Workers Compensation

Aged Care Facilities: Addressing Injury Claims

By LHD Lawyers

Approximately 370,000 Australians work in the aged care industry, according to the Department of Health and Aged Care. These include nurses, medical practitioners, office staff, and even cleaners, gardeners, and drivers.

As in any other occupation, aged care workers are susceptible to workplace injuries – even more so, given the physical nature of their duties. If you’ve been injured or contracted an illness while working at an aged care facility, filing an injury claim with your insurer is the best route toward receiving monetary compensation for your accident. 

For those who don’t know how to file a claim for injuries in aged care, this article will guide you through the process. We’ll also discuss these important points of information:

  • Common injuries that aged care workers suffer
  • How to prevent injuries in aged care facilities
  • What you can claim as an injured aged care worker
  • How long your claim will take to process

What are common injuries for aged care workers?

The most common types of injuries that aged care workers suffer are sprains or strains in their back, neck, and shoulders. These typically result from lifting and moving elderly patients and/or medical transportation equipment, such as trolleys and wheelchairs. They can also hurt themselves by slipping and falling on a slick surface.

In addition, some workers in aged care facilities may experience psychological as well as physical injuries when dealing with patients. Sadly, bullying and harassment (namely from patients) is a common hazard in this line of work, and some patients can even become violent or aggressive.

How can injuries in aged care facilities be prevented?

Injuries in aged care facilities can be prevented by following basic safety procedures, as outlined in official legislation.

For example, aged care facility employers should:

  • Provide their workers with safe equipment.
  • Provide their workers with information, instruction, training, or supervision to ensure that they are able to perform their work with minimal risk to themselves or their patients.
  • Remove any health risks from the facility as they arise (i.e., mopping up any spilled liquids on the floor and marking them with caution signs).

For more information on what employers are legally required to do in pursuit of safety for their workers, see the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Laws (or, if you live in Victoria, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004).

What can I claim for as an injured aged care worker?

If you’re injured or fall ill on the job as an aged care worker, then you must file a claim through your workers compensation insurance. In most cases, your insurer will be WorkCover, which provides a variety of types of coverage (whether you will receive any or all of them depends on the strength of your case).

Here are the benefits you may be able to claim in this situation.

  • Medical costs, including treatment and rehabilitation (for physical and psychological injuries)
  • Travel expenses associated with your injuries
  • Loss of income
  • Death benefit

How long will my workers compensation claim take to process? 

The length of time it takes for workers compensation claims to process vary by case and by state. In Western Australia, for example, the insurer has 14 days from the time they receive your claim to render a decision to cover your injury or not. They can also decide to extend their investigation by an additional 10 days.

But the truth is that the claims process can extend for several weeks or months, especially if your case is a complex one.

That’s just one reason that it’s essential to file your claim as soon as possible after you’re injured. Another reason is that there are strict time limits on how long you have to file after your injury. Depending on the state where you live, you may have anywhere from 30 days to 6 months to 3 years to file.

If you’re unsure how long you have to claim your aged care facility injury, contact LHD Lawyers as soon as possible, so we can help you file on time.

What should I do if I’ve been injured? 

After you’ve been injured during your shift working at an aged care facility, here’s what you should do next.

  1. Let your employer know that you were injured at work.
  2. Go to your doctor and have your injuries tended. While you’re there, obtain a Certificate of Capacity that indicates when you will be able to return to work, and in what capacity. (If you live in Tasmania, ask for an Injured Workers’ Compensation Medical Certificate.)
  3. Gather evidence of your claim. Evidence may include copies of all your test results, medical bills, receipts of expenses that you incurred as a result of your injury, and any photos you can obtain of the incident.
  4. Fill out an accident claim form with your employer or your insurer; you’ll need to check the proper procedure in the state where you reside. Complete this step as quickly as possible.

From there, your insurer will evaluate your claim. They may ask for evidence, which is why you should already have this information at hand. Once they render their decision, they will let you know which benefits you qualify for.

Make an aged care injury claim today

If you’ve been injured in an aged care facility and think you have a workers compensation claim to make in Tasmania, NSW, Victoria or Western Australia, LHD Lawyers can help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. 

We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

Author: James Bodel

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