If you are injured at or in the course of your employment, you may be eligible to claim workers compensation. However, some workers do not submit a workers compensation claim form because they feel that doing so will threaten their working relationship with their employer.
In some situations, workers have advised us that their employer has told them not to submit a workers compensation claim form; some employers even threatening the worker’s ongoing career if a claim form is submitted.
Employers are often concerned when workers submit claims for compensation because the amount (for annual premiums) that the organisation will have to pay to Return to Work SA is calculated partly on the number of claims lodged by workers of their organisation.
Alternatively, if an organisation is ‘self-insured’ (that is, they manage their own workers compensation claims internally including paying medical expenses and income maintenance of injured workers, a workers compensation claim can cost the organisation a lot of money.
However, it is contrary to the South Australian workers compensation scheme for an employer to actively discourage the lodgement of a workers compensation claim. It is against the law to threaten retaliation against a worker who wants to lodge a claim. Further, if an employer is provided with a claim form by an employee, they are legally required to notify Return to Work SA of the claim within 5 business days.
If you are suffering from a compensable work-related injury, normally you would be covered for your reasonable medical expenses and wages (subject to limitations in the workers compensation scheme). For example, if you injure your knee whilst lifting heavy boxes at work, you may need to purchase pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication, see a physiotherapist and possibly even have surgery to repair any serious damage. If you lodge a workers compensation claim, you should not be out of pocket for these medical expenses.
Similarly, if you have time off of work and have an accepted workers compensation claim, you do not need to use your personal sick leave or annual leave.
If you do not lodge a claim, you are putting yourself at risk to not be able to claim the above entitlements.
Further, the longer a worker delays reporting an incident and/or lodging a workers compensation claim, the harder it can be to prove that the injury is work related. Sometimes even a delay in reporting the injury of more than 24 hours can be sufficient justification to reject a valid workers compensation claim.
If you have been injured at work and you are concerned that making a claim will impact your relationship with your employer, contact us immediately to seek legal advice.