1. Six month time limit
The law says that an injured worker has 6 months from the date of the injury to lodge a Return To Work SA Claim Form. Although circumstances do exist that allow a late lodgement of a Claim Form, it is better to remain within the 6 month timeframe.
2. Work Capacity Certificate
Your Return To Work SA Claim Form should be accompanied by a Work Capacity Certificate obtained from your doctor. This is a specific form filled out by your doctor confirming the nature of the injury, its likely cause, your fitness for work and any restrictions you may have.
3. Notification of injury versus claiming compensation
In the top left corner of the Claim Form are some boxes which are easily skipped over when filling out the form. The boxes are important because it tells the claims officer and your employer whether you are simply giving notice that an injury has occurred, or you actually wish to claim compensation for medical expenses, income support for lost wages or both.
4. The importance of accuracy
Whilst it is important to be as comprehensive as possible when filling out the Claim Form, it is more important to be accurate. If you are unsure about answering a part of the form either say so or leave it blank.
5. Employer notification
The claim form was designed to be completed by the worker and employer together. However, sometimes circumstances do not allow this to easily occur (for example, if you are in isolation, or if you have a poor relationship with your employer).
6. Description of injury
If you have already received a Work Capacity Certificate, you should include the doctor's specific diagnosis on the Claim Form. If you have not been diagnosed, try and keep your wording as general as possible. Writing 'neck injury' is entirely acceptable. However, try and avoid words like 'sprain' - even though you may think that this term is general, a 'sprain' actually has specific medical connotations and wording like that can sometimes lead to your claim being rejected or your compensation limited.
7. Multiple injuries
It is also OK to list several injuries in the "description of injury" box. For example, your fall at work may have caused a lower back injury, left knee and left ankle pain, you can submit the one Claim Form for all of these injuries.
8. How did the injury occur
The Claim Form asks you to describe how the injury occurred. Keep this description brief but accurate. Writing 'tripped over box at work' is fine.
9. Claiming for a psychological injury
Psychological injuries can be complex. Whether you are anxious or depressed because of the treatment you have sustained at work (eg, high work demands, bullying/harassment, discrimination, etc), or as a result of your ongoing pain from a physical injury, you should seek legal advice before lodging a claim form for a psychological injury. Even a small error on the Claim Form can lead to your claim being rejected.
10. Do not guess
If you are unsure of what to include in the Claim Form or how to express it in words, you can speak to a lawyer at Andersons for some initial advice. A quick chat with an expert at the time you fill out the Claim Form can save you months or years of legal dramas in the future. The insurer and/or your employer may look for any reason to reject your claim, and mistakes on the Claim Form can create problems for an injured worker.
Are you facing a Workers Compensation claim? Andersons Solicitors' Workers Compensation team is ready to help you with your Return To Work SA Claim Form.