Counting the Cost

Extensions to Lodgement Timeframes for WA Workers’ Compensation Claims

One of the amendments to the Western Australian Workers’ Compensation legislation that hasn’t received much publicity is the extension to the amount of time that an employer has to lodge a claim with their insurer.

Effective 1 October 2011, employers will have five (5) working days to lodge an injured worker’s completed Claim Form on their insurer. The insurer’s timeframe for making a decision on the claim does not change – they still have 14 days to assess it – and therefore workers may have to wait up to 19 days for their first response from the insurer.

Currently, employers must submit workers’ compensation claims to their insurer within three working days of receiving the completed Claim Form from the injured worker.  For employers who fail to do so, the possibility has existed for the insurer to refuse to cover the initial costs of the claim; in practice, however, this has not occurred.

A significant change for both workers and employers is that it is now an offense for employers to delay the lodgement of the claim. If a late lodgement is reported to WorkCover, the employer may be liable for a $1,000 penalty. (Section 57A(2A) of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Act 2011.)

What is Aurenda’s perspective on this?

Time and time again, research shows that early intervention results in positive outcomes for both employers and workers who are injured at work.  Extending the lodgement time to five working days will lead to delays in the initial injury management response from some employers, negatively impacting on return to work timeframes and claims costs.

We encourage employers to obtain completed paperwork from injured workers and lodge workers’ compensation claims as quickly as possible.  For the vast majority of claims, getting a speedy decision from the insurer on liability and initiating return to work at the earliest possible opportunity is best for everyone.  In instances where there are questions about the validity of the claim, investigations can be instigated immediately while information about the injury circumstances is still fresh in people’s minds.

The upside of a possible $1,000 penalty for failing to lodge a claim within five working days is the increased motivation of employers not to leave Claim Forms sitting on someone’s desk because they’re ‘too busy to get to it’!

To make sure that you’re not counting the cost of a delay in lodging a workers’ compensation claim, here are some tips:

  • Get your injured workers to complete their Claim Form as soon as possible
  • Date-stamp the Claim Form when you receive it, in case it has been sitting on the worker’s kitchen bench for a few days after they signed it
  • Complete the Employer’s Report of Injury right away, and forward all claims paperwork to your insurer immediately
  • Even if you haven’t received the Claim Form, get in touch with your employee to initiate the injury management process as soon as possible after you become aware that they’ve suffered a workplace injury

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Filed under Aurenda, Injury Management, Workers Compensation, Workplace Injury

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