I was Injured at Work in Western Australia and have left the State. Am I still entitled to Workers Compensation?
Western Australia is going through some hard economic times. In the now past times of the boom, workers from all over Australia and indeed the world came to Western Australia to take advantage of the high wages offered in the mining and oil and gas industries. The mines were keen to hire and many otherwise unskilled labourers made a good living. The boom is now by in large over and many workers have returned to their home states or countries. Foyle Legal acts for several workers who have returned to their home states or countries, as well as other states of Australia these include New Zealand, Ireland, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.
It is important that workers who leave Western Australia realise that if they are residing in another state of Australia or another country then they have special responsibilities to obtain a statutory declaration regarding their identity.
Section 69 of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 relevantly says:
- Worker not residing in WA, continuance of weekly payments to
Subject to this Act, if a worker receiving a weekly payment does not reside in the State he is entitled to receive the amount of the weekly payments accruing due so long as he proves, in such a manner and at such intervals as may be prescribed, his identity and the continuance of the incapacity in respect of which the weekly payment is payable.
What this section means is that to continue receiving weekly payments of compensation a worker residing outside of Western Australia must:
- Complete Form 6 as appropriate and have his or her doctor complete it where appropriate to confirm his or her identity and that he or she remains incapacitated. Form 6 can be found at the WorkCover website by following the following link: http://www.workcover.wa.gov.au/content/uploads/2014/Documents/Resources/Forms%20and%20publications/Forms/Form_6_Declaration-in-Respect-of-Worker-not-Residing-in-WA_Regulated.doc
- At present the intervals at which the worker must complete a Form 6 is every 3 months.
Foyle Legal has recently acted for an injured worker who found himself in a situation where he did not provide the required Form 6 certificate every three months. For a while, things were fine but on a whim of the insurer his weekly payments were ceased leaving him in a very precarious financial position. Foyle Legal advised the injured worker to obtain a Form 6 immediately and he did so, following which Foyle Legal bought an Application for Conciliation on his behalf in WorkCover Western Australia.
The matter was subsequently settled, but things could have gone very differently. The injured worker may have had to go through the whole WorkCover process which ordinarily takes from 8 – 12 months – if this occurred then it is likely that the worker would have gone bankrupt.
It is very important that injured workers realise that once their claim is accepted Section 61 of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 provides workers with strong protection against weekly payments of compensation being discontinued without the worker’s consent. Section 69 is an exception to this. Even if a worker obtains a Form 6 stating that he or she is totally unfit after the 3 month period there is no guarantee that weekly payments will continue.
If you are having trouble with a workers compensation insurer who will not pay you weekly payments of compensation Foyle Legal can help you to bring an application for Conciliation or Arbitration through WorkCover Western Australia. This may be a long process but it is generally worth it and Foyle Legal has many clients who have had a good outcome through the WorkCover WA Conciliation or Arbitration process.
Some of the law firms such as Foyle Legal acts for injured workers in workers compensation claims on a no win no fee basis which is especially important when injured workers do not have addition money to pay lawyers’ fees. At Foyle Legal the first consultation for workers compensation matters is free if you do not proceed and obligation free.