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Workers Compensation: Your Rights In and Outside the Workplace

Workers’ compensation is compensation payable to a worker who sustains an injury arising out of or in the course of employment or whilst the worker is acting under an employer’s instructions. The workers’ compensation scheme in Western Australia is governed by the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA).

Who Can Make a Claim?

You are entitled to workers’ compensation if you sustain an injury during the course of your work and you are defined by law as a worker.  A ‘worker’ under Western Australian law includes full-time workers on a wage or salary, part-time and casual workers, workers on commission and in some circumstances, contractors, sub-contractors and working directors.

Workers’ compensation extends to injuries due to your own or your employer’s fault.  However, if you are found guilty of serious and wilful misconduct you will not be eligible to make a claim.  In Western Australia, serious and willful misconduct can include instances where you fail to, without reasonable excuse, use protective equipment or wear safety clothing provided by the employer or you are under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.

We recommend consulting an experienced personal injuries lawyer to advise of your rights under workers’ compensation and whether you are eligible to make a claim with your individual circumstances.

What Type of Injuries are Covered?

The types of injuries covered include instances where you have been injured or suffer from a disease that sufficiently links to your employment.  This includes accidental personal injuries, diseases contracted from specific injuries or pre-existing diseases that are aggravated, which arise out of or in the course of employment, whilst acting under an employer’s instructions or employment was a significant contributing factor.

Both external and internal injuries are covered. Apart from physical injuries such as abrasions and contusions, other injuries covered also include mental harm, illnesses, and diseases. Diseases that are covered may include specific industrial diseases through exposure to irritants or asbestos dust.

However, certain stress-related conditions are excluded. Psychological and stress-related injuries that arise from a reasonable disciplinary action, with respect to retrenchment or expectation of promotions are not covered.

When is an Employer Liable?

An employer is only liable for workers’ compensation if workers are traveling for work-related purposes. Employers may be liable for injuries sustained during journeys between the workplace, places required by their employer to attend for training or whilst you are at work-related meetings. However, an employer is not liable if a work-related journey is interrupted for more than one hour or the worker deviates from the work-related journey for reasons that are unrelated to their employment.

In addition, an employer’s liability does not extend to injuries sustained during journeys between a worker’s place of residence and their workplace as these are injuries sustained outside of work obligations.

What Can You Claim?

Under the workers’ compensation scheme you may be able to claim for various expenses that are reasonably incurred such as your loss of earnings, workplace rehabilitation expenses, and medical expenses, which may include:

  1. first aid and ambulance;
  2. medication;
  3. medical or surgical attendance;
  4. hospital treatment;
  5. dental treatment;
  6. physiotherapy;
  7. clinical psychology;
  8. occupational therapy; or
  9. speech pathology.

You can also claim for travel expenses if you are required by your employer or a medical practitioner to travel to a medical appointment.  If you live in a regional area, you may be able to claim expenses for meals and accommodation.

At Frichot & Frichot we are dedicated to providing our clients with expert advice on workers’ compensation claims. Our workers’ compensation team can provide you with comprehensive advice and assist you in making a workers’ compensation claim.

If you or someone you know would like more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on (08) 9335 9881 or complete the form below to request an Introductory Consultation.


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