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Everyone has the right to go to work each day, knowing they’ll come home safely. If you’ve been injured or become ill at work you may be entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation to cover lost wages, medical and rehabilitation costs, retraining expenses or a lump sum payment for permanent injuries.
There have been a lot of changes to arrangements in NSW for seeking workers’ compensation in recent years. You could be forgiven for being a little confused about where to start. After all, workers’ compensation laws and entitlements are already a little hard to keep up with because they vary between states and territories and may be known as WorkCover, CTP or WorkSafe. Compensation and benefits can vary greatly depending on your injury and on the law you’re covered by.
Suffering from a work injury? This can be a stressful time for you and your family that can be made even more difficult – or even overwhelming – if you’re not sure about how you’ll pay the bills. Changes to workers’ compensation arrangements in NSW over the last decade have significantly tightened access to the NSW workers’ compensation scheme. However, an ‘exempt worker’ describes those classes of worker to whom these changes do not apply.
An exempt worker a person who is employed as one of the following in NSW:
· police officer
· fire fighter.
There are significant differences between the compensation payable to exempt workers as opposed to other workers in NSW.
Lump sum compensation arrangements are different for exempt workers. This means that
· Whole person impairment: the minimum level of whole person impairment is one percent for an exempt worker, whereas the threshold is 11 percent for other workers
· Exempt workers who are assessed with 10 percent or more whole person impairment are still entitled to claim an extra amount of lump sum compensation for ‘pain and suffering’ up to a maximum of $50,000. This entitlement has been removed for other types of workers. However, exempt workers have been excluded from changes to maximum lump sum payments for permanent impairment injuries .These were increased from $220,000 to $577,050, with payments to be indexed annually
· The threshold of 15 percent whole person impairment for a psychiatric injury applies to both types of worker.
If you’re an exempt worker who has been injured at work, you may be eligible to receive weekly workers’ compensation payments for as long as you suffer a partial or total incapacity for work. Such payments can be made up to the age of 67, plus one year. Other types of worker will in most cases, be restricted to payments for a maximum of five years in total.
Weekly payments are paid to exempt workers as follows:
· For the first 26 weeks (6 months) of weekly payments, you will receive benefits based upon the award which applies to your job
· If after the first 26 weeks of weekly payments, you remain partially or totally unfit for work, you will be paid a fixed rate referred to as the ‘statutory maximum’ rate.
If you’re an exempt worker who has been injured at work, there is no restriction on how long an you can claim medical expenses relating to his or her injury. This is usually the case, even if you have returned to work, and/or the insurer is no longer making weekly payments.
You will also not need to meet a threshold of whole person impairment in order to continue claiming medical expenses.
Exempt workers requiring legal advice and representation in relation to a workers compensation claim will be entitled to recover their costs from the insurer on the successful conclusion of the matter.
Clearly, the workers’ compensation system can be complex, which is why it helps to seek quality legal advice as soon as possible. At Littles, we are experts in workplace injuries, and can help manage the process to ensure that you receive all appropriate entitlements and support. With Littles on your side, we can ensure that you get the fair treatment you deserve.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been rejected, or you would like to understand how to claim benefits to support you and your family while you are injured or ill, please get in touch for a no-obligation chat.
IMPORTANT: There are strict time limits for making and disputing a claim, so take advantage of our FREE initial consultation and get in touch. You have nothing to lose by speaking to one of our compensation law experts. The sooner we determine your eligibility to make or appeal a claim, the sooner we can help you to obtain or continue getting funding from the insurer so your rehabilitation can proceed smoothly.
Not only do we offer a FREE initial consultation we handle most insurance claims on a no win, no fee basis.
The Head of our NSW team, Jessica Cheung, is an expert in NSW workers’ compensation claims. If you think you might have a claim, reach out to Jessica and her team for high quality legal advice.
Please note that this information is intended to provide general guidance only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your individual circumstances. For further information, please contact Littles.