What happens if you die as a result of work?

In NSW each year there are approximately 100 deaths that occur at work or as a result of work. The Workers Compensation Act 1987 NSW provides specific provisions for compensation to families who have a loved one who dies as a result of work. Section 25 of the 1987 Act entitles dependents to a lump sum death benefit amount which is currently $798,100 (as at 26/03/19). Dependent children are also entitled to a weekly benefit of the current rate of $142.90 per week (as at 26/03/19) under the age of 16 years, or if they are student up to the age of 21 years.… Read More

Workers compensation – work capacity decisions – Mark Grady

MKG-newFurther to Libby Campbell’s article last week in regards to hours of work and the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE), for work capacity decisions made on or after 1 January 2019, there is a new regime.

Work capacity decisions include decisions by the workers compensation insurer in respect to a worker’s capacity to work and their PIAWE.

Decisions in respect to PIAWE, which are generally mathematical calculations, require review of wages material in the 12 months prior to the worker’s injury and will be in the large part resolved by a review of the insurer, or failing that by an arbitrator of the Workers Compensation Commission.… Read More

The extra hours do count – Libby Campbell

Libby_Campbell web croppedThe payment of weekly compensation for workers compensation matters are calculated based on the workers pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) prior to the injury date.

Generally the insurer will review the amount the worker has earned in the 52 weeks prior to the injury. The total amount is then averaged over the 52 week period and the weekly amount is known as the PIAWE figure.

For the first 13 weeks of the claim the worker will receive 95% of the PIAWE amount and from 14 weeks onwards the worker will then receive 80% of the PIAWE amount if they are totally incapacitated to work.… Read More

The law is tough when it comes to being an “existing recipient” – Libby Campbell

Libby_Campbell web croppedMany injured workers are faced with having their weekly payments stopped due to a change in workers compensation laws that was introduced in 2012, limiting the amount of weekly payments a worker could receive to 260 weeks (5 years) under section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The section does not apply to an injured worker if their injury has been assessed as greater than 20% whole person impairment.

As part of the legislative changes there was a saving grace piece introduced to cover worker’s injured prior to the changes being implemented, so that the changes did not apply retrospectively.… Read More

Journey claims and Magpies – Mark Grady

MKG-newOn 19 June 2012 the Workers Compensation Act 1987 was substantially amended, one of those amendments was to greatly limit workers and their ability to claim benefits under the Workers Compensation Act for injuries sustained whilst on a journey to and from work.

In the case of Smith v Woolworths Limited (2017) NSW WCC 290 Ms Smith was employed by Woolworths and on the day of injury she drove her vehicle within the staff carpark.  After parking her vehicle in the staff allocated carpark, she then walked along a walkway and just prior to going through the automatic doors, Ms Smith was attacked by a bird and she suffered a serious right eye injury.… Read More

Are heart attacks/strokes covered under workers compensation? – Mark Grady

MKG-newOn 19 June 2012 section 9B of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (section 9B) was introduced that provides that no compensation will be payable for people suffering from a stroke or a heart attack, unless the nature of employment gave rise to a significantly greater risk of the worker suffering the injury.

For heart attacks prior to 19 June 2012, the test was whether employment was a substantial contributing factor to the injury. Section 9B seeks to make the test more onerous on the worker.

In the normal course of events, the question to be answered is whether the work that the deceased was doing significantly heightened the risk of injury.… Read More

Are your workers compensation payments correct? – Libby Campbell

Libby_Campbell web croppedInjured workers receiving weekly entitlements are exposed, throughout the life of their claim, to a potential work capacity decision made by the insurance company at any time. Work capacity decisions relate to whether you can work, the type of work you can do, and for how long. The scope of a work capacity decision is governed by section 43 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

Examples of typical disputes include:

  • You disagree with the insurer on your current ability to return to work;
  • You disagree with the insurer as to what is suitable employment for you during your recovery period;
  • You disagree with the monetary amount you are able to earn in suitable employment;
  • You disagree with the amount that has been assessed by the insurer for your preinjury average weekly earnings or current weekly earnings;
  • You disagree with the insurer that you are able to engage in employment without causing further substantial risk of injury based on your injury.
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Need a new knee? – Libby Campbell

Libby_Campbell web croppedUnder NSW workers compensation law medical expenses are stopped after certain periods depending on the severity of the injury. For all accepted injuries there is a minimum of two years from the date of the injury or the date of the last weekly payment that reasonably necessary medical expenses will be covered by the workers compensation insurer. If the worker is assessed between 11% and 20% whole person impairment the worker’s medical expenses are then covered for five years from the date of injury or from the date of the last weekly payment. If the worker is assessed at greater than 20% whole person impairment the worker’s medical expenses are covered for life.… Read More

Home based employment – what are you covered for under workers compensation? – Libby Campbell

Libby_Campbell web croppedThe 21st century has seen an increase in the use of flexible working arrangements and alternate employment settings, which can involve the home. However are employees covered by workers compensation if they are working from home and there are no other employees or witnesses to vouch for their activities and potential injuries, and how far does it extend?

A recent decision made by Senior Arbitrator McDonald in the Workers Compensation Commission on 18 January of this year touched on this issue. The case involved a couple who ran a financial advice company from their home. In June 2010 the female partner died at home as the result of injuries inflicted by her partner, who was not found guilty of murder due to mental illness.… Read More

If you die from a workplace injury, can you also claim compensation for permanent impairment? – Libby Campbell

Under section 66 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 workers are able to claim for permanent impairment for injuries which are assessed at greater than 10% whole person impairment (WPI) for physical injuries, or 15%WPI or more for psychological injuries. If the date of injury was to occur today the maximum payout, or 100%WPI for permanent impairment would be $598,560.

If death results from an injury, the worker’s dependents, such as a spouse or child, are able to claim a lump sum death benefit claim under section 25 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. If death was to occur today the current pay out figure is $781,900.… Read More