This section covers the obligations you are required to meet following the receipt of a worker’s compensation claim from one of your workers.

Receiving the claim
Upon receiving a completed Workers’ Compensation Claim Form and First Certificate of Capacity from your worker, you have five working days to pass the documents on to your insurer. You should make copies of these forms to provide to your worker and for your own records.

It is not your decision to accept liability for the claim. Your insurer must assess the claim and advise you and the injured worker of their decision, in writing, within 14 days of receiving the claim. The advice must indicate whether it is accepted or disputed, or if they need more time to make a decision.

What if the worker is injured on the way to or from work?
Specific provisions in relation to claims that involve a journey are contained within the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. Workers will normally not be treated as having suffered personal injury by accident arising out of or in the course of their employment if they suffer an injury during a journey between their place of residence and place of employment or vice versa. However, the claim must still be lodged and the insurer will determine whether the claim is accepted.
Assisting your insurer
Your insurance policy will detail what you can expect from your insurer. The best way you can assist your insurer is by immediately providing them with any relevant information you obtain regarding an injured worker. You should involve them as soon as possible after the injury occurs.

Getting feedback from your insurer

Ask your insurer for feedback regarding all claims, and consider arranging regular meetings. You can expect your insurer to inform you of the following:

Commencing compensation payments
While the claim is being assessed
You may consider paying accrued leave to your injured worker (such as annual or sick leave). You must ask the injured worker first, make it clear this is not workers’ compensation, and that payment of accrued leave or sick leave is a voluntary option until a decision regarding liability is made. If the claim is approved, any payment from accrued sick leave entitlements must be refunded to the employer by the insurer and recredited to the worker.
If the claim is accepted
You should begin workers’ compensation payments without delay, consulting with your insurer regarding the amount. Once payments begin, you are required to pay the worker in the usual manner and on their usual payday, unless notified by the insurer to cease payments.

If you feel that you may be unable to pay an injured worker’s weekly payments in this manner, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible to discuss what options are available. If you cannot resolve the issue with your insurer, contact Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744.

Retention of the worker's position
Employers must keep an injured worker’s position available (where reasonably practicable) for 12 months from the day the worker is entitled to receive weekly payments.

If the injured worker attains partial or total capacity to work during this time, the employer must provide their original position (where reasonably practicable), or another of equal status and pay for which they are qualified and capable of performing.

Intention to dismiss the worker

During the 12 month period, if the employer intends to dismiss the injured worker, 28 days notice of that intention must be given to the worker and to WorkCover WA by completing Form 15G – Notice of Intention to Dismiss a Worker.

WorkCover WA will then determine if any further information is required, and a Compliance Officer may contact the employer to discuss details of the termination.

Note: If a worker is in receipt of weekly payments at the time of dismissal, they will continue to receive statutory weekly repayments and medical/related benefits.

Understanding permanent impairment
Returning to work is the outcome you, the injured worker and doctor work towards. In some cases, the injured worker may be left with a permanent impairment or incapacity for work which entitles them to a lump sum payment to finalise their workers’ compensation claim.

In order to access certain benefits or settlements, or pursue common law damages, it may be necessary for the injured worker to obtain an impairment assessment from an approved medical specialist of their choice.

Impairment assessments are usually required when you (or your insurer) and the injured worker don’t agree on the level of impairment.

What is an approved medical specialist?
While treatment continues to be provided by the worker’s treating medical practitioner, only medical practitioners registered as approved medical specialists (AMS) can undertake impairment assessments.

An AMS is trained to evaluate impairment using the WorkCover WA Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

An injured worker obtains an assessment from an AMS of their choice.

For more information, go to Approved medical specialists.

How the worker gets an assessment
An injured worker has the right to choose an approved medical specialist (AMS) from the register of approved medical specialists.

Once they have made their selection, you and the injured worker will need to register the selection by completing the Form AMS 1: Request for Assessment by Approved Medical Specialist of a Workers’ Degree of Permanent Impairment.

The injured worker will be required to attend the assessment at an arranged time, date and place.

You and the injured worker will receive the AMS’ written report and a certificate of assessment at the completion of the assessment.

Your obligations

The AMS may also require you or your insurer to produce or consent to the production of any relevant document or information. Time limits may apply for meeting these requirements, and penalties exist for non-compliance.

Impairment not stabilised

If the AMS finds that the injured worker’s condition has not stabilised to the extent required for an evaluation, the AMS is required to give you and the injured worker a written report of any relevant details and reasons justifying the finding.