NSW Workers Compensation: Should I lodge a workers compensation claim when my employer is paying for my physiotherapy

We often hear clients coming to us saying they never thought about making a claim because their employers are helping them to pay for physio and they are being seen by the “company doctor” at free of charge. In addition, employers often pay and approve injured workers’ request to take “sick leaves” while they are off work.  

Unfortunately, injured workers often get misguided when their employers do that and feel like there is no need to lodge a claim because they are being “looked after”. More often than not, employers do not tell injured workers their full rights and entitlements under the NSW workers compensation scheme.  

Injured workers often feel pressured into returning back to work, because their sick leave entitlements are running out, and they need an income. Fair enough, everyone has bills to pay and need to put food on the table. What injured workers do not know is that by lodging a workers compensation claim with the workers compensation insurer, they may be entitled to ongoing wage payments (weekly benefits compensation) for up to 2.5 years if they are certified as having no current work capacity. Also, if you lodge a workers compensation claim, you’re not required to utilise your ‘sick leave’ or ‘personal leave’ entitlements to cover time off work.  

In addition to having your wages paid, the insurer is also liable to pay for your reasonably necessary treatment expenses. GP consultations and physiotherapy are often the starting point of a treatment plan, however depending on your injuries and the severity, you may require more specialised treatment such as consultation with an Orthopaedic surgeon, Neurosurgeon, or undergo MRI scans. In some circumstances, you may need to attend pain management clinics, to educate you on how to manage your pain. We have seen some claims whereby the insurer approved a therapy dog for an injured worker who sustained a work-related psychological injury. We bet no one has told you about that one.  

The insurer is also liable to pay for your reasonable travel expenses to and from medical appointments. If you travel by private vehicle, you could get reimbursed up to 55cents per kilometre. In this current market with the petrol prices being so high, we understand every dollar counts when you’re unable to work.   

Finally, in addition to having your wages and treatment paid, you may also be entitled to a one-off lump sum compensation payout for the permanent impairment you have sustained as a result of your workplace injury. It is unlikely your employer or workers compensation insurer will take the initiative to advise you on this head of compensation or arrange for your level of impairment to be assessed. The standard procedure is that as the ‘Claimant’, you will need to make the claim for lump sum compensation first, and then the insurer will respond to your claim. It is not as straightforward as it sounds, and to ensure you’ve maximized your compensation entitlements, we strongly suggest that you consult Littles Lawyers for free legal advice.  

The NSW Workers Compensation Scheme is a complex system and therefore we highly recommend you seek legal advice. The Head of our NSW team, Jessica Cheung is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law specializing in workplace injuries. If you believe you have sustained a work-related injury and would like professional legal, reach out to Jessica and her team for a confidential discussion at no costs to you.    

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