Strict Limits Apply to Journey Compensation
Changes to the Workers Compensation Act means that it doesn’t pay to suffer an injury on your way to or from work, because you will only be entitled to compensation under certain limited circumstances.
Widespread changes to the workers compensation legislation in NSW in June 2012 made substantial cuts to the entitlements of injured workers, hurt during the course of their employment.
One such major change was the virtual abolition of the entitlement for injured workers to claim benefits when injured on their way to or from work.
The previous legislation allowed a worker to claim workers compensation if an injury was sustained from the time that the worker left the boundary of their home until the worker reached the workplace, unless there was an interruption in the journey which gave rise to a material increase in the risk of injury.
As of June 19, 2012 there is no compensation payable on a journey to or from work unless it can be established that there is a "real and substantial connection between the employment and accident or incident out of which the personal injury arose”.
The amended provisions only apply for claims in respect of which the date of injury is on or after June 19, 2012 and does not apply to injuries received before that date.
As with the overall changes made in 2012, the changes to journey claims do not apply to police officers, paramedics, fire fighters and coalminers.
An example of how an injury can be considered to have a "real and substantial connection" to employment can be seen as follows:
A nurse en-route to work who stops to assist at a car accident and is subsequently injured, may be covered under the workers compensation legislation.
An employee who is injured in an accident whilst travelling to attend a training course or workers compensation course, will be covered if the course has a real and substantial connection to their employment.
A worker suffers injury as a passenger on a bus which swerves to avoid an accident and runs into the back of a truck. The worker was travelling home from work and will not be covered under the current journey provisions as there is no real and substantial connection between the injury and work.