What is a workers compensation claim?

A person who suffers injuries while at work, whether those injuries are psychological or physical, is entitled to bring a workers compensation claim under workers compensation legislation. In NSW, the relevant legislation is the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) and the Work Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW).

A worker is eligible to bring a workers compensation claim for their injury or injuries, but only if their employment is a ‘substantial contributing factor to the injury’ sustained. Put more simply, this means that the injury must be connected to the worker’s employment, and not be an injury that is suffered outside of work.

The insurer for the worker’s employer must ‘accept liability’ for the injury for any benefits to be received by the worker. This means that the employer must accept that they are responsible for the worker’s injury.

What can I claim under workers compensation?

A worker may be eligible to seek the following benefits:

  • Past lost wages and ongoing weekly benefits;
  • Compensation or reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical expenses;
  • Lump sum compensation for permanent whole person impairment (WPI), which arises out of the injury. This is also referred to as a section 66/67 claim;
  • A claim for work injury damages for past and future economic loss. A worker is eligible to bring this claim if they have received a WPI percentage of at least 15%, and the employer’s negligence has caused the worker’s injury.


Importantly, workers such as first responders (police officers, ambulance, fire & rescue, volunteer emergency personnel) and coal miners, are classified as ‘exempt claimants’ and are entitled to receive further benefits under the legislation.

Stigma around workers compensation claims

– Sadly, there is stigma around people that seek workers compensation benefits, or “go on compo.” Often, these workers are seen as faking or exaggerating their injuries, looking for a “payday”, or are criticised for not “toughening up”. We have had clients who have expressed shame, guilt, and even disgust for suffering an injury and not being able to work. This stigma is heightened when the injury in question is a psychological/psychiatric injury.

We aspire to destigmatise workers compensations claims for our clients, and remind them that obtaining workers compensation is an entitlement they should exercise if they are able to. Simply put, regardless of the type of injury, workers do not “ask” to be injured, and are not “weaker” for having been injured or seeking compensation for their troubles. For workers that sustain serious injuries and have impaired work capacity, or even an inability to return to the workforce, obtaining compensation is often the only way of setting themselves up financially for their future. We also like to describe compensation as a way of acknowledging the injury that has been caused, and obtaining closure for the hurt, shame and trauma that often goes with being injured.


In respect of workers compensation claims (except for work injury damages/common law claims), you are not liable to pay our legal fees, whether you are successful or not. If you are successful in your claim, the workers compensation insurer pays our fees.

In respect of work injury damages claims, we offer a flexible range of fee agreements. For more information, please see our Legal Fees page, or simply get in touch with us. We are always upfront about the way we charge our clients.

Contact us

We would be happy to hear from you if you believe you have a workers compensation claim, or if you are currently in the process of seeking the various workers compensation benefits.

John Cox also reviews declined workers compensation claims, and regularly requests insurers to review their decisions to decline claims with merit. John has had significant success in overturning declined claims. If you have been unsuccessful in your workers compensation claim but believe that the insurer’s decision is incorrect, please get in touch with us so that we can assist you.

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