In the wake of the mining boom in Western Australia it is becoming increasingly common for workers who were employed within Western Australia to return to the place that they came from before the mining boom and this is often interstate or overseas.
Certificate of Incapacity for Interstate / Overseas Workers
Many workers who made a workers compensation claim while they were in Western Australia do not realise there are different requirements in respect to ongoing reporting their work capacity if they live interstate or overseas. These requirements are very important as if the injured worker does not report their level of capacity and have their identification verified every 3 months then the employer and insurer may lawfully discontinue weekly payments of compensation without giving any notice to the worker and Foyle legal as seen this used as a damaging negotiation tactic to settle workers compensation claims in Western Australia.
The form that needs to be completed by workers who are interstate or overseas is the Form 6 Declaration in Respect of Worker not Residing in WA. There are two components to this form,
- Firstly the worker must verify the identity including their address in a statutory declaration before an approved Witness, from a practical point of view the approved witness could include a nurse, pharmacist or doctor.
- The second component of the completion of the form is for the doctor who certified the workers in capacity to complete a Declaration of his or her own before an approved witness, this is commonly be done before another doctor but it does create a problem with the doctor doctor in a medical practice.
It may well it may be difficult complete the Form 6 but it is necessary and without this documentation being sent to the insurer in intervals which are less than 3 months apart, the employer or insurer may discontinue weekly payments of workers compensation without the workers consent which is not the normal situation in relation to West Australian workers compensation claim.
The following is a real case study from Foyle Legal’s workers compensation cases. James (name changed for privacy reasons) was a worker who is injured in Western Australia but now resides in New South Wales, he was engaged by his employer on a fly in fly out basis. After the end of the mining boom James was informed by his employer that there were no roles available that fit with his specific restrictions arising from the workers compensation claim. While living in New South Wales James continued to receive workers compensation weekly payments until such time as the workers compensation insurer made a decision that Jameshad no further incapacity as a result of his work related accident. Suddenly and without any warning to James his weekly payments of compensation were discontinued leaving him unable to pay his bills and his mortgage.
After James’s weekly payments of compensation were discontinued by the insurer he was left in a condition of uncertainty and Foyle Legal assisted him to bring an application to WorkCover, the workers compensation tribunal in Western Australia, alleging that James was still incapacitated. The matter settled shortly thereafter. In in this situation James was able to settle on what for Foyle Legal believes were good terms, however the WorkCover dispute could have stretched out for many months in which time James would have had no income. This serves is a cautionary tale about why it is important to provide a Form 6 at less than 3 monthly intervals so as not to give the insurer the opportunity to legally discontinue weekly payments of compensation without the workers consent.
This article is contributed and written by Foyle Legal, they practices in the area of personal injury and workers compensation law and commonly assists workers with review applications to WorkCover, the workers compensation tribunal in Western Australia.