We’re agreed on one thing: 2020 has been a year like no other. The onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic has created some seismic shifts in how society organises itself, seeing a necessary mass shift to remote working and online meeting among many other changes.
What’s more, we will have to learn to adapt our living and work practices to a post-COVID-19 world, in order to prevent a revival of the disease for a long time to come.
For many of us this has created a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety, particularly for those who may have had legal action underway or commenced it as the pandemic spread.
Legal practices, government agencies, insurers, courts and tribunals, for example, have all had to rapidly change the way they deal with daily occurrences such as compensation claims to take account of COVID-19-safe plans, which we’ll discuss more in this article.
What we’ve done
At Lifestyle Injury Lawyers, we are compensation specialists. Whether it’s workers’ compensation, motor vehicle accident, TPD superannuation or public liability claims, we help our clients achieve the best possible result when they make a claim after injury.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis we have kept our clients’ claims on foot and progressing. Whether it’s been through implementing our own COVID-safe practices in the office, such as remote conferencing and document handling, or working within the COVID-19 contingency plans of agencies such as WorkCover Queensland and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), we continue to pursue your claim through to resolution despite the pandemic.
Queensland, thankfully, has not experienced the worst of the pandemic’s effects thanks to stricter border controls. Nevertheless, key agencies involved in the most common compensation claims released guidance on COVID-19 when the pandemic began to spread in March and April 2020.
WorkCover Qld: In reaction to COVID-19 WorkCover announced as early as March 2020 that it would adopt a ‘business-as-usual’ approach and continue to process claims even if it was forced to operate offsite during a shutdown. It encouraged people with Notice of Claims to continue to file them via the online portal or through provider connect accounts.
WorkCover also addressed the possibility of employees who may contract COVID-19 at their workplace, announcing that any new pandemic-related claims would be determined and managed by a centralised team under the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. FAQs were also made available on the WorkCover website for COVID-19-related questions about claims for customers and other stakeholders.
Motor vehicle accident claims: Similar to WorkCover, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) released COVID-19 advice as early as March 2020 which assured claimants a business-as-usual approach was in effect.
The MAIC urged flexibility on all stakeholders while acknowledging that the pandemic might affect claim compliance timeframes. Online reporting of accidents to police, the use of telehealth and video conferencing in order to obtain medical certificates and reports, and a flexible approach to the in-person attendance of a claimant at case conferences and other meetings were all detailed in the advice.
Additionally, a number of COVID-19 protocols were agreed between the MAIC, the Queensland Law Society, the Australian Lawyers Alliance and the four CTP providers in Queensland – Allianz, QBE, RACQ Insurance and Suncorp – in order to keep compensation claims moving through the system.
Other types of claim
For TPD claims through superannuation policies and/or public liability injury claims, we work closely with relevant insurers and policy providers to mitigate any delays caused by COVID-19. While most have experienced a spike in queries about their policies, and experienced delays in processing claims, Queensland-based insurers are beginning to get back to normal.
Most insurers released guidance on the interaction of COVID-19 with the insurance policies they offer. Suncorp Insurance, as one example, indicated that TPD claims would be considered in the usual way as they were not subject to any pandemic exclusions.
We do the hard work for you
Navigating changes in the way things are done and delays caused by COVID-19 when it comes to compensation claims can be time-consuming and stressful.
By entrusting your claim to our experts at Lifestyle Injury Lawyers, we make the process much easier. It’s our job to be across COVID-19-related changes made by courts, statutory authorities or insurers so that we can ensure your claim remains a priority and is satisfactorily resolved as quickly as possible.
If you have questions or concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on any claim for compensation, call us today on 07 5627 0321.