WORKERS COMPENSATION LAWYERS FOR DISEASE CLAIMS

If you’ve contracted or sustained an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease in the workplace in NSW you may be entitled to claim compensation. We have no doubt that you’ll be concerned about your future, the changes that need to be made to your life, your rehabilitation and your financial wellbeing. Advantage Legal are expert workers compensation lawyers who understand the complexities associated with pursuing a workplace disease claim in the NSW workers compensation scheme. We’ll spend time with you to understand your personal circumstances and exactly what happened to make sure we win your claim and maximise your compensation. You’ll receive expert advice backed by decades of experience, your questions will be answered and we’ll make sure we’re available when you need us. You claim is worth more with Advantage Legal.

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COVID-19 Disease Claims

Workers who have contracted COVID-19 at work in NSW may be eligible for compensation payments under the NSW workers compensation scheme. In May 2020, legislative amendments were made to the NSW Workers Compensation Act to make it easier for people working in high exposure ‘prescribed employment’ to claim benefits and compensation. The amendments deemed a worker who was engaged in ‘prescribed employment’ to have contracted the disease in the course of their employment and that employment was taken to be the main contributing factor to contracting the disease.

Any person who contracted COVID-19, but was not engaged in ‘prescribed employment’ was not included in the amendments, meaning that the existing legislative requirements still need to be established in order for a claim to be successful. To find out more about whether your industry is captured in the definition of ‘prescribed employment’ please read our FAQ What is ‘prescribed employment’ in relation to a COVID-19 workers compensation claim?

If you’d like to know more about your particular circumstances or if you are eligible to pursue a claim for workers compensation arising from contracting COVID-19, please contact our team for a free initial consultation.

Disease Frequently Asked Questions

Contracting a disease or sustaining an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease in the workplace can be an incredibly difficult and stressful experience. To assist you to understand more about your rights and entitlements under the NSW workers compensation scheme, we’ve put together a series of frequently asked questions that we receive at initial consultations. The answers to these FAQs contain general information only and do not take your personal circumstances into account. There are also a number of exceptions or alternate pieces of legislation which could vary this general information for people working in exempted industries or who have contracted a dust disease. This information should be relied upon as general information only and not legal advice.

The NSW workers compensation scheme permits workers who have contracted a disease or who have sustained an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease in the workplace to claim the following benefits:

  • Partial income replacement
  • Treatment expenses
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Home and personal care
  • A lump sum payment for permanent impairment
Workers who have contracted a disease or who have sustained an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease which results in a whole person impairment of 15% or greater, may be eligible to pursue a work injury damages claim for past and future income loss. If successful, this claim would be paid as a lump sum to the worker.

To find out more about your rights and entitlements, contact our expert team for a free initial consultation and confidential advice.

Generally, workers have 6 months to lodge a claim for workers compensation in NSW.

If you are unsure whether this time limit has expired as it is unclear exactly when you contracted a disease or sustained an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease, we recommend that you seek urgent legal advice from a senior member of the Advantage Legal workers compensation team to protect your rights and entitlements.

In order to pursue a workers compensation claim, an employer needs to be notified of the disease that you have contracted or alternatively the aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of a disease that has occurred. Upon receipt of a ‘notification of injury’ an employer is required to notify their workers compensation insurer within 48 hours.

Workers should be aware that in many circumstances an employer and/or workers compensation insurer may engage an investigator to interview you upon receipt of a disease claim. The purpose of this investigation is to determine if the legislative requirements for pursuing such a claim have been met before liability for the claim is fully accepted.

In order to lodge a NSW workers compensation disease claim, you’ll need to submit the following completed forms:

  • Workers Injury Claim Form
  • Certificate of Capacity
These forms provide the medical and factual information the workers compensation insurer so that investigations can be undertaken and payments commenced in accordance with the requirements of the NSW Workers Compensation Act. The Workers Injury Claim Form is completed either by a worker directly or with assistance from a lawyer. The Certificate of Capacity will be completed by your General Practitioner.

The Workers Injury Claim Form and Certificate of Capacity are available to download at: www.sira.nsw.gov.au.

The NSW Workers Compensation Act outlines that workers who contract COVID-19 and who work in ‘prescribed employment’ are exempt from needing to establish certain legislative requirements that apply to an ordinary disease workers compensation claims. The inclusion of these provisions in the NSW Workers Compensation Act make it easier for workers to pursue a claim if they are in an industry where the chances of exposure to COVID-19 are high.

Prescribed employment means employment in any of the following:

  • The retail industry (other than businesses providing only on-line retail)
  • The health care sector, including ambulance officers and public health employees
  • Disability and aged care facilities
  • Educational institutions, including pre-schools, schools and tertiary institutions (other than establishments providing only on-line teaching services)
  • Police and emergency services (including fire brigades and rural fire services)
  • Refuges, halfway houses and homeless shelters
  • Passenger transport services
  • Libraries
  • Courts and tribunals
  • Correctional centres and detention centres
  • Restaurants, clubs and hotels
  • The construction industry
  • Places of public entertainment or instruction (including cinemas, museums, galleries, cultural institutions and casinos)
  • The cleaning industry

If a disease is assessed with a whole person impairment of greater than 10%, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation for permanent impairment under the NSW workers compensation scheme. An approved doctor will provide a report which outlines a whole person impairment based on your individual circumstances. The percentage of impairment assessed relates to a compensation amount contained within the NSW Workers Compensation Benefits Guide.

In circumstances where the workplace disease resulted from negligence of your employer, you may also be entitled to pursue a claim for work injury damages. In addition to your employer being negligent, a worker pursuing a work injury damages claim will need to have a whole person impairment of 15% or greater.

Workers compensation disease claims are complicated and have a number of different legislative requirements, regulations and qualifications depending on the disease in question. To find out more about your rights and entitlements, please contact our senior team for a free consultation.

It is not mandatory for a worker to engage a lawyer to pursue a disease claim in NSW. However, disease claims are complicated, have a number of different requirements depending on the disease in question and the industry that a worker was employed in. As many disease claims are denied outright by workers compensation insurers, it is unlikely that claim staff working for a workers compensation insurer will assist you to lodge a claim where liability is accepted. To give your claim the best prospects of success, it makes sense to engage a legal expert who can assist you through the process and represent your legal interests.

For a free initial consultation and claim assessment, contact our senior team.

Following an initial consultation with a worker, an approved lawyer, like the senior team at Advantage Legal, will apply for funding from the Independent Review Office (IRO). IRO provides funding for legal fees and disbursements so that workers do not have to pay to pursue a NSW workers compensation claim.

In circumstances where a worker has an entitlement to pursue a work injury damages claim for negligence against their employer, it is common practice for personal injury law firms to offer legal services on a ‘no-win, no-fee basis’. The law firm will then charge the worker on an hourly rate, stage based fee or fixed fee basis. Grants of funding from IRO do not apply to work injury damages claims. For more information on ‘no-win, no-fee’ please see our FAQ What does No-Win, No-Fee mean?

Please note, not all disease claims fall under the current NSW Workers Compensation Act. Exceptions for certain employment industries and disease types apply. As a consequence, not all disease claims are eligible for a grant of funding from IRO. In circumstances where IRO funding is not available, a law firm will generally act on a no-win, no-fee basis.

For more information on your personal circumstances, contact our senior team for a free initial consultation.

No-win, no-fee is a term used to offer personal injury legal services to people where professional fees are only payable at the successful conclusion of a claim. People pursuing worker compensation claims should be aware however that there is no industry standard for no-win, no-fee agreements, so it is important to read the detail of the agreement before signing with a law firm.

At Advantage Legal, our no-win, no-fee promise gives workers who wish to pursue a disease claim more protection than what is standard across the industry. We promise that we’ll pursue your work injury damage claim (or applicable workers compensation claim) and only request payment of our professional fees and disbursements when we win your case. Unlike other law firms, we’re prepared to include disbursements in our no-win, no-fee promise because we have no doubt that our team of expert workers compensation lawyers will win your case and maximise your compensation.

 

Your claim is worth more with Advantage Legal.

For too long, we have seen injured people treated poorly in NSW by large law firms and insurance companies. At Advantage Legal, we believe that compensation is personal and requires a tailored approach. Our clients trust us to know them personally, be available when they need us and to get the best possible rehabilitation and compensation outcomes for them. We take this trust seriously.

Leigh Davidson 
Principal Solicitor​

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