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Published: 15 August 2016
Author: Peter Claven with research assistance from Kate Stowell

What you need to know about WorkCover and work injury

How do lump sum payments for impairment work?

Anyone who is hurt at work and who suffers a permanent impairment may make a claim for lump sum compensation.

Importantly, there are two different types of claims, the first of which is a little easier to access because it is part of WorkCover’s own statutory scheme, which means that the claim is largely administrative. The size of payments however are generally much smaller.

The second type of claim requires the preparation of a case which might eventually have to be pursued in court. It is called a Common Law damages claim. These types of claims usually have a steeper level of difficulty because it must be proved that the impairment or disability has been caused by the employer’s negligence. In other words, fault.

These claims generally result in much larger awards for damages but can sometimes take several years to finalise.

Both types of claims require the injured person to have sustained a permanent impairment, meaning that it is not resolving.

A Common Law claim can be pursued, even though you have already been awarded a lump sum payment by WorkCover.

Features of the two types of claims - a summary

Possible Lump sum claim #1 - Impairment Claim:

  • You may be entitled to a lump sum payment if permanently impaired.
  • The claim is made once the injury is stable (meaning not getting better, not getting worse).
  • The claim requires that the injury be assessed and graded by a specially accredited doctor.
  • Level of payment is calculated based upon the impairment level.

Possible Lump Sum Claim # 2 - Common Law Damages Claim:

  • If your injury is due to the fault or negligence of your employer or a third party, you may be able to lodge a common law claim seeking a further lump sum.
  • You have six years from the date of injury in which to lodge a claim.

If you believe your injuries are your employer’s or someone else’s fault, we encourage you to seek further advice as soon as possible.

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