NSW WC: Accessing legal assistance at no costs to eligible injured workers

We understand it is difficult enough trying to navigate through the complex legal system during an injury, so here at Littles Lawyers, we can apply for a grant of funding to help you pay for your legal fees and any associated disbursement fees. This means, if the grant is approved, you can access our legal services for any statutory workers compensation benefits at absolutely no costs to you.

Our Head of NSW Claims, Jessica Cheung is an approved lawyer with the Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service (ILARS) scheme. The ILARS scheme is managed by the Independent Review Office (IRO), established under the Personal Injury Commission Act. We are therefore qualified to apply for an ILARS grant of funding on your behalf.

The purpose of ILARS, as explained in the Act is:

“To provide funding for legal and associated costs for workers under the Workers Compensation Acts seeking advice regarding decisions of insurers for those Acts and to provide assistance in finding solutions for disputes between workers and insurers.”  

There for few scopes of funding available to eligible injured workers from ILARS: 

  • Obtain preliminary but comprehensive advice about their rights and entitlements. This will include whether an injured worker is entitled to a claim or not.  
  • Access legal assistance to investigate their rights and entitlements under the relevant workers compensation legislations and if applicable, explore earl resolution of disagreements or disputes with the insurer with the assistance of a lawyer.  
  • Access legal representations to have their dispute of a statutory benefits claim resolved by agreement or determined in the Personal Injury Commission by a Member.  
  • Access legal representations to pursue appeals both within the Personal Injury Commission, or where appropriate, to higher courts such as the Supreme Court of NSW.  
  • The legal costs that ILARS may grant include costs for professional legal fees and any associated disbursements.  

Disbursements are expenses incurred by a Lawyer in relation to a claim for compensation. This may include clinical notes, medical records, medical reports from your treating doctors, records from physiotherapists, and independent medical examination reports.  

In certain circumstances, IRO may also pay for reasonable travel and associated expenses (accommodation, meals etc.).  

If a Counsel (barrister) is briefed to appear on your behalf as an advocate at a teleconference, hearing etc., then Counsel’s fees will also be paid for by IRO.  

In conclusion, for all eligible injured workers, you can access legal advice relating to your statutory benefits claim at no costs to you. Do not wait and seek legal advice today regarding your work-related injury.  

Who is IRO?

The WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO) (predecessor of IRO) was established in 2012 to counter the legislative amendments made to the Workers Compensation scheme in NSW. Prior to 2012, the legal fees of an injured worker bringing a statutory benefits claim were met by the insurer, how this rule was amended, and the injured worker was then liable to pay for his/her own legal fees. Lawyers lobbied the Government to revise this amendment, however was unsuccessful. Eventually the WIRO was established to provide assistance to injured workers.  

In addition to managing the ILARS Grant, IRO also plays an important role of finding solutions for injured workers or injured persons in motor vehicle accidents with complains about their insurers, and also conducting inquiries into matters arising in connection with the Workers Compensation and Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation schemes.  

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