I recently had several enquiries from people asking me whether their wages would be paid by WorkCover for their injuries suffered on their way to/from work.
The general rule
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.
The comprehensive payments would mainly include weekly payments for lost wages while you can’t return to work, as well as payment of medical bills.
Can WorkCover deny payments?
One issue which WorkCover will look at is whether there has been substantial deviation from the journey. If the answer is yes, they can deny your claim. This can be an area of dispute. You don’t have to take the shortest possible route between your work and your home, so what amounts to a “substantial deviation” depends on the individual circumstances of the case.
For example, I have had a situation where WorkCover accepted someone who always visited their parents on their way home (with the visit involving a not so small detour) still qualified for compensation.
Another issue is that WorkCover can decline the claim if the injured driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if they otherwise dangerously operated the vehicle in breach of the Criminal Code.
There are some additional differences between a “normal“ WorkCover claim and a “journey” claim. But the important thing is the extension of the WorkCover insurance coverage in this way enables people who otherwise may not have income protection insurance to protect their wages while recuperating at home from an injury.