How can you resolve disagreements over workplace injury claims?
Say you've suffered a workplace injury that's rendered you temporarily unable to handle your job responsibilities. Maybe you experienced a minor fall while working on a construction site, or began feeling chronic back pain from working at an uncomfortable desk. In any event, you got hurt, reported it to your employer and begin campaigning for medical treatment and compensation.
Your employer might cooperate. They also might fight back. Even if you've had an independent medical examination (IME) that clearly shows the nature of your injury and attributes it to your work, there's no guarantee that your bosses will go along with this assessment. If they don't, you might be in for quite the bitter dispute.
How can you resolve such a situation?
Bringing in outside representatives
Initially, when you report a workplace injury, that process tends to involve getting an IME and using the information you turn up to fill out injury claim forms. Sometimes, though, you'll encounter a situation where your employer disputes the information on the form.
According to WorkSafe Victoria, this may result in a situation where the company brings in additional specialists to evaluate your medical situation. These may include case managers, injury management advisors or return-to-work specialists who are specifically focused on getting you back up to speed. It might require a long back-and-forth before the two sides can get to the bottom of their disagreement.
Figuring out the core problem quickly
These disputes can get complicated, but they're a little simpler if the two sides can agree on the core problem being debated, according to the NSW Workers Compensation Commission. What's the root of the issue? Does the employer believe the injury management plan hasn't been followed, or that the employee isn't making a good-faith effort to return to work? More broadly, is there suspicion that the employee isn't hurt at all?
Open, honest conversation is the only way to figure out the relevant issues and hash them out. It's important to have these dialogues quickly, too, because the clock is ticking before time limits on these cases run out.
Getting a compensation lawyer when you really need one
If you've been injured and your employer is holding out on paying what's yours, you might be entitled to a big payday. The only way to find out is to speak to a good lawyer about your case.