A motor vehicle crash can have devastating impacts on an individual, including their social functioning, mental and physical wellbeing, and capacity to work.
Research reveals that ‘good work’ can improve an individual’s physical and psychological health and wellbeing. Returning to work can also aid recovery and shorten the duration of treatment or rehabilitation.
What do we mean by ‘good work’? The Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine says it’s where employees have autonomy, control, task discretion, and job security.
Some people who are injured in motor vehicle crashes need assistance to return to work due to the severity of the injury or the nature of their work.
The Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) helps people to return to work by providing insurance coverage for the worker and their host employer throughout a return-to-work trial.
Workers are supported to trial a graduated return to their previous role, train for an alternative job, or train for an alternative job with a different employer. The return-to-work program is an agreement where the individual, rehabilitation provider and CTP insurer work in partnership to support the worker’s return.
Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton says the program is an integral part of MAIC’s role in helping people to recover from injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes.
“People who return to work, even in a reduced capacity at first, have been shown to recover more quickly and fully than people who have more time off work,” Mr Singleton explains.
“Return-to-work programs help individuals to return to the workplace in a safe and supported manner that builds their capacity and confidence.”
“To help more people access these benefits and fast-track their recovery, we provide insurance coverage to both the worker and their host employer.”
“This removes any potential non-medical barriers to hiring a worker after injury, so the focus can be placed on facilitating their journey to recovery,” Mr Singleton says.
The CTP insurers of Queensland; Allianz, Suncorp, RACQ, QBE and the Nominal Defendant, see profound benefits of return-to-work programs on the recovery and quality of life of participants.
They report remarkable transitions from people who thought they could never work again but who, through this program, were able to envisage and realise a path forward after injury.
Insurers say this empowering experience also boosts participation in other aspects of life. A renewed sense of capability benefits family and social engagement, self-care and self-esteem, and has a positive ripple effect on the family and friends of participants.
Elizabeth Shearer, President of the Queensland Law Society, also affirms the benefits of return-to-work programs during the rehabilitation process.
“Research suggests that an early return to work, when it is safe to do so, reduces longer term absences from the work force and is positive for the participant’s psychological wellbeing.”
“A return to work is also a very positive development in assisting in the early resolution of any damages claim that an injured person may be pursuing,” Ms Shearer explained.
Greg Spinda, Queensland President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, says lawyers see both the detrimental impacts of motor vehicle crashes and the beneficial effects of return-to-work programs.
“A meaningful return to work program goes a long way to getting people back on track with their life and ensuring they can provide for their families,” Mr Spinda says.
MAIC is grateful for the efforts of insurers and lawyers who coordinate return-to-work programs and are proud to support the positive impact these programs have on participants’ lives and livelihoods.
To learn more about return-to-work programs, contact your legal representative if you have one, or the insurer that your CTP insurance claim is lodged with.
Alternatively, check out the work training guidelines (PDF, 513KB) on our website.