What Does Compensation for Injuries Include?

If you are injured while at work, you may be eligible for a significant payout from workers
compensation. The NSW Workers Compensation scheme provides benefits and financial support to workers and their employers in the event of a work-related injury.
The Workers Compensation Act (1987) includes within it the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund , which pays a certain amount to employees to cover lost work or medical bills that are the result of a workplace injury.

In general, although the laws vary among jurisdictions, any kind of injury may be the basis for a workers’ compensation claim. Payments may include:

• Medical expenses compensation
• Income replacement for the period that a worker is unable to work
• Costs associated with rehabilitation
• Costs associated with retraining for other employment or duties
• Lump sum payments for any permanent injury or disability
• Death benefits for survivors of workers who die as a result of the injury

How much compensation and in what form those benefits will be paid depend greatly on the individual circumstances of the injured worker. The assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can be an invaluable in ensuring the maximum possible award.

New South Wales Specifics

In NSW, workers’ compensation awards are covered by the provisions of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, and the Workplace Injury Management Workers Compensation Act 1998, as amended to date. The requirements for payment and limits on payments are calculated separately for each form of compensation.

Medical and related expense reimbursement

NSW permits compensation for reasonable medical and related expenses without limit, although expenses above a certain threshold may require regulatory approval.

Compensation is generally limited by time constraints being up to 12 months from either the date of the claim or when the worker ceases to be entitled to weekly income replacement payments. If the worker is ‘seriously injured’ (more than 30% whole person impairment) the 12 month limit does not apply.

Income Replacement

Weekly payments are based on the worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings, the period for which the worker has been receiving weekly payments, his or her degree of impairment as assessed by the insurer, and whether he or she has returned to work part-time. The benefits decline as the worker is away from work for longer periods of time.

For example, up until the 13th week of payment a worker who cannot return to work in any capacity may be entitled to 95 percent of pre-injury average weekly earnings. Thereafter, the percentage drops to 80 percent until the worker is away from work for 2 ½ years. For those less severely injured, benefits may cease at 5 years, and benefits cease for all workers 12 months after normal retirement age.

Permanent Injury or Disability

Permanent impairment is defined under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (1989) as the loss, loss of use, or the damage or malfunction of any part of the body or any bodily system or function. A doctor or specialist must assess whether you have sustained impairments as a result of work-related injury/stress.

Permanently injured workers can only be assessed once for degree of permanent impairment and may claim only once for permanent impairment.

Lump sum compensation for permanent impairment is only payable when a worker is assessed as having more than 10% permanent impairment. For psychiatric and psychological injury claims, the minimum level is 15% permanent impairment. Lump sum compensation for pain and suffering is no longer paid in NSW.

The maximum lump sum payment for permanent impairment injuries incurred on and after 5 August 2015 is $584,580 (plus an additional five per cent for permanent impairment of the back). As of 1 July 2016 this amount is indexed yearly.

Death Benefits

From 5 August 2015, the maximum lump sum death benefit payable to survivors in NSW is $750,000 and the maximum payable for funeral expenses is $15,000.

The amount of benefit that is payable (especially in the case of medical and related expenses, weekly payments and permanent disability payments) may depend on a number of close legal and factual questions. These questions include whether an expense is reasonable, whether the worker is fit to return to work in any capacity, and the degree of impairment. An attorney who is experienced in handling workers’ compensation cases can be invaluable in these instances.


If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim, please call
Owen Hodge Lawyers at 1800 770 780 to schedule a consultation.