Injured transport workers Pt 1: I was injured interstate. Am I covered for compensation?
Trucks keep Australia moving, but what happens when transport workers are injured on the job? TGB lawyer Ashleigh Ridgway explains the various factors that need to be considered.
Transport workers keep the economy ticking over across Australia’s vast land. These workers cross state lines frequently, in metropolitan and country areas, so what happens if you are a transport worker and you get injured at work? Can you claim the same benefits as if you were in your home state if you were injured while working interstate? In such unfortunate circumstances it is it is important you understand your compensation rights and which compensation scheme your employer is signed up to.
The Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (SRCA) is the Commonwealth workers compensation legislation. It covers employees of corporations with a license to self-insure under the Act, which includes a lot of transport companies. If your company has a license to manage their own claims, otherwise known as “self-insure” under the Act, then you will be covered by the Commonwealth workers compensation scheme, instead of your home state’s workers compensation scheme.
It is also possible for your employer to be covered by the Commonwealth scheme, but not manage their own claims, in which case Comcare acts as the claims management body and the insurer who assesses and handles your claim.
Current licensees of the Commonwealth scheme are listed here if you want to check if your employer is included: http://www.srcc.gov.au/self_insurance/current_licensees
It is important to note not all licensees are covered by the SRCA. For example, a company can have a license to self-insure, but have their employees covered by various pieces of state legislation. You must know which workers compensation scheme you come under as your compensation entitlements can differ dramatically under the various schemes. Your employer should be able to give you this information, but if you are still unsure you should contact a lawyer.
Self-insurance of claims is a more “streamlined approach” for employers and workers and it is beneficial for corporations operating across multiple states so that they can operate workers compensation under one piece of Commonwealth legislation as opposed to multiple pieces of state legislation. This also gives you the peace of mind when travelling interstate so you know how your injury claim will be dealt with.
If you suffer an injury at work you should seek advice from a lawyer about submitting your claim form to your employer, or the insurer, but generally they should be notified of the injury as soon as possible.
If your injury is sustained during the course of your employment you are normally entitled to compensation, even if the accident was your fault (provided you weren’t engaged in misconduct at the time of the injury). For example, if you trip over at work because you weren’t watching where you were going, an injury you suffer should still be accepted as it has arisen out of or in the course of your employment.
As a transport worker defining your place of work isn’t as straight-forward as it is often the inside of your truck’s cabin. There was a case in 2008 where a worker who was maintaining and tidying his vehicle on a Sunday, before starting work for the week, suffered a back injury in the process, and was found to have suffered an injury in the course of his employment.
If your claim is accepted, you are usually entitled to three types of compensation:
- Weekly payments if you require time off from work;
- Reimbursement for reasonable medical expenses;
- A permanent impairment claim once your injury has stabilized.
If your claim is accepted but you are not being provided with one or more of the above types of compensation, you should seek legal advice as there may be more you are entitled to. If your claim for compensation is rejected you should contact a lawyer immediately to learn more about your dispute options. Transport workers are potentially covered by multiple pieces of legislation, making your entitlements unclear.
Tindall Gask Bentley lawyers will ensure you know whether you have a claim or not and what your entitlements are, while increasing the chances of a smooth, fast resolution to your matter. Book an appointment at your nearest office today, or register your details here and we’ll get in touch shortly.