Lump Sum Option for long Term Injuries
Long-term worker’s compensation recipients may be entitled to make a lump sum claim under certain circumstances.
Due to the far-reaching effects of changes to the Workers Compensation legislation in NSW in June 2012, many workers who have been long-term recipients of weekly compensation payments have had cause to revisit the degree of whole person impairment they suffered as a result of a workplace injury or illness.
Workers who made a claim for permanent impairment before that date may be entitled to make one further lump sum compensation claim.
If the level of permanent impairment is assessed to be at least 15% they may be entitled to make a claim for work injury damages.
A work injury damages settlement finalises a worker's right to compensation for that injury and they have no further rights to payments of weekly compensation or medical expenses. They therefore no longer have to deal with their workers compensation insurer – and may consider autonomy from the insurer has non-financial benefits which cannot be measured.
There are, however, important long term financial consequences which also require careful consideration and advice.
I recently met with a client who had suffered a work place injury more than 10 years ago. He expressed frustration with having to have continuing dealings with his workers compensation insurer but believed that due to the length of time which had passed since the injury occurred he was "locked in" to the workers compensation system and could take no further steps to finalise the claim.
This is not necessarily so. Workers are entitled to make a claim for work injury damages after the threshold of 15% permanent impairment is reached. Although there is a three-year time limit for commencement of a claim, in certain circumstances it is possible to obtain an extension.
Often the worker's explanation for delay is that they had not previously reached the necessary level of permanent impairment.
This explanation may be accepted by the insurer and/or Court and enable the work injury damages claim to proceed even though a substantial period of time has elapsed since the injury occurred.
However, as a work injury damages claim terminates continuing rights in respect of both weekly payments and payment of medical expenses, there are a number of important considerations especially for workers who require extensive continuing medical treatment and whose level of impairment entitles them to lifetime payment of those expenses
Are you a long term injured worker? You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, ask us a question via email or even chatting with you online as time limits apply to these claims.