In the 12 months ending June 2018, of the 13.4 million persons who worked in that period, 4.2% (563,600) of them experienced their most recent work-related injury or illness in that period according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What is unclear is how many of these claims relate to persons injured in the journey either to or from work.
If you’re covered by workers compensation you may think that you are automatically covered – unfortunately that’s not the case. Furthermore, figuring out if you’re covered can become very complicated as cover for journeys to and from work varies between different state and territory workers compensation schemes. A useful article on this topic details that in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria, an employer is generally not liable for an employee injured on their way to work. It goes on to state that Victoria workers who are injured on this journey are able to apply for compensation under a separate transport accident compensation scheme.
In New South Wales no compensation is payable on a journey to or from work unless there is a real and substantial connection between employment and accident or incident out of which the personal injury arose. In the Northern Territory and the ACT, generally trips to and from work are covered under workers compensation. Liability for such journeys also applies in Queensland with a number of exceptions; an example being if the worker breaks road or criminal laws when the accident happened and that it directly led to the accident. Additionally in Queensland if the injury occurs too long prior to the employee’s work journey or on a substantial geographical deviation from the journey, then the workers compensation policy will not respond.
A standard personal accident & sickness income protection policy will have a standard clause either offsetting any benefit entitlement payable under workers compensation or excluding any entitlement payable under workers compensation. So if the workers compensation policy does not respond on the simple grounds that the employer is not liable to provide cover, a standard personal accident sickness income protection policy should respond, subject always to the terms conditions of the policy.
Arranging an income protection policy can provide cover to eliminate any potential shortfall from workers compensation in this regard. Additionally an income protection policy can provide cover for incidents that are totally unrelated to work and can also be extended for sickness.
It’s important to note the workers compensation benefits will invariably include associated medical expenses with a claim. A Personal Accident & Sickness Income Protection policy cannot be extended to cover medical expenses.
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