lodgement and often cases will settle at this conference.  If not, the matter will proceed to hearing and a hearing will be listed well within a year of lodgement of the application.
4

Appeal from a Decision of the Magistrates Court

A decision of the Magistrates Court can only be challenged on an error of law and we recommend that you promptly seek legal assistance urgently in these circumstances.