DID YOU KNOW…. In June 2012 the NSW State Government made significant changes to NSW's workers compensation laws. As a result of those changes, there are now three classes of workers in NSW. That is, the compensation you are entitled to if you are injured at work depends on the type of job you have. The three classes or workers are:-
Coal Miners – anyone injured while working in or about a coal mine has special rights. These workers are entitled to sue the employer for an unsafe system of work (negligence) and receive compensation for pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, past and future superannuation benefits, past and future medical expenses and past and future domestic assistance.
If they do not claim they were hurt due to negligence, they are entitled to claim compensation for permanent impairment, weekly benefits and medical expenses. Their rights to weekly benefits last until 12 months after they qualify for the age pension. Their right to have their medical expenses paid is for life.
Coal miners are the most advantaged workers under our current system.
Emergency service workers - such as police officers, fire fighters, life savers etc. These workers are only entitled to sue their employer in negligence if their injuries are of a certain severity (15% or more whole person impairment). If they succeed in a claim in negligence they can only be awarded damages for loss of wages and superannuation. If they receive a lump sum, they are no longer entitled to have their medical expenses paid.
If they do not sue in negligence, they have rights to receive weekly benefits for 12 months after they qualify for the age pension (usually 66 years of age). They can also have their medical expenses paid for life
- All other workers – this majority of people was hit the hardest by the governments changes. Their rights are now limited to:-
- Their rights in claims in negligence are the same as emergency service workers.
- Permanent impairment compensation, but only if their level of whole person impairment is greater than 10%
- Weekly benefits for a maximum of 5 years (unless they are catastrophically injured). For most workers, weekly benefits will cease after two and half years.
- Medical expenses are only paid for 12 months after their right to receive weekly benefits expire.
Why do different workers have different rights? It is hardly fair is it?
If you have been injured during the course of your work, you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like to know more about your potential rights, please click on the following link [link to workers compensation content], email us on our "Ask Us a Question" feature or call 4228 8288 to speak to one of our specialist compensation lawyers.