Injuries in the workplace can have major consequences for workers, from permanent pain and loss of income to impacts on well-being and more. Making sure to report these occurrences immediately is crucial to getting compensation for workplace injury. So, if you have recently suffered from a work-related injury, you may be eligible for a workers compensation payment. In this blog, our personal injury lawyers have detailed everything you need to know.
- The Workers Compensation Act in NSW
- What does compensation for a workplace injury include?
The Workers Compensation Act in NSW
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 the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund. This pays a certain amount to employees to cover lost work or medical bills that are the result of a workplace injury.
Although the laws vary among jurisdictions, any kind of injury may be the basis for a workers’ compensation claim.
What does compensation for injuries cover?
- Medical expenses compensation
- Income replacement for the period that a worker is unable to work
- 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 you get depends greatly on the individual circumstances of the injured worker. The assistance of an experienced workers compensation lawyer can be invaluable to ensuring the best maximum award possible.
New South Wales workers compensation scheme
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. The requirements for payments are calculated separately for each form of compensation.
1. 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.
How long does compensation take to pay out?
Compensation is generally constrained by time limits of
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.
2. 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, illness or 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.
What are the most common injury claims?
The most common workers compensation injury claims include:
- Sprains and strains
- Lacerations (deep cuts)
- Eye injuries
- Cumulative trauma
- Contusions (bruises)
4. 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.
Owen Hodge is here to help
We understand that workplace injuries can be difficult, especially if you are in need of compensation for a workplace injury, the personal injury lawyers at Owen Hodge are here to navigate you through it. At Owen Hodge Lawyers, we can assist with all areas of personal injury, from car accidents, asbestos compensation and public liability to medical negligence and professional negligence. To schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact us online or call our workers compensation lawyers at your earliest convenience on 1800 770 780.