Most people know that if they suffer an injury or illness at work, they can claim compensation from WorkCover. However, did you know that you can also make a claim if the injury happens on your way to work or on your way home?
Journey claims – the general rule
It is important to realise WorkCover provides protection not only when you are at your workplace. The cover starts when you leave for work, and ends when you arrive home. This means that if an injury happens during a journey between your place of work and your home, you can claim compensation from WorkCover. This is so even if the employer had nothing to do with the injury. If it is the case that the employer is responsible for the injuries, then on top of compensation, you may be able to claim additional common law damages.
The first exception to the rule is WorkCover won’t pay benefits if the injury involved the use of a vehicle and the worker has contravened the road rules or the Criminal Code.
The second exception is this: WorkCover may reject the claim if the injury happens during a substantial interruption of, or deviation from, the journey. Every case is different, but note the following:
- People do not lose their entitlement just because they don’t choose the shortest possible route between their home and their work. Only a substantial deviation causes difficulties.
- Equally, an interruption in the journey may not be a problem. For example, a 5 minute break to buy fuel shouldn’t be an issue, and checking in on relatives on your way home may well be fine too.
- Even if the interruption or deviation is substantial, there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation which WorkCover is obliged by law to take into account.