Compensation Lawyer Sydney Steve Walker Law Firm

Compensation for Non-Economic Loss

In personal injury cases, noneconomic damages are defined as “pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury” . Wikipedia

Walker Permanent Impairment Benefits Compensation Lawyer SydneyPermanent impairment benefits.  (See Extract)

There are very different amounts provided for  lump sum compensation payment for permanent impairment for:

  • Injuries received on and from 5 August 2015
  • Claims made on and from 18 June 2012) without regard to any amendment made by the Workers Compensation Amendment Act 2015 to the 1987 Act)
  • Previous arrangements concerning the lump sum payments for permanent impairment and pain and suffering from:
    • 1 January 2007 to 18 June 2012
    • 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006
  • Previous arrangements concerning the lump sum amounts payable for permanent loss, including the:
    • Table of Disabilities: 30 June 1987 – 31 December 2001, payable under the Workers Compensation Act 1987
    • Table of Disabilities: to 29 June 1987, payable under the former Workers Compensation Act 1926

 

2015 legislative changes

The Workers Compensation Act 2015 (2015 amending Act) introduced amendments to permanent impairment compensation.  For injuries receiving on and from 5 August 2015:

  • The maximum compensation payable for permanent impairment was increased to a maximum of $577,050 for workers with permanent impairment of 75 percent or more
  • The compensation amounts payable for each percentage of permanent impairment of more than 10 percent permanent impairment were increased
  • From 1 July 2016 permanent impairment compensation payments will be indexed annually

The amendments to permanent impairment lump sum payments made by the 2015 amending Act do not apply:

  • For the purposes of the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942) or the Workers Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services) Act 1987 (see CI 3 of Part 191 of Schedule 6 to the 1987 Act)
  • To coal miners (see CI 15 of Part 191 of Schedule 6 to the 1987 Act)
  • To police officers, paramedics and firefighters (see CI 14 of Part 191 of Schedule 6 to the 1987 Act)    

For claims made on and after 19 June 2012:

  • Payments for pain and suffering under section 67 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 are no longer available
  • A threshold of more than 10 percent permanent impairment for physical injury (including hearing loss) must be reached to access a permanent impairment lump sum.  The threshold for psychological injury lump sum payments remains at 15 percent permanent impairment.  
  • Payments are based on an assessment of the injured workers’ permanent impairment
  • The degree of permanent impairment is assess using the WorkCover Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment
  • Evaluations of permanent impairment can only be conducted by a suitably qualified medical specialist who is trained in the use of the Guides and listed on the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) website
  • The maximum lump sum payment for permanent impairment injuries is $220,000, with an additional five percent for permanent impairment of the back

These changes do not apply to:

  • Police officers, paramedics and firefighters
  • Workers injured while working in or around a coal mine
  • Bush firefighters and emergency service volunteers (Rural Fire Service, Surf Life Savers, SES volunteers)
  • People with a dust disease claim under the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942

For injuries on and after 1 January 2002 to 18 June 2012 and claims made up to and including 18 June 2012:

  • Payments are based on an assessment of the injured worker’s permanent impairment
  • The degree of permanent impairment is assessed using the WorkCover Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment
  • Evaluation of permanent impairment can only be conducted by a suitably qualified medical specialist who is trained in the use of the Guides and listed on the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) website
  • A minimum level of permanent impairment must be present before compensation payments are made.  The minimum level is one percent of whole person impairment.  However, for permanent psychiatric and psychological impairment, there is a 15 percent threshold.
  • For hearing loss claims, a minimum level of six percent binaural hearing loss must be present

The maximum lump sum payment for permanent impairment injuries incurred:

  • Between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2006 was $200,000, with an additional five percent for permanent impairment of the back on and after 1 January 2006
  • On or after 1 January 2007 is $220,000, with an additional five percent for permanent impairment of the back

An injured worker may also have access to ‘pain and suffering’ payments under section 67 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, if 10 percent or more whole person impairment is present.  However, the permanent impairment for psychiatric and psychological injury there is a 15 percent threshold.  The maximum amount payable for pain and suffering is $50,000.

For injuries before 1 January 2002:

  • For injuries prior to 1 July 1987, payments for any permanent loss of efficient use are determined according to the Table of Maims.  The Table of Maims lists limited body parts.  There is no payment for pain and suffering for injuries sustained prior to 1 July 1987.
  • For injuries that occurred between 1 July 1987 and 31 December 2001, payments for any permanent loss of efficient use are determined according to the Table of Disabilities   
  • If the claim for permanent loss was made before 12 January 1997, the most a worker can receive is Dependant on the date of the injury
  • For a claim made on or after 12 January 1997, and the injury occurred between 1 February 1992 and 31 January 2001:
  • The maximum amount a worker may receive for:
  • A single permanent loss is $100,000
  • Multiple permanent losses is $121,000
  • an injured worker may also have access to ‘pain and suffering’ payments under section 67 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, if the worker is entitled to 10 per cent or more of the maximum amount payable under section66(1), that is, the worker is entitled to a payment of $10,000 or more for a permanent loss.  The maximum amount payable for pain and suffering is $50,000.