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Workers Compensation Claiming Time Limit in Canberra?

By winter - 24 January 2012 15

I’m in a (possibly) tricky situation, my girlfriend is about to have back surgery for a bulging disc when she tells me that the injury occurred at work when she was picking something up. The thing is, this was 5 years ago!

She lodge an internal injury form, and went to the doctor and had some scans (confirming she had a bulging disc injury) and then took three weeks sick leave because she couldn’t move. She at no time lodged a workers compensation claim, and was not told at any point that she should lodge one.

From what I can tell, the time limit is 3 years to lodge a compensation claim (just some vague reading I’ve made, could be completely wrong). But is there anything she can still do? The surgery alone is over $15k out of pocket expenses let alone the physio, medication and time of work she has had to take over the last 5 years. She even still works at the same place after all this time. If she can’t lodge a compensation claim, then is the workplace at fault in any way for not informing her that this was something she needed to do?

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Workers Compensation Claiming Time Limit in Canberra?
Terra 3:32 pm 30 Jan 13

Remember the “no win no fee” firms are only talking about their fees. Not all the add ons like medical reports, court fees etc. You’ll still be asked to pay that up front. In the main its pretty easy stuff usually. Proven injury, proven cause, only the fault and the quantum are arguable. That’s why they’re happy to take it on, its a given that they’ll get paid. (I said usually… but show me a no win no fee firn that has lost it’s fee).

The single biggest reason for a time limit is because peoples memories fade, they move jobs, cant be found etc. It seems none of these are a problem in this matter so it appears you have good grounds to have it heard. You’ll need to be able to get hold of everything though.

The company involved should have notified the insurer when the docs were submitted, and more so when time off was taken. I suspect you wont have to go over that hurdle.

All the best to you.

zllauh 2:40 pm 30 Jan 13

Hi Mate,

How did you go with the claim ? Did you get any far ?

We got our workers comp in canberra from http://www.mutualbrokers.com.au in deakin who are insurance brokers.

MonarchRepublic 2:33 pm 27 Jan 12

From a friend in OH&S:
A work related injury should be reported to the workers comp insurer (and WorkCover in certain circumstances) at the time by the employer. The employer is also required to advise the injured employee of their right to lodge a claim and to make claim documents available to the injured employee. There are stiff penalties for non-compliance.
Best to contact ACT WorkCover to get advice. If they can’t (or won’t) help, contact a solicitor for advice.

carnardly 1:23 pm 27 Jan 12

i’m not sure its you whose in a tricky situation

roostersfan11 8:08 pm 24 Jan 12

Quickest and easiest thing to do would be to just lodge a claim and start the process. There is no time frame to lodge a claim with an insurance company (if the injury is in the ACT with a private company – i.e. not comcare), the time frames only apply to certain types of litigation which would not apply in this case based on what you have said.
First things first – find out who the insurer of your girlfriends employer was at the time of the injury, in an ideal world she should be able to just ask her employer. If not, contact Worksafe ACT 6207 3000 and they should be able to tell you, once you know this, contact the relevant insurer and ask for a claim form.
You will need to send them a completed claim form and any medical evidence you have (certificates, scans, etc) and they will assess from there, they may even request more medical info. I would only recommend seeing a solicitor IF (and only IF) the claim is not accepted, otherwise the process will just become 10 times harder and longer and more stressful involving an extra person when all your girlfriend will want to do is concentrate on recovering from her surgery and getting back to work etc.

IF you need to see a solicitor, be careful with a lot of the solicitors advertising no win no fee, of course they may know more etc but if you do win (and in Workers Compensation, unless it’s blatant fraud, you will with our court system and all) they will take about 30 – 50% of your settlement, DO NOT let them tell you that the Insurance company or the employer will pay for it, because they will still take more on top of that.

I’d recommend Stacks Compensation or Slater and Gordon. Steer clear of Maliganis (sorry Mal) and Blumers.

Gershwin 3:15 pm 24 Jan 12

The surgical team may be able to provide information that could support the claim, although that should be managed by the lawyers. I had surgery for a very similar herniated disc injury that I knew damn well was completely not work-related. Post-surgery, the surgeon was able to inform me that the level of calcification in the disc was such that whatever it was I had done to myself, it was many many years ago. Working backwards, little/no calcification may imply relatively recent injury? Shrug. Medical advice to the lawyers is required to determine whether that would be fruitful in any way to follow up, but thought I’d mention it.

gertel 2:53 pm 24 Jan 12

Think you better call Mal Meninga for this one.

whynot 2:48 pm 24 Jan 12

I totally agree with djk- Grant is a fantastic lawyer- however he is no longer at Porters.
I have heard Maurice Blackburn are pretty good and they specialise in PI matters… cant hurt to call around.

djk 2:01 pm 24 Jan 12

I can recommend Grant Kennealy at Porters Lawyers for workers comp/personal injury claims, great lawyer and great guy. 6247 3477

(No it is not me…)

qbngeek 1:40 pm 24 Jan 12

astrojax said :

probably just avoid the ‘only pay if you win’ mobs… in any genuine claim, your costs should be borne by the company you sue (well, their insurers, anyway).

good luck.

Actually the no win,no fee guys are sometimes the best to see as they will only take it on if you are likely to win and they know every little loophole, unlike many other solicitors. They specialise in compensation, where a lot of firms deal with all sorts of things and may not specialise in compensation. The down side is that many of them are flat out and may not be the quicket in getting it dealt with.

astrojax 1:33 pm 24 Jan 12

i can recommend colquhoun murphy – http://www.cmsolicitors.com.au – who are doing a fine job in my compensation (not worker’s, though) claim. probably just avoid the ‘only pay if you win’ mobs… in any genuine claim, your costs should be borne by the company you sue (well, their insurers, anyway).

good luck.

dungfungus 12:49 pm 24 Jan 12

See a lawyer. I recommend Saul Goodman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul0elQ9jp-U&feature=related

winter 12:33 pm 24 Jan 12

Thanks orangegirl and Padoof, sounds like its worth investigating further with a lawyer to see if there is anything worth pursuing. I think all the documentation is available still so I’ll try and get it all together.

Padoof 12:27 pm 24 Jan 12

As Orangegirl said, you really need to speak with a law firm who specialises in personal injury claims. The Law Society won’t be able to recommend a firm to you, but should be able to provide a listing of firms who specialise in PI matters.

Some information to have handy before you make the phone call:
In which state/territory did the accident occur?
Was your g/f employed in the private or public sector?

Be assured that there’s always provision for claims to be lodged out of time, especially if there’s medical records detailing the injury and that it occurred at work. I don’t suppose she kept a copy of the injury notification form? (try and get it now!!!)

In the ACT, the following legislation is in force:
http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1951-2/current/pdf/1951-2.pdf

Part 5.3 deals with notification of the injury.

Good luck to you both, aside from the issues of the injury and surgery, going down the path of workers compensation and lawyers is stressful and will take years. Having said that, it’s important that you pursue this, your g/f should not be out of pocket for a work related injury.

orangegirl 10:49 am 24 Jan 12

1) You need a lawyer for more specific advice.
2) Careful lawyers don’t give legal advice on the internet. To do so can cause major problems for their professional indemnity insurance.
3) Most lawyers will have a chat with you for free before you have to commit to going ahead with a claim.
4) The ACT Law Society can refer you to firms who practice personal injury law. Call them on 6247 5700.

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