Workers’ Compensation & CTP – What’s the Difference?

A question that often arises where someone is injured in a car accident during their employment, or during their commute to or from work, is whether it’s worth pursuing a compulsory third party (CTP) claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.

These claims have very different objectives, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Workers’ compensation is designed to get you by in the short term, while a CTP claim provides lump sum compensation for pain and suffering, as well as compensation for  future losses and likely expenses.

Workers’ compensation

In Queensland, if you are injured during your employment or while travelling to or from work, you can make a workers’ compensation claim.

Most employers are insured by WorkCover Queensland, the largest workers’ compensation insurer in Queensland. When making a workers’ compensation claim, many short-term losses and expenses are covered by WorkCover, including:

  • Weekly compensation benefits (usually paid at 85% of your normal income, reducing to 75% after 6 months)
  • Reasonable treatment and medication expenses
  • Some travel expenses

What happens when your workers’ compensation claim finishes?

WorkCover claims come to an end when the accident-related injuries are ‘medically stable’, which in most cases, is when medical treatment ends. With a WorkCover claim, it doesn’t matter if you suffer ongoing symptoms or whether or not you’re back at work performing your normal work duties, the claim will wrap up regardless.

A CTP claim, on the other hand, will provide funds to compensate for any future losses and expenses you may experience, some of which are discussed below.

What about your loss of wages while receiving benefits?

WorkCover doesn’t cover all of your financial losses — there’s usually a gap between what you would have ordinarily earned and the weekly payments WorkCover makes, which is usually 15% but sometimes more.

It’s important to note that a WorkCover claim won’t run forever, which means you may be out of pocket of your wages. What’s more, depending on your individual situation, you may also miss out on overtime, bonus payments or promotion due to your injury. You can claim such losses in a CTP claim.

What about your pain and suffering?

WorkCover won’t pay you compensation for your pain and suffering and the overall impact your injury has had (or may have) on your life and your ability to work in the future. This is because WorkCover is a ‘no fault’ workers’ compensation scheme, which means your employer isn’t to blame for your injuries.

As part of a CTP claim, however, ‘general damages’ will be claimed to compensate for the pain and suffering you experience, as well as the impact your injury has on your quality of life. These damages are in addition to other forms of compensation.

What if you need care and assistance?

Many injured people need help around the home after an accident. Some people require permanent assistance, aids or modifications, while others need a hand until they get back on their feet. For many people, this assistance includes general household duties like cleaning and gardening.

Whether you receive unpaid support from family or friends or you have to pay a professional to assist you, compensation can often be claimed for this assistance as part of a CTP claim. This includes past assistance as well as any future which may be required. WorkCover won’t cover this.

What about the future?

For most people who have suffered an injury, life is never the same again. You may need ongoing physio, massage, medication or other treatment to get by, and you may not be able to do your normal job again or miss out on overtime, reducing your income and affecting your quality of life. Moreover, your injury might get worse down the track, further impacting your ability to work.

All of these possibilities mean that you could be at risk in the future because someone else made a mistake on the road. Unlike a WorkCover claim, a CTP claim will allow you to claim compensation to cover the possibility that your injury could cause you to be out of pocket further down the track – long after your workers’ compensation claim has come to an end.

What to do now

Our expert injury lawyers will provide you with free legal advice, so you know where you stand and what your options are.  As time limits apply to all WorkCover and CTP claims in Queensland , you should contact us now.