What is the time limit for workers compensation claims?

If you’re ever injured at work and need to make a claim for workers compensation, then you will need to make your claim as soon as possible to help get the funds that you need while you recover.

Workers compensation claims in NSW should be made within six months of the accident or injury.

Reasonable cause

You can, however, make a claim for workers compensation for up to three years after your injury if you can show it was because of a reasonable cause.

In cases where the claim relates to the death of a loved one or serious injury to you, then the claim may still be made after the three-year limit if the cause was reasonable.

Awareness of injury

However, in some cases a worker may not become aware of their injury until many years after the fact.

In these cases, the time limit for workers compensation claims starts from the time when the worker became aware of his or her injury and the reasons for it.

For example, a worker lost her hearing due to working in a noisy environment. She worked in a factory from 1983 to 1985, but didn’t lodge her claim until 2009. She was successful (Unilever Australia Ltd v Petrevska [2013] NSWCA 373).

Making a claim

If you’re injured at work and you need to make a claim for workers compensation, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible after your injury happens.

If you need time off from work, then you will have to visit your doctor and ask for a certificate of capacity.

You’ll then need to give the certificate of capacity, along with a worker’s declaration and your medical bills, to your employer.

You then need to make reasonable efforts to return to work as soon as you are able and cooperate with your employer’s insurer to make a back to work plan. If the insurer asks you for information you then have seven days to respond or payments may be stopped.

Psychological injury and workers compensation

If you suffer psychological injury at work, it may be possible to make a workers compensation claim. Psychological injury at work may occur due to bullying, work stress, sexual harassment, or some other traumatic experience. In these cases, the same time limits apply as for other workers compensation claims.

Speak to a senior lawyer

The workers compensation process can be complex where knowledge and experience counts. There are complex forms to fill out, strict time limits to adhere to and you need to know how the system works to get the best result.

When you’re on your sickbed, the last thing you want to think about is how to fill out a form to claim compensation. A good lawyer will be there with you every step of the way to help you through the process so that you can just focus on getting better.

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