Disputes other than of Initial claim for Compensation
If a claim is disputed a party may, and in some instances must, refer it to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal for determination.
A dispute may arise over any aspect of a claim for compensation including (but not limited to):
- starting or stopping of weekly compensation payments
- amount of weekly payments
- payment of medical, rehabilitation or other expenses
- Return to work or rehabilitation programs
Some types of referrals must be made within certain time limits and be accompanied by certain documents.
Except for referrals under s81A, 77AB, 67F, 60A and 132A of the Act all parties to a referral must participate in a conciliation process. This is divided into two stages. The first or preliminary stage is conducted by telephone with the parties with it's purpose being to:-
- Identify the issues in dispute.
- Ensure that any necessary investigations or medical examinations are arranged.
- Determine the necessary steps for each party to take in order to resolve the claim.
- Discuss the claim generally and where possible obtain concessions from the parties in relation to fact, law or procedure.
- Where agreement cannot be reached, discuss the claim in preparation for a conciliation conference.
- Discuss any other matter that may be relevant to achieving a timely resolution of the claim.
Once it is determined that the parties have completed any necessary investigations and medical examinations and are in all respects ready to proceed further, the matter proceeds to the second stage ie the conciliation conference. This is a face to face meeting involving all of the parties. Parties are required to participate in an open and without prejudice discussion based upon all available information in order to facilitate a resolution of the issues in dispute. The Conciliator may be a Commissioner, Registrar or Deputy Registrar.
If a claim is unresolved at the conclusion of the conciliation process, the conciliation is to certify that the matter is ready to proceed to an arbitrated hearing. An arbitrated hearing is held before the Chief Commissioner or Commissioner.