Northern Territory Work Injuries
Northern Territory Work Injury Compensation
When you are injured on the job, as worker in the Northern Territory you can apply for and receive workers compensation benefits.
Often referred to as “statutory compensation” the benefits usually paid consist of wages while off work, payment of approved medical expenses and rehabilitation.
If your injury leaves you with permanent impairment, you may be offered a lump sum payment as well.
We can assist and advise you about:
- injury impairment assessments;
- the merits of disputing a decision to reject or cease an application for compensation;
- Mediation with NT WorkSafe;
- Work Health Court; and,
- the merits of any Workers Compensation Agreement (Hopkins Agreement) relating to a work injury.
- We also specialise in Firefighter Cancer Claims (presumptive legislation) in the NT.
Workers Compensation Entitlements
Employers and insurers are required to assess and manage all claims in accordance with the rules set out in the Return to Work Act.
Employers and their insurers are bound by the rules and guidelines found in the Return to Work Act.
As an injured worker you also have some things you need to do to, such as:
- report the incident and your injury to your employer as soon as practicable.
- obtain a Workers Compensation Medical Certificate from the Doctor. Submit this certificate to your employer.
- NOTE: you do not have to see the employer’s doctor, you can and should choose your own treating doctor.
- obtain a Workers Compensation Claim Form from your employer, or NT Worksafe. Complete this form and return it to your employer.
- You should always keep copies of all documents handed to your employer, their insurer or a doctor.
- Submit your application for compensation as soon as possible but within 6 months from date of injury.
- Cooperate with the employer and insurer with any reasonable request regarding medical appointments and the return to work program.
- NOTE: The insurer or your employer should not ever come into a doctors appointment with you.
Work Health Court
A dispute arises when an injured worker doesn’t agree with a decision made by the employer/insurer:
- to dispute liability for compensation claimed by the claimant (reject the claim); or
- to cancel or reduce wage compensation being paid to the claimant;
- to cancel or refuse to pay for care and assistance at home or medical treatment and medical expenses such as prosthetics and aids.
Going to mediation is mandatory before any matter can be started in the Work Health Court.
It is recommended to seek legal advice before attending a Mediation. Remember the insurers have legal and administrative training to attend Mediations and they go to them all the time.
In our experience, all injured workers participating in a mediation process without legal assistance of some type are at an unfair disadvantage going into a mediation.
The mediator is there to facilitate a discussion about the issues to help the parties resolve the matter. They are not there to assist or advise the injured worker about the merit of the claim or the injured workers chances of winning the dispute if it’s taken to the Work Health Court. This is why all injured workers should have the benefit of some legal assistance prior to a mediation and at a mediation.
Following a mediation, if the dispute is not resolved an injured worker can take the matter to the Work Health Court.
The Work Health Court has the power to hear and determine all matters and disputes that arise in relation to the Return to Work Act.
We only work for and represent injured workers and can assist and advise injured workers about:
- claiming workers compensation;
- rejected or cancelled claims;
- rejection of medical treatment and care and assistance during a claim;
- disputes progressing through the mediation process;
- a claim in the Work Health Court;
- lump sum settlements and Hopkins Agreements; and
- permanent impairment assessments.
Lump Sum Settlement
There is no avenue to make a negligence claim against an employer in the Northern Territory. You cannot sue your boss when you sustain a work injury, even if it was their fault.
If you have an accepted workers compensation claim you can, in the right circumstances, negotiate with the employer and insurer to pay out the value of your claim as a lump sum payment. This is referred to as a workers compensation agreement but better known as a Hopkins Agreement.
Not every work injury and claim is or can be finalised this way so it is recommended that you always seek legal advice when you sustain a work injury. This way you know you are accessing and receiving all of your entitlements under the Return to Work Act.
With anything legal there are time frames for when to apply for things and for when to dispute things.
Important time frames for Workers Compensation are:
Application for Compensation
- 6 Months
- From date of Injury to apply for workers compensation statutory benefits.
- It is advisable to put your application in as soon as possible. If you are late we suggest you get some legal advice before submitting your application – sometimes a late application can be accepted.
- 90 Days
- From date of receipt of insurer’s decision to lodge a dispute with NT Worksafe where the matter will proceed to a Mediation.
Appeal to Work Health Court
- 28 Days
- From date of the Mediators Certificate to file a claim with the Work Health Court disputing the decision about the acceptance or rejection of a claim or the cessation of benefits such as wages.
- 28 Days
- From receipt of an Impairment assessment to disagree with an impairment assessment about your work injury and have your injury referred to NT Worksafe re reassessment.