The short answer to this question is 6 months from the time the workplace injury occurred.
For statutory claims, Queensland has a ‘no fault’ workers’ compensation scheme which means that Queensland workers have the right to apply for statutory benefits no matter who or what caused their workplace injury. A statutory compensation claim will be made to WorkCover Queensland (or your Australian state equivalent). In accordance with section 131 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), your WorkCover claim must be filed within 6 months of the injury occurring.
There are only a handful of circumstances where there might be an exception to this 6 month time limit. For example, WorkCover (or relevant self-insurer) must waive the 6 month time limit if it is satisfied that special circumstances of a medical nature, decided by a medical assessment tribunal, exist. Alternatively, WorkCover may choose to waive the 6 month time limit where it is satisfied that a claimant’s failure to lodge the application was due to mistake, the claimants’ absence from the State, or some other reasonable cause.
Workplace injury and the types of compensation
Statutory compensation may include weekly payments as income replacement, lump sums to compensate for permanent impairment or covering the costs of hospital and medical expenses.
Statutory compensation claims must be differentiated from WorkCover common law claims. WorkCover Common law claims involve an injured worker suing their employer for negligence and may decided by the courts. Generally, a WorkCover common law claim can only proceed after a statutory compensation claim has been lodged, and accepted by WorkCover Queensland or the relevant self-insurer. Thus, filing your statutory compensation claim with WorkCover is going to be one of the very first steps you take after your workplace injury occurs.
Payments (known as common law damages) will be awarded by the court and may include compensation for things like economic loss, pain and suffering, legal costs, or hospital and medical costs.