Becoming injured at work can be a highly stressful and confusing time for anyone to experience. Let alone, trying to navigate through a workers’ compensation claim.
Here we talk you through your rights and provide some helpful tips to follow with your GP to ensure you are adequately compensated for any injury sustained at work.
Can I see my own doctor for a workers’ compensation claim?
From the outset, we recommend that you see your GP and ensure all your symptoms and injuries are documented accurately.
Your employer may have a preferred doctor that they request you see in relation to your workplace injury.
However, it is important to know you have every right to choose your own medical experts for advice and treatment. This includes selecting your own treating GP, specialists, allied health services and providers as well as vocational rehabilitation providers throughout your claim.
Ensure you are getting the most out of your GP appointments
When it comes to your treatment, wellbeing and return to work plan following a worker’s compensation claim, your GP will play a vital role.
You should be able to trust and rely on your treating GP for:
- Monitoring and reviewing your progress
- Prescribing medications
- Issuing referrals to allied health services and specialists while monitoring the outcomes and treatment recommendations Assessing and certifying capacity for work
- Issuing referrals to a WorkCover WA approved vocational rehabilitation provider
- Overseeing the return-to-work process, ensuring ongoing consultation with the employer and/or vocational rehabilitation provider.
WorkCover WA Certificates of Capacity
In Western Australia, to make a workers’ compensation claim, you must obtain a ‘First Certificate of Capacity’ from a doctor, complete a workers’ compensation claim form, and submit both documents to your employer.
Thereafter, you are required to obtain from your treating GP or specialist, and submit to your employer, ‘Progress Certificates of Capacity’ which should clearly state:
- date of injury
- date of examination
- reported symptoms and restrictions
- treatments prescribed
- referrals issued and work capacity, including all applicable restrictions.
These Certificates of Capacity are essential in guiding your return-to-work program. They clarify for your employer and their insurer, your work capacity. These Certificates indicate whether you are fit; to return to your full pre-injury duties, fit for modified or alternative duties and/or hours of work, or totally unfit for work.
Certificates of Capacity also outline your treatment requirements and referrals issued.
Our tip – Ensure your GP details all the following when completing your Certificates of Capacity:
- prescribed medications
- allied health treatment requirements, and
- any referrals issued
Insurers rely upon the certificates when approving and/or refusing expenses under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (Act).
To further limit the insurer’s ability to challenge your entitlements, it is important you obtain an updated ‘Progress Certificate of Capacity’ every four weeks (at a minimum) for the duration of your workers’ compensation claim. Ensure there are no gaps between each certificate.
It is also important that you follow your GP’s recommendations and raise any concerns you feel need addressing as soon as possible.
If you are unhappy with the treatment you have received or disagree with your GP’s injury management plan you are entitled to seek a second opinion or change your treating GP. You are not required to continue seeing the same GP for the duration of your claim.
Stephen Brown Personal Injury Lawyers are worker’s compensation experts
If you have been injured at work and have questions regarding the compensation to which you may be entitled, get in touch today to discuss your options with our friendly workers’ compensation claims team.