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Tasmania’s workers compensation scheme: you have rights.

If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation.

Each Australian jurisdiction has its own statutory regime governing workers compensation claims. These schemes are, in effect, legislatively imposed insurance policies, designed to ensure injured workers are adequately compensated.


The Tasmanian Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the Act) aims to ensure that Tasmanian workers are compensated for any injury or disease that arises out of, or in the course of, their employment.

Under the Act, a worker can be compensated for:


  • loss of earnings;
  • medical expenses;
  • rehabilitation expenses; and
  • permanent impairment.

The Tasmanian Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Tribunal was established to resolve disputes concerning workers compensation claims. The Tribunal provides an accessible and informal forum where injured workers, employers, and insurers can resolve disputes in a cost effective and procedurally flexible manner. Notice can be given either verbally or in writing.


Requirement for workers to notify their employer if they are injured at work.

Under the Act, a worker must notify their employer if they are injured at work as soon as practicable. If they fail to do so, they may lose their right to make a claim, unless it can be shown that their failure was due to a mistake, their absence from Tasmania, or some other reasonable cause.


In the recent decision of Tasmania v Pilling [2020] TASSC 13, the Tasmanian Supreme Court made it clear that where a worker’s failure to give notice of an injury is due to a genuine mistake, this will not necessarily preclude a successful claim. In deciding whether a worker is barred from making a claim, the Court will consider the potential prejudice suffered by the employer as a result of the worker’s failure to provide timely notice.


Obligations of employers once they have been notified of an injury.

Once an employer receives notice of an injury to a worker, it is required to inform the worker of their right to make a claim for compensation within fourteen days. This must be done in writing and in the form prescribed in the regulations made pursuant to the Act. The regulations also require that the employer provide information to the worker as to how to go about making a claim and the statutory time limits for doing so. 


Making a claim for workers compensation.

A workers compensation claim is comprised of a completed ‘Workers Claim for Compensation Form’ (which can be obtained from the employer) and a workers compensation medical certificate, which must be signed by a doctor. These documents must be lodged with the employer, or their appointed representative.

In most cases, a workers compensation claim must be submitted within six months of the date from which the injury occurred.


In cases where the worker has been certified as incapacitated for work, the employer is required to commence making weekly compensation payments once a claim has been lodged, as well as paying medical expenses up to the value of $5,000. However, if the employer considers the claimed expenses to be unreasonable or unnecessary, it may serve a notice to this effect and have the matter referred to the Tribunal for determination.

Under the Act, the requirements for employers to commence weekly payments and cover medical expenses apply even where an employer disputes liability for a worker’s claim. Notably, the legislation makes it clear that making these payments does not prejudice an employer’s ability to subsequently dispute liability for a claim.


Contesting a claim for workers compensation.

An employer has 84 days from the date a claim is submitted to dispute liability and have the matter referred to the Tribunal for determination. Once the matter has been referred to the Tribunal, an employer can seek an order that weekly payments cease pending final judgment.


Grounds on which employers commonly dispute liability for workers compensation claims include:

  1. the cause the worker’s injury;  
  2. whether notice of the injury was given within time;
  3. whether the claim was submitted within time;  
  4. whether the injury resulted from reasonable action taken in a reasonable manner by the employer;  
  5. whether the injury was self-inflicted or the result of the employee’s misconduct;  
  6. whether the injury occurred when the worker was travelling between the worker’s principle place of residence and their place of employment; and
  7. whether the worker has already recovered from the injury. 

What should you do if you are injured at work?

If you are injured at work, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible so as to preserve your right to make a claim for compensation. You should also immediately seek legal advice from a lawyer experienced in handling workers compensation claims.

If you require professional advice in relation to a workplace injury, you can contact us on 03 6331 5922.

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