WorkCover: Return to Work Obligations

Returning to work following an injury must be done in line with your Doctors advice. It is important that both you and your employer adhere to the limitations detailed in your Certificates of Capacity so as to avoid you suffering further injury.

If you are currently in receipt of weekly payments, there are certain obligations that both you and your employer must adhere to.

Employer’s obligations

The following obligations are imposed on the WorkCover insurer and your employer:

  • For one year from your date of injury, provide you with pre-injury duties or alternative employment;
  • Plan return to work arrangements; and
  • Consult with you, your treating practitioner and occupational rehabilitation provider regarding your return to work.

A return to work plan must be signed by you, your doctor and the employer, prior to you commencing that plan.

Your obligations

The following obligations are imposed on you if you have an incapacity for work:

  • Make reasonable efforts to actively participate and co-operate in planning for your return to work;
  • Engage in occupational rehabilitation services and reasonably co-operate with the service;
  • Make reasonable attempts to return to work in suitable or pre-injury employment; and
  • Participate in assessments of your capacity for work, rehabilitation progress and future employment prospects.

What is considered “reasonable” efforts?

This will depend on your own circumstances, however you are seen to be making reasonable efforts if you return to work within the restrictions imposed by your Doctors, as outlined in your Certificates of Capacity.

If your treating doctor considers that engaging in return to work or rehabilitation services is not appropriate based on your work-related injuries, they should write to the provider outlining their reasons.

What happens if I do not comply with my obligations?

A WorkSafe inspector can issue an improvement notice mandating the employer’s compliance. Employers who breach return to work obligations also risk financial penalties and prosecution.

If you have been injured at work and are seeking advice about your rights and entitlements, please contact us on 1800 853 085 or 0488 722 444.

Physiotherapy and the TAC

Physiotherapy treatment can be vital to your road to recovery. It can increase your range of movement and mobility, provide pain management and improve your postural alignment.

If you have an accepted TAC claim in Victoria, you are entitled to ongoing medical and like services that are reasonable and related to your transport accident. The TAC will fund medical and like services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathic treatment.

The TAC will also fund medical treatment for 90 days day post accident without prior approval.

How can I request physiotherapy treatment?

Your treating Physiotherapist or General Practitioner can make a request to the TAC by submitting an ‘Allied Health Treatment and Recovery Plan’ or letter. The letter should include the following:

  1. Your TAC claim number;
  2. Clinical justification as to why the physiotherapy is reasonable and necessary;
  3. Goals and outcomes of the treatment;
  4. The appropriate amount of sessions that should be funded.

The TAC’s considerations for physiotherapy requests

Once the TAC receives your request for treatment, they will largely consider the following:

  1. Whether the treatment is reasonable and appropriate;
  2. Whether the treatment is necessary and adequate;
  3. Whether the treatment is referable to your transport-accident related injuries;
  4. The potential benefit that you would derive from the physiotherapy;
  5. Whether the treatment will be rehabilitative rather than maintenance;
  6. Whether the treatment will empower you to self-manage your condition; and
  7. That the treatment is in line with the ‘TAC’s Clinical Framework’.

Case Law

The case of Genitsaris v Transport Accident Commission [2013] VCAT 2178, considers that any benefit from the treatment should be measurable.

The case of Theodoulis v Transport Accident Commission [2005] VCAT 872 found that the prevention of deteriorating is also an appropriate consideration.

How can I dispute any adverse decisions from the TAC?

If you receive a decision from the TAC terminating your entitlement to physiotherapy, contact Maxiom Injury Lawyers. We can assist you with challenging any adverse decisions made by the TAC by submitting a dispute application. This process involves obtaining medical reports from your treating practitioners and then attending a conference with the TAC. If the dispute doesn’t resolve at the conference, you can then initiate VCAT proceedings.

It is important to understand that you have 12 months to dispute a TAC decision.

If you are not receiving the treatment that you require, please contact us on 1800 853 085 or 0488 722 44. We will fight to ensure that you receive the physiotherapy treatment that you deserve.