What Are My Rights If I Am Injured Working from Home?
Covid-19 has seen more and more Australian businesses move to work from home. The sudden spike in remote working has resulted in many changes in how businesses operate. This, of course, has implications on things such as legal responsibilities and insurance coverage. Workers are entitled to compensation if injured at work, but what about injuries at the home office? The new normal may have you asking, “what are my rights if I am injured working from home?”
The Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 outlines that employees are still covered when injured while working from home. Employers are required to ensure that you have a safe working environment, even in a work-from-home situation. Queensland businesses should also have a WorkCover accident insurance policy in place.
Getting injured while working from home
According to WorkCover law, workers are entitled to compensation if they suffer an injury “arising out of or in the course of any employment”. However, the line between “course of employment” and free time can seem blurred when working from home.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers have had to work outside their usual hours as they try to balance home-schooling and childcare duties. This is why work from home injury claims will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the injury happened while working. For example, was the employee still logged into workplace systems and software when the injury occurred?
While working from home, the employee also has a duty of care in terms of their own workplace health and safety. It’s the responsibility of the employee to maintain a safe environment. This could include things such as…
Installing fire alarms
Maintaining electrical equipment
Repairing broken steps
Case Study: Hargreaves vs. Telstra Corporation Ltd
A famous Australian example of injury compensation while working from home is the Hargreaves vs. Telstra case. Telstra employee Dale Hargreaves slipped down the stairs twice in her home while working remotely for Telstra.
When she took legal action against Telstra, the company denied liability, as the accidents occurred away from her workstation and outside typical office hours.
However, the tribunal ruled that the injury “arose out of Ms Hargreaves’ employment with Telstra”, hence making it a workplace injury.
The first fall occurred when Hargreaves left her desk to retrieve cough medicine from the fridge. It was deemed a workplace accident, as Ms Hargreaves regularly worked late, and the break was a necessary one to ease her coughing.
The second fall occurred when she was locking her front door, as per Telstra’s instructions, after a break-in at her home. This fall was also deemed a workplace accident, as Ms Hargreaves was following a reasonable direction from her employer. Hence, the injury fell within the scope of her employment.
What about contractors and freelancers?
In Australia, contractors and freelancers are not automatically covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy. We recommend contractors and freelancers take out their own insurance policies to ensure they are covered in case of injury.
What to do if you get injured while working at home
If you have been injured while working from home, it’s essential to follow the usual procedures. This includes visiting a doctor to get a medical certificate, notifying your employer and lodging a WorkCover claim as soon as you can.
Are you looking for further advice on where you stand in terms of your injury while working from home? Revolution Law can help you with your workers’ compensation claim. We start off by offering free advice over the phone, followed by a coffee meeting where we further discuss your situation and fully disclose our fees. What’s more, if there’s no win, there’s no fee. Contact Revolution Law today.
A back injury is not only painful it can have drastic impacts on the quality of your life. Such injuries can impact your workplace productivity and future employment capabilities and prospects. Back injuries can include but are not limited to sprains and strains, bulging discs, slipped discs, fractured vertebrae, tailbone injuries and whiplash.
Most commonly back injuries occur at work due to:
Improper lifting techniques
Lifting of heavy loads
Cutting corners due to time constraints
Overexertion from lifting, carrying and throwing
If you have obtained a back injury at work and you are seeking compensation then speak to one of our lawyers today for no cost and with no pressure to quickly obtain the legal advice you need in determining whether or not you have a worker’s compensation claim. Get in touch on 3416 4999, if you want to speak directly to the owner of the firm ask for Ryan.
What to do if you have injured your back at work?
The initial step is to report your back injury to your immediate supervisor, this may be owner of the business or a manager.
You may be required to fill out an incident report at work. If your back injury is severe, then medical attention and treatment are your first priority.
For all non-severe injuries, don’t just try and ‘tough it out’ – it is always important to seek a medical opinion to see if there are any options to speed up your recovery. Also, by not reporting your injury to a medical professional, you are essentially hindering any potential work injury claim.
While you are seeking medical advice, make sure you obtain a workers’ compensation medical certificate should you require any time off work to seek treatment or to just recover. WorkCover Queensland will reimburse you for lost wages if you are concerned about taking time off for this reason.
Your next step is to inform your employer and provide them with a copy of the medical certificate. After you have done this, lodge your claim with WorkCover or self-insurer. At this stage, we can sit down for an obligation-free and zero cost meeting at our local Logan office, or we can drive to you whether you live in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich or elsewhere in Queensland. The purpose of this meeting will be to provide you with a detailed explanation of the process of a WorkCover claim, the best way to approach your potential work injury claim and explain what your options are going forward.
What is the WorkCover Claim Process?
How to lodge a WorkCover Claim?
If you are injured while you are at work, then you are entitled to access benefits from WorkCover Queensland or from your employer’s self-insurer. It is important to lodge your claim as soon as possible with WorkCover Queensland or the self-insurer as to access these benefits, your claim will need to be approved. You can lodge your claim here: https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/claim/lodgement.wc
How can a claim help you in the future?
As outlined below you will have access to immediate benefits during the statutory phase of your WorkCover claim. Once your initial claim has been finalised we can assist you with the second claim which is called the Common law claim. With this claim, you may be entitled to a lump sum settlement offer to compensate you for future loss of income, pain and suffering, future medical expenses etc.
Immediate Beneits you can receive from WorkCover include:
Weekly compensation for lost wages
If you need to take some time off work due to an injury that you have sustained at work, then WorkCover will calculate the amount of weekly compensation you will receive based on the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and pay it directly into your bank account. The level of compensation that you will receive will depend on many factors but generally speaking, if you have been injured after 2008, then WorkCover QLD may cover up to 85% of your wages for up to 26 weeks before lowering that compensation amount down to either 70% or 75% for an additional 78 weeks.
Surgical and hospital expenses
If you have sustained an injury at work and you require non-elective surgery, then WorkCover may cover your hospital costs for up to four days. If it is elective surgery involving a procedure that is determined as appropriate for the injury by a medical specialist, then WorkCover may cover costs, but it is important that WorkCover approves the operation as a course of treatment before undergoing any elective surgeries.
Medicines essential for recovery
Should you require pain relief or prescription drugs, then WorkCover will pay for those expenses.
Rehabilitation treatment and equipment
You may need to seek rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy or buy equipment such as crutches to help support your recovery. Any rehabilitation treatment or equipment you require needs to be reasonable and relevant to your injury. It is important that when attending treatment, you are seeing a registered practitioner otherwise the expense will not be covered. Most of the time WorkCover can be charged directly, however, if you make an out-of-pocket payment then ensure that you keep the receipt so that WorkCover can reimburse you.
Travelling expenses for medical treatment, rehabilitation etc
WorkCover may pay for any necessary and reasonable travel expenses that you incur to obtain medical treatment or attend medical appointments.
What are our tips?
Document everything. The claims process is 12-18 months and it is likely you will forget helpful evidence and information without documenting it.
Visit your Doctor. It is not enough to say you are injured. You need to evidence your injury. Your medical records will be accessed regarding your injury so it is important that you have the independent doctor outlining your injury and assisting you in the recovery process.
Access rehabilitation. It will assist in your recovery.
Get in touch with us and let us help you.
What can you do to support your recovery?
Ice – Applying an ice pack to the sore area of your neck or back can reduce the severity of the pain for some people.
Heat – Exposing your back to moist heat via a hot shower or with a moist towel heated in the microwave may give you some pain relief.
Massage – If your back is spasming then massaging it can be helpful after you have used heat or ice on your back. Be gentle when applying pressure to your back. ion
Physiotherapy – Physiotherapists can determine injury severity, assess joint movement, provide strengthening and stretching exercises and identify limitations and make recommendations for day to day activities.
Workers Win In Supreme Court Judgement On The Duty Of Care Owed By Employers
Written by Noah Mortensen
The Supreme Court of Queensland has ruled that employers owe a significant duty of care towards employees for their fatigue from working long night shifts. Despite the accident occurring far from and well after work, the Court found that employers should be providing a high standard of care towards their worker’s education.
Mr. Harold Kerle was severely injured in an accident occurring in a drive home from his working location in October 2008. Almost three hundred kilometres away from his working location and four hours after his shift ended, Kerle had a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred as he fell asleep and crossed lanes, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. He suffered personal injury from the accident which required compensation amounting to $1,250,000.
Mr. Kerle showed that he was entitled to sue his employers for being negligent through the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, which provides for injuries caused by incidents when travelling between work and home. As the car accident was still part of his travel home from work, it was covered by the Worker’s Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
The Court then examined the facts Mr. Kerle and his expert advice provided. He had been given three consecutive night shifts lasting over 12 hours each, which interrupted his body’s natural rhythm. He was very fatigued as a result of his work, but was not aware of his tiredness at any point, had been a truck driver for many years, and also had a good driving record. Mr. Kerle was not allowed to refuse the shifts given to him.
Having considered all of these elements, the Court decided that the employers for Mr. Kerle owed him a duty of care, and were responsible for the injuries he suffered as a result of the motor vehicle accident. The Court stated that the employer should have provided much better training about fatigue, and its risks, and should be more responsible when giving out shifts. They could have reduced the risk to their workers by providing a bus service, or a resting period and a place to rest for their workers at the end of the shift.
Mr. Kerle’s injuries were ordered to be compensated by the Court, upholding employer’s responsibility to give their employees proper training and care.
If you have been injured while working or on your way to work, you are entitled to compensation. Contact Revolution Law’s team of professionals to discuss how to make a compensation claim for your workplace injury.
What Benefits And Compensation Can I Access While On Work Cover
WorkCover is a form of insurance available for employees that are injured at work or travelling to work. It is a ‘no fault’ scheme so despite who or what caused the injury it allows Queensland workers to make a claim and access benefits in the event that they sustain a work-related injury.
What is considered an injury?
Physical injuries including aggravations of pre-existing conditions;
Psychiatric or psychological disorders;
Death from injury or disease.
What benefits and compensation can I access while on WorkCover?
Weekly compensation for lost wages;
Surgical and hospital expenses;
Medicines essential for recovery;
Rehabilitation treatment and equipment; and
Travelling expenses for medical treatment, rehabilitation etc.
I have been injured at work what do I now?
See your Doctor and obtain a workers’ compensation medical certificate.
Inform your employer and provide them with a copy of the medical certificate.
Lodge your claim with WorkCover. At this stage, we can provide you with a detailed explanation of the process, the best way to approach it and explain what your options are going forward.
Should I call a Lawyer?
We highly recommend that you do. At Revolution Law we are the Work Accident Experts and we have achieved excellent results for all of our clients that have been injured in the workplace. We offer a free initial meeting with zero obligation to sign with us. We are confident in what we offer and believe that our positive client reviews such as Google and Facebook speak for themselves. If you have any questions about your situation then call us on 07 3416 4999 and speak to one of our friendly Lawyer’s today.
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