You’ll thank us later: Three things to think about when a compensation claim is made

As someone who has spent most of their career helping employers navigate the common law system, one of the privileges is the opportunity to witness firsthand the wide range of industries that run in Victoria. It doesn’t matter if I’m drinking cups of tea at the kitchen table of a family run small business or discussing with the CEO of a multinational company in a board room, what is clear is there are a few things that any business can do to ensure they are prepared if a Workers’ Compensation Claim made.

  1. Document. It always helps to keep organised documentation of an incident, and the subsequent responses. Things like a manual for a machine that may have caused an accident, an invoice of a job an employee had been sent out on, or the toolbox minutes all go some way to assisting in managing a claim when it comes in. There are strict discovery obligations if a matter proceeds to litigation that means you will need to produce these types of documents anyway, so it helps if you get to it early.
  2. Keep the details of key witnesses. People move on to different roles within and outside of an organisation and often time passes and there is limited information. In Victoria the State of Limitations to bring a common law claim is 6 years. If you think of all the changes that can occur in this time it helps to be prepared for people leaving an organisation. This helps everyone involved to understand the circumstances. If you keep that record for reference, you may save yourself a lot of time or save time for the person who is in your role in the future.
  3. Keep communication open. As the office mates who sit beside me could tell you, I love long conversations with employers about how things are going, not about compensation but the day to day running of the business. Please don’t hesitate to call if there is a change in a system, person or place of work. If you think of something after an initial conversation, send that email to let us know.

At the end of the day for the Worker’s Compensation scheme to service everyone efficiently and sustainably, we all have a role to play. I enjoy mine, and look forward to learning even more about all the amazing things Victorian businesses get up to into the future and helping them navigate that system.