Injured workers are reluctant to make claims to WorkCover Queensland for fear it will cost them their job in the current tough employment market, says leading law firm Trilby Misso.
Trilby Misso Senior Associate Viktoria Stachelek said about 30 per cent of clients who come to the firm with a personal injury claim say they are hesitant to follow through because of concerns it could jeopardise their employment.
“People are prepared to put up with being injured and seek no compensation because they are worried about the possible consequences of making a claim,” Ms Stachelek said.
“We have found about a third of claimants who expressed reservations about going ahead with their damages claim to WorkCover end up dropping the claim.
“The situation is of concern when people are reluctant to pursue their legal rights.”
Ms Stachelek said claimants were also deterred from claiming compensation for fear of compromising their employer/employee relationship.
“Workers are less likely to make a claim if they have a difficult employer because they believe they will be made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” she said.
“On the other hand, claimants who have a strong relationship with their employer or work for a small business are also reluctant to pursue their legal rights.
“By making a claim these workers feel they are putting a strain on the relationship they have with their employer, when it is well within their rights to seek compensation.”
Queensland’s current workers’ compensation scheme is also under fire by insurers and employers who want the government to cap workers’ compensation.
Ms Stachelek said the current debate about making changes to WorkCover included no suggestion of employing tougher workplace health and safety regulations in the workplace.
“Workers are being injured unnecessarily due to supervisors failing to adhere to occupational health and safety standards,” she said.
“Implementing proper management procedures in the workplace is a simple solution in ensuring the safety of staff, and this hasn’t even been mentioned in the debate.
“Capping workers compensation without shedding light on the underlying issue of poor management is extremely harsh for injured workers who are usually the least informed and the least vocal.”