Under Australia's workers' compensation law, an injured worker does not bear the burden of proof. This means that the worker does not need to prove that their employer is culpable for the injury suffered — he or she merely has to demonstrate that they fulfill the statutory requirements for eligibility for workers compensation. To qualify for workers' compensation, here's what you must prove:
- That you are legally employed. For you to be eligible for workers' compensation, there must an employment relationship between you and your employer. The definition of an employment relationship varies from state to state, but it generally exists whenever an individual does work or renders services in a work environment in return for a salary or wages. If you can provide evidence that you have been on your employer's payroll for a certain duration of employment, then you do qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
- That you were injured while in employment. While you do not have to prove that your employer is at fault for your injury to be eligible for workers' compensation, you have to prove that you were injured on the job. In other words, you injury must have been suffered while you were carrying out an action required by your employer. In the context of eligibility for workers' compensation, injury includes any physical injury or occupational disease that may result from execution of employment duties and responsibilities. It is important that you seek medical treatment immediately you get injured in order to establish and record the cause of your injury. Generally speaking, your employer will not be held liable for any injury that you may suffer outside of your job.
- That you lost earnings. To qualify for compensation, you also need to prove that you lost income as a result of the injury you suffered. Lost earnings, in this context, includes personal monies you spent on medical treatment, as well as the remuneration you could have received if you were in a position to work as usual. It is possible for you to receive benefits even after you resume work, if your level of functioning is affected by the injury.
To prove your eligibility for workers' compensation, it is important that you provide concrete proof to support your claim, so be ready to provide medical records, wage receipts, pay cheques, accident reports and any other evidence, including witnesses that can provide proof that you meet the above criteria.