If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to claim workers' compensation. This can be to cover your medical treatment, as well as lost wages if you cannot work.
You have a right to be safe at work. You should not have to work with unsafe equipment, unsafe work systems, or people who hurt you. If you have been injured at work you have rights, but also obligations.
WorkCover WA manages all workers' compensation claims in Western Australia. Comcare manages the workers' compensation claims of Australian Government employees.
This information only relates to workers' compensation claims by WA employees.
- when and how you can make a claim
- what time limits apply to workers' compensation claims, and
- what you can do if your injury was caused by your employer's negligence.
When and how can you make a claim?
You can make a claim for workers' compensation if you are injured:
- in the course of your work, and
- you are defined by law as a worker. This includes full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, piece and commission workers.
Others workers, such as contractors and sub-contractors, may be covered depending on their working arrangements. You should get legal advice if you are not sure if you are a worker.
WorkCover WA has more information on how to make a claim and what happens after your claim is lodged.
Is there a time limit to make a claim for workers' compensation?
You must make a claim for compensation as soon as practicable within 12 months of being injured or discovering the disease. If you are outside the time limit, you should get legal advice straight away.
What if I think my injury was caused by my employer's negligence?
If you think your injury or illness was a result of your employer's negligence, it is possible that you may have a common law claim. This means your claim will be dealt with through the courts, rather than through WorkCover WA.
Different time limits will apply to start a court case, depending on when your cause of action arose.
This area of law is complicated. You should get legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
You may be able to deal with your workers' compensation claim yourself. However, it is recommended that you get legal advice, even if you do not need ongoing representation.
Legal Aid WA does not give legal advice or representation in court about workers' compensation claims.
The Law Society of WA can refer you to a lawyer who specialises in this area.
If you are in a member of a union, you should contact your union to ask what help or services are available.
Advice and Assistance helpline - 1300 794 744
Speak to an Advisory Officer, to get guidance and assistance about your rights and obligations under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
A Technical Note on Contractors and Workers' Compensation
Has information to clarify liability and legal obligations in relation to contractors and sub-contractors.
- Workers' Compensation and Injury Management: A Guide for Workers
Has information about workers' compensation rights and the process for workers.
- Call the Contact Centre, Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5 pm AEST, on 1300 366 979 or (02) 6276 0333
Reviewed: 26 October 2022