Police & Paramedics Workers Compensation
Police & Paramedics Workers Compensation Lawyers
Police, paramedics, firefighters and coal miners exempt from compensation reductions
If you are a police officer, paramedic, firefighter or coal miner and have suffered a work-related injury you may be entitled to significant compensation. Working in these professions poses a much higher risk of suffering a work-related injury than the Australian national average. These professions often involve working on the front line and dealing with highly dangerous, traumatic and stressful situations.
Police officers, paramedics and firefighters can face dangerous, stressful or traumatic event(s) at any time during their work. This may include being called to a scene involving an armed suspect posing a risk of being shot at (or actually being shot); being called to a scene where a person has been shot or stabbed and is in a critical condition or being involved in a car crash; attending car crashes where there have been fatalities or serious injuries; pursuing a suspect at high speed through populated areas; being called to a house fire with people inside the house.
Coal mining is also high-risk work with heavy-duty machinery and/or working underground, there is a significantly increased risk of injury or death. Coal mining employees are also more likely to be killed or experience a non-fatal injury or a more severe injury in comparison to the national average.
For police and paramedics, some of the most common risks include injury or death from vehicle crashes as well as assault from the public.
Compensable work injuries come in many forms and can include nerve or muscle pain, brain damage or memory loss, anxiety, depression, inability to sleep, chronic fatigue, burns, loss of vision, headaches, fractured bones, paraplegia or quadriplegia.
In NSW, workers in these professions are exempt from significant amendments made to the Workers Compensation Scheme in 2012. These amendments resulted in a dramatic reduction in potential compensation available for other injured workers. Exempt workers are:
- Police Officers– serving police officers and not employees of NSW Police Force other capacities.
- Ambulance Officers/Paramedics – except those employed by St John’s Ambulance Service
- Coal Miners
- Workers who make dust disease claims
Exempt workers remain entitled to:
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- The entitlement to lifelong medical treatment
- Appeal from a decision by an insurer to reduce or cease weekly payments to the Workers Compensation Commission
Working in these particular professions also poses a high risk of psychological injury. As a police officer, paramedic or firefighter, a psychological injury may be incurred as a result of exposure to scenes of death or serious injury to other people.
Examples of psychological injury where compensation may be claimed include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Police officers, paramedics and firefighters have successfully claimed significant compensation where psychological injury has been incurred as a result of exposure to scenes of death or injury.
A lump-sum death benefit is also payable to the dependents or the estate of the deceased worker if death results from a compensable injury. In 2015 there were further amendments to the Workers Compensation Act, which increased the lump sum from $524,000 to $750,000. This increased payment applies to fatalities occurring on and from 5 August 2015 and applies to all workers including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
It is vital to retain an expert workers compensation lawyer to ensure the maximum compensation and best possible outcome is achieved in your matter. Steve Walker, Founder and Managing Director of Walker Law Group are an Accredited Specialist in personal injury law with more than 20 years representing injured workers.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, call Walker Law Group to speak with an expert personal injury lawyer who can advise you on the prospects of your case and ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.
Personal injury law is complex and obtaining the maximum compensation you are entitled to following a work-related injury is generally not a simple task. Insurance companies may do everything possible to avoid paying a claim.
Workers compensation claims
Under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 there are three types of compensation that may be payable to an injured worker:
- Medical treatment
- Loss of wages
- Permanent injuries
Medical treatment compensation
Any medical treatment which is considered to be reasonably necessary for a compensable injury should be paid for by the workers’ compensation insurer. What is considered reasonably necessary is determined by balancing the costs of the treatment with its effectiveness in improving the worker’s condition. Under s 60(2A) of the Workers Compensation Act, the insurer can refuse to meet treatment costs unless pre-approval is granted for the relevant treatment.
The amount of compensation that is payable depends upon the earnings of the injured worker prior to the relevant injury, the period of time that had to be taken off work due to the injury and whether the worker is able to undertake any work with the injury.
Where a worker suffers a permanent work-related injury and it could be demonstrated that at least 11% of their whole person is impaired then a lump sum payment will be paid to the injured worker.
Making a workers compensation claim
To make a worker’s injury claim, the worker must submit a worker’s injury claim form with a WorkCover Medical Certificate to the employer. The employer is then obliged to send these documents to the insurer who will then make a determination on the claim.
An injured worker can claim reasonable medical expenses for the work-related injury. There are no time limits imposed on how long this treatment is to be paid for the above exempt workers. Exempt workers are also able to claim expenses incurred for as long as reasonable and necessary.
It is the worker’s obligation to seek appropriate medical treatment from a nominated treating doctor. This will normally be a General Practitioner. The treatment that the injured worker requires should be included in the ongoing medical certificates. If specialised treatment is required the relevant insurer should be notified and the treatment approved before it occurs. Any additional requirements made by a specialist should also be pre-approved by the insurer.
A person who is unable to work due to their work-related injury is entitled to make a claim at the maximum rate for the first 26 weeks of absence from work at their average weekly earnings. Following this, the worker can claim the statutory rate for compensation. Allowances may also be made for any dependents.
If a worker sustains an injury, which results in a degree of permanent impairment, then the worker can recover lump-sum compensation, which will be commensurate with the impairment sustained.
If the extent of the impairment is disputed, then the Workers Compensation Commission may appoint an approved medical specialist to make a determination.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, call Walker Law Group today to discuss your matter with an expert personal injury lawyer. We have offices conveniently located in Manly and Bondi. Phone (02) 8046 9700 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.