In the Western Australian workers compensation scheme, there is an amount of money prescribed for medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation. In the 2018 year commencing 1 July 2018 the amount for medical expenses (before extension) is $68,492.00 and the amount of vocational rehabilitation is $15,981.00.
Employer Attending the medical reviews
Most workers realise that they are entitled to assistance in the payment of medical expenses, and that they are entitled to assistance in returning to work, but beyond this they do not know their rights in relation to how this money can be spent.
It is relatively common within the workers compensation system for employers to attend medical reviews with their employees. Unfortunately this practice puts a lot of pressure on the employee to return to work, in circumstances where they may not be fit to do so, or to otherwise do as the employer says what they are seeing their doctor. This practice has recently been the subject of a media release by WorkCover, relevantly WorkCover said that “There is no legal or operational basis for employers or their representatives to be present during a medical consultation between an injured worker and a treating doctor. This applies even where treatment is recommended or facilitated by the employer.”
Employer / Insurer Choosing Doctors
When a person is injured in the course of their work, it is often the situation that a person’s employer takes them to a medical practitioner. Often, this is a medical practitioner who practices in the area of occupational medicine, and performs pre-employment medicals for the employer. For one reason or another, it often appears in practice that these doctors are less than independent.
Injured workers have the right to choose their own medical treatment providers. They do not need to accept a medical provider who has been provided for them by their employer.
Insurer choosing vocational rehabilitation providers
In circumstances where an injured worker has a partial capacity for work, the normal situation is that a vocational rehabilitation provider is appointed by the workers compensation insurer. Injured workers should be aware that even though the insurer has appointed a vocational rehabilitation provider, the injured worker does not need to accept the vocational rehabilitation provider appointed for them by the insurer, and they have the right to choose their own vocational rehabilitation provider.
Again, in practice, many of the vocational rehabilitation providers appointed by insurers proved to be less than independent in reality. One of the possible reasons for this is that they are appointed to a panel of vocational rehabilitation providers by the insurer, and the vocational rehabilitation providers want to obtain constant work going forward.
Foyle Legal practices in the area of work injury claims and workers compensation as a worker injury lawyer. If you were injured at work, and made a claim, then Foyle Legal may be able to help you on a no win no fee basis. At Foyle legal your first attendance is obligation free.
For more information, Please contact us.
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