Claiming Injuries for Off-Site Accidents
If you are injured on company time, then you would normally be covered by your employer’s workers compensation insurance. But, with our increasingly mobile workforce, many of us now work flexible hours and sometimes even from home, so ‘company time’ has become harder to define.
According to the Workers Compensation Act, anyone who is paid a wage or commission is generally entitled to claim workers compensation benefits. This includes casual and part time workers as well as sub contractors and outworkers.
It doesn’t matter how many hours a week you work or whether you work on your employer’s premises or somewhere else, as long as your injury is ‘work-related’ (i.e. sustained whilst working for your employer), then you are normally covered by workers compensation insurance.
This can also include driving to and from work in a company vehicle or your own vehicle, or driving to or from some work-related location (i.e. calling on a client), providing no sizeable detour was taken from the most direct route there or back when the injury was sustained.
Situations where you would not normally be covered by workers compensation insurance can include:
- If you were using an employer’s property (such as a work vehicle) in a reckless or irresponsible manner
- If you were using an employer’s property without their permission
- If you were using an employer’s property for personal reasons or outside of company time
Employers who are considering having their employees work from home would be wise to address the following issues before doing so:
- Make sure that the home working environment is safe (as per an employer’s ‘duty of care’)
- Make sure that the equipment and systems of work provided to home workers are safe and well maintained
- Make sure that home workers receive the necessary training and supervision to ensure their health and safety on the job
- Make sure equipment and substances used by home workers in their employment are handled, transported and stored • safely at all times
- Have procedures in place, so that ‘company time’ can be clearly identified (i.e. defined working hours, break times etc)
- Have appropriate insurance to cover possible injuries sustained by any non-workers in the home/work environment
If you are injured at work, whether onsite, at home or in transit, you should take the following steps in order to make a workers compensation claim:
- Report the injury to your employer straight away
- Seek medical attention
- Request a WorkCover-approved medical certificate from your doctor
- Send a copy of the medical certificate to WorkCover and another copy to your employer
- Complete an ‘Application for Compensation’ form, which is available from WorkCover
- Complete an Employment Declaration for lost wages due to time off work, which is also available from WorkCover.
If you are injured at work and follow these steps, only to find that your employer is disputing your workers compensation claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options and to see what further action you may be able to take.