In Victoria if you are injured at work then you are entitled to various worker’s compensation benefits. The payment of those benefits is managed by your employer’s WorkCover Insurer who act as the Agent for the Victorian Worksafe Authority.
Those Insurers often make decisions that have significant and detrimental impacts on injured workers. This includes refusing to accept a claim, to stop paying your wages when you are still unable to return to work or refusing to pay for necessary medical treatment you need for your injury.
The Victorian Government has made a significant improvement to the way injured workers can challenge those decisions to resolve them more quickly through a new arbitration system commencing from 1 September 2022.
If you receive a decision from your employer’s insurer that you disagree with and want to challenge, you must first refer that decision to the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service to have the dispute conciliated. If the dispute is unable to be resolved there, then your only option for resolving the dispute is to issue proceedings in court which can be costly and can take a long time to resolve. There is currently an internal review process to reconsider ongoing disputes after conciliation at Worksafe but this has not resolved all issues.
Worksafe is introducing a new cost-effective arbitration process for injured workers that will run a hearing within 30 days of the unresolved conciliation and the Insurer must accept the decision of the arbitrator.
There are other changes to the process including a name change and some conditions on what can be heard at arbitration. This change though is good news for injured workers as it hopefully will result in disputes with Insurers being resolved more quickly than they currently are.
If you are an injured worker and you have a dispute in relation to your claim or you are after advice in relation to your rights in general then contact Paul Burke, our experienced Partner at Longton Legal Melbourne for advice.
*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action.*
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