How and why does a valid work injury claim get rejected and what can workers do to protect themselves?
When workers leave it too late to report their injury or condition to their employer or delay in lodging the claim, it can make the claims process more difficult and will often result in the claim being rejected.
This is usually the case with common workplace injuries that have a gradual onset resulting from repetitive work duties – such as wrist injuries or shoulder injuries that come about from overuse / performing the same physical duties over time.
Don’t Risk Putting Your Claim At Risk
All too often, I see injured workers who have tried to do the ‘right thing’ by their employer and push through the pain of a work injury without wanting to lodge a work injury claim. Then suddenly it all becomes too much. They might have had some annual leave booked in and think to themselves – if I can make it to my holiday, the break might help me heal. Then after the holiday break when their injuries or illnesses are no better and they are faced with the daily grind of being back at work they realise they can’t cope any longer and lodge the worker’s compensation claim.
What’s the problem with this? While the injured worker’s intentions are well and good, all too often the delay in reporting will result in the claim being rejected.
The gap in time between the reported injuries and work duties is too far apart and this, in turn, makes it harder to prove that employment and the work duties caused the injury/condition – especially if you’ve never reported it to your employer or doctor before.
Make Time To Report Your Injuries Or Illnesses
Our advice to injured workers is to always notify your GP and employer when symptoms of a work injury first appear – do not delay! The longer you hold off reporting the harder it will be to prove the injury is caused by their work.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to then lodge a workers compensation claim or go down that pathway – but it is important to lodge an incident report form at the very least so that it is ‘on the record’ at work. This will protect you from any argument or dispute down the track if you have no choice but to lodge a claim.
Lodging a workers compensation claim isn’t only important to ensure you are covered for any time away from work that is required and reasonable medical expenses– it can also protect you from having to perform the duties that have caused the problem in the first place. Workers with accepted claims are protected with ‘suitable duties’ so as not to aggravate their condition further. Without an accepted claim, workers have no protection and no grounds to ask that suitable duties are provided to them. This is just one reason why you should consider getting legal advice if you have a work injury – your job may depend on it.