ComCare lawyers

The Comcare workers’ compensation scheme covers Australian public service employees of the Commonwealth Government and ACT Government, and employees of companies licensed to operate under the Comcare scheme, such as Telstra, Optus, Australia Post, Linfox, Border Express, K & S Freighters, TNT Australia, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, John Holland and Chubb.

If you work for one of these organisations and you suffer an injury at work, you can claim compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (SRC) Act 1988 (Cth). You are covered by the Comcare scheme whether you work full-time, part-time or as a casual.

You can claim Comcare compensation for injuries sustained at work or for diseases caused, or contributed to, by your employment. Diseases include psychological conditions, cancers, strokes, asthma, heart conditions and degenerative conditions. These are often aggravated or exacerbated by employment.

Accessing your Commonwealth compensation entitlements under Comcare can be a very complicated process and time limits apply to many of the steps you need to take to pursue a claim for personal injury and compensation. If you are injured, you should seek advice from your union or a legal expert who specialises in Comcare and can guide you through the Comcare claims process.

Unlike many other firms, we have lawyers who work solely on Comcare claims. We offer a free first consultation, and in most cases we will be able to represent you on a no win, no fee basis (conditions apply).

We have Queensland offices in Brisbane, Browns Plains, Caboolture, Cairns, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Strathpine, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, and Townsville. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Comcare review

In 2012 and 2013, Maurice Blackburn provided detailed submissions to the Federal Government's Review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, which related to the Comcare scheme.

Frequently Asked Questions

What injuries are covered?

Compensation is payable under Comcare for:

  • physical injuries, such as an injured back, arms or legs
  • injuries suffered while you are temporarily performing a work activity away from your place of employment
  • injuries suffered travelling for work or while travelling to, or attending, an approved place of work or education
  • injuries suffered while obtaining a medical certificate, medical treatment or undergoing a rehabilitation program or medical examination required by Comcare or your employer, and
  • any disease caused, or contributed to, by work, including pre-existing disease if work has aggravated the condition (this may include cancers, degenerative conditions, strokes, heart conditions and psychological conditions).

What injuries aren’t covered?

The Act allows your employer or Comcare to deny your claim if they can show that an exclusionary provision applies. This can occur where it is alleged that an injury, disease or an aggravation is a result of:

  • reasonable disciplinary action
  • failure to obtain a promotion
  • failure to obtain a transfer, or
  • failure to obtain a benefit in connection with employment.

A claim can also be excluded if it arose as a result of reasonable administrative action. This can include:

  • employment-related performance appraisals
  • counselling
  • suspension action
  • disciplinary action
  • re-classification, or
  • retention of a benefit.

Injuries suffered while travelling between work and your home since 12 April 2007 are not covered. However, you may still be able to lodge a claim with the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer in your state.

What medical treatment benefits are available?

You are entitled to payment of all reasonable medical expenses. This includes:

  • surgery
  • hospital fees
  • nursing care
  • dental treatment
  • prescription medicine
  • medical aids, and
  • treatment from:
    • registered physiotherapists
    • chiropractors
    • osteopaths, and
    • massage therapists.

These entitlements may be affected if you sue for damages and pain and suffering under common law, so talk to us about what is best for you.

How much of my wage is covered?

If you can't return to work, you are entitled to receive 100 per cent of your normal weekly earnings for the first 45 weeks you are off work. If you can return to work, but not on your usual hours, you are entitled to a top-up payment.

What is a lump sum permanent impairment benefit and when can I claim it?

If you suffer a permanent impairment due to your work-related injury, you may be entitled to claim a lump sum permanent impairment benefit. This is a set amount of money paid to you to compensate for the impact your permanent injury will have on you for the rest of your life.

A lump sum payment does not impact your ongoing Comcare benefits, such as compensation for medical expenses, however, you can’t sue for damages and claim a lump sum – you have to choose – so it’s important to talk to us about your best course of action.

To be entitled to receive a lump sum payment, you need to establish that your injuries have stabilised, which usually happens 6-12 months from the date of your injury or your last operation. You also need a medical assessment that the injury is permanent.

What happens if someone dies?

A lump sum compensation payment of $504,449.16 and a weekly pension payment of $138.72 are payable to the dependent children of a worker who has died of a work-related injury or illness.

Reasonable funeral expenses may also be claimed to a maximum of $11,267.70. 

What if Comcare or my employer stop my benefits?

Comcare or your employer may decide to stop your payments or medical treatment. This may happen when Comcare determines that you no longer have an incapacity for employment or you no longer need some or all of your medical treatment.

If you believe this is unfair and you want to appeal the decision, you must apply for reconsideration within 30 days.

Can I appeal?

Yes, you can appeal a decision by Comcare or your employer.

If you have applied for a reconsideration, known as a reviewable decision, and it has not gone in your favour, we can advise you about the next steps to take. This may include taking your case to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). An application to the AAT must be made within 60 days of receipt of the reviewable decision.

Can I sue my employer for damages and pain and suffering under common law?

To be entitled to pursue a claim for common law non-economic loss damages you require a minimum level of impairment, usually assessed by a specialist.

This level needs to be as high as would be required for a permanent impairment claim for that injury. This is usually 10% with some exceptions.

You generally have three years from the date of your injury to make a common law claim, although this might be extended if your injury has not yet stabilised.

Common law damages claims against third parties

A third party is a person or organisation other than your employer. It is common for workers to be injured due to the negligence of a third party. Time limits are generally three years from the date of your injury. Common law claims against third parties can affect your ongoing entitlements and legal advice is essential.

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