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Workers Compensation

Guide to Workers Compensation in NSW

By LHD Lawyers

If you have suffered financially from a work-related injury in New South Wales, you may be entitled to workers compensation to cover lost wages and medical expenses. Whether your injury was caused by unsafe conditions, faulty equipment, a car accident while travelling for work, or another person’s carelessness, understanding your rights is the first step to getting the compensation you deserve.

At LHD, our specialist team of workers compensation lawyers in NSW hold a wealth of knowledge to help you get back on your feet. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • The definition of workers compensation in NSW
  • NSW workers compensation legislation
  • NSW workers compensation guidelines
  • How workers compensation works in NSW
  • What you can claim
  • How to claim workers compensation in NSW
  • Workers compensation age limits and timeframes
  • Superannuation and workers compensation
  • Rules about working while receiving workers compensation
  • NSW Workers compensation payouts

What is workers compensation in NSW?

Workers compensation is essentially a safety net for workers who have suggered a physical or psychological injury or illness at (or because of) their work. It’s a type of insurance paid by employers and may include a one-off lump sum payment for permanent impairment, income replacement, and financial support for medical and rehabilitation expenses.

Workers compensation for injury and illness is an increasing awareness issue in Australian society, with many workers becoming more aware of their rights and their employer’s responsibilities. The NSW Government’s State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) recently published that over the 2019/2020 financial year, NSW alone processed an astounding number of claims, and many workers were paid the compensation they deserved for their injuries:

  • 94,759 claims were reported
  • $3.69B was paid out for workers compensation entitlements
  • 98,290 injured workers received a weekly benefit payment

Each state and territory in Australia has its own regulatory authority and compensation scheme, so understanding specific NSW workers compensation legislation and guidelines is essential to receiving the workers compensation payout you deserve.

Is WorkCover the same as workers compensation in NSW?

WorkCover was the previous name for the workers compensation in NSW. In 2015, WorkCover NSW was replaced by three new entities under SafeWork NSW; however, it’s still often used to refer to the scheme that pays workers compensation.

Workers compensation legislation for NSW

NSW workers compensation legislation is outlined by SIRA to guarantee the legal protection of workers who suffer workplace injury or illness. A summary of the legislation includes:

Workers Compensation Act 1987 Ensures that a worker suffering from a workplace injury receives appropriate compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses. The employer has liability for all injuries received in the course of employment.
Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 Supports prompt, effective treatment and management of work-related injuries, financial support, and effective workplace injury management focused on preventing work-related injuries.
Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942 Supports extensive provisions for workers suffering illness or injury from work-related dust and respiratory diseases, such as silicosis.
Workers Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services) Act 1987 Special compensation to cover bush firefighters, emergency service workers and rescue associations workers.
Workers Compensation Regulation 2016 Regulation relating to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 that outlines work-related diseases, return to work assistance, and information regarding costs and earnings.
Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Regulation 2018 Regulation relating to the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942 that outlines claim applications and information to be supplied by employers.
Workers Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services) Regulation 2017 Regulation to the Workers Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services) Act 1998 that outlines additional workers and work-related events covered by the Act.

 

For more detailed information on NSW workers compensation legislation, visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

Workers compensation guidelines for NSW

NSW workers compensation guidelines support the legislation and are used to guide all parties involved in a claim for workers compensation in New South Wales. There are multiple guidelines covered under workers compensation, including guidelines for evaluation, disputes, and return to work programs. The primary workers compensation guidelines outline several essential steps in your claim, including:

  • The initial notification of an injury
  • Provisional liability for weekly compensation payments and treatment expenses
  • Making a claim and what this involves
  • Compensation for medical, hospital and rehabilitation expenses
  • Work capacity assessments
  • Injury management consultants
  • Independent medical examinations and reports
  • Lump sum payments
  • Commutation of compensation and what this means for compensation
  • Pre-injury average weekly earnings

For more detailed information on NSW workers compensation guidelines, visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

How does workers compensation work in NSW?

Workers compensation is compulsory insurance paid by your employer that safeguards you if you suffer a work-related injury or illness. Most schemes cover full-time workers, part-time workers, and apprentices, while some also cover casual workers and volunteers.

You may be eligible for workers compensation in NSW if your injury or illness was suffered:

  • While travelling for work or on work-related business
  • At your workplace (or is not in related to work)
  • Due to someone else’s negligence
  • In a way that has cost you financially, whether that be through medical expenses or time off work

What can you claim on workers compensation in NSW?

Whether your work-related injury or illness is physical or psychological, you may be entitled to claim for a variety of things, including:

  • Lost income or future income
  • Medical, hospital, rehabilitation, and in-home care expenses
  • Medical equipment you may require
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle
  • Assistance in returning to work
  • Permanent impairment compensation

How to apply for workers compensation in NSW?

Contacting an experienced workers compensation lawyer is often the first step in applying for workers compensation in NSW. The process can vary but often proceeds as follows:

  • Meet with your assigned specialist LHD lawyer to discuss your claim
  • We’ll send out a notice of your claim to the other party
  • Our expert lawyers will attempt to seek an agreement with the other party (or their insurer) on your behalf
  • If no agreement can be reached, we will initiate court proceedings
  • The claim is resolved out of court or seen through to a final determination by a judge

When you apply for workers compensation in NSW, evidence will likely need to be presented as part of your claim. Our specialist team will advise you on the evidence needed for your specific circumstances, and assist you in finding alternative means to support your claim should you not have relevant evidence available.

How do I fill in the NSW workers compensation claim form?

Making a claim for workers compensation can feel overwhelming, particularly while you’re already suffering from emotional and physical distress.

To help make the process as simple and stress-free as possible, our experienced team at LHD is here to assist you with filling in your NSW workers compensation claim form. Our team understands the devastating impact a work-related injury can have on your health and well-being, and we’re dedicated to helping you receive the compensation you deserve by alleviating any confusion or uncertainty surrounding your claim.

How long can you be on workers compensation in NSW?

Generally, workers compensation in NSW is paid for up to 5 years. However, if you’ve been assessed as unable to work indefinitely, this five-year limit no longer applies. Weekly workers compensation payments in NSW often continue until:

  • You’re able to return to work
  • You reach a fair settlement
  • You’ve been receiving payments for five years
  • You reach the maximum total weekly compensation limit
  • You reach retirement age (plus one year)

What is the workers compensation age limit in NSW?

While there are no age limits on workers that can make a compensation claim in NSW, workers close to or older than 67 (retirement age) may be entitled to as little as 12 months of income support from the date of their accident. There are two main situations for how this age limit may impact a workers compensation claim:

  • You’re injured close to, but before, retirement age: Weekly payments will stop one year after you reach the retirement age
  • You’re older than the retirement age: Weekly payments are available for 12 months from the date of your accident

Is superannuation payable on workers compensation in NSW?

Superannuation is typically not payable while an employee is on workers compensation in NSW; however, according to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), there are exceptions, such as:

  • You’re covered under a Modern Award that states that Super is to be paid
  • You fall under an enterprise agreement, which specifies that Super is still to be paid while on workers compensation
  • You have a partial capacity to work, and you’re being paid by an employer for those hours; in this case, you’ll be paid superannuation on your employer-funded Ordinary Time Hours (OTE) only

The rules with working and workers compensation claims

As part of your workers compensation claim, you’ll often be focused on recovery through medical treatment, rest and rehabilitation. If you’re able to, returning to work, whether partially or otherwise, is a primary goal for all involved. How this works can vary depending on your situation, however, there are often protections in place to assist in your efforts to return to work.

Can you work after making a workers compensation claim?

Yes, you can return to work after making a workers compensation claim, even if you received a permanent impairment payout. If you recover from your injuries or illness and are able to re-enter the workforce, your workers compensation settlement shouldn’t prevent you from working or impact on how you’re treated at work.

It’s important for your employer to provide safe options for you to recover at work by finding suitable work within your capacity. This may include:

  • The same job, but on reduced hours
  • Parts of your job that allow safe and effective recovery
  • Different duties altogether
  • A different worksite if needed
  • A combination of some or all of the above

Can I resign while on workers compensation in NSW?

While you can resign while on workers compensation in NSW, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities by obtaining legal advice before you leave. In some cases, weekly payments may be reduced or suspended if you’re considered able to work, or your workplace is providing suitable duties to support your recovery while working.

Can I get a new job while on workers compensation in NSW?

Recovery and returning to work is a primary focus for workers compensation, whether with your existing employer or a new one. If you’re ready to change jobs, a work-related injury or illness doesn’t need to stand in your way. To discuss avenues for changing jobs and determine if your compensation claim will be impacted, we recommend discussing your situation with one of our dedicated workers compensation lawyers. We make it a point to get to know you personally so we can truly understand your situation and help you choose the path with the most positive outcome.

Can you terminate an employee on workers compensation in NSW?

Being dismissed by your employer is often a common concern when applying for workers compensation in NSW. Thankfully, there are rules in place to protect your job, including:

  • It’s not legal for your employer to terminate you within the first six months of your injury purely because you’re unfit to resume your regular duties
  • Your employer must do everything they can to assist you in returning to work, including providing options to recover while working through reduced hours and changed duties

If you’ve been terminated from your job while on workers compensation in NSW, your eligibility for workers compensation doesn’t end; you’ll continue to receive compensation benefits as long as your doctor certifies that you’re unable to carry out your previous work duties.

Can you be made redundant while on workers compensation in NSW?

If you’re made redundant while on workers compensation, your employer still needs to comply with the appropriate legislation and provide notice. You also have the right to receive payout entitlements, such as a redundancy payment, while on workers compensation.

Guide to NSW workers compensation payouts

Physical and psychological injuries, workplace diseases, and illnesses are all circumstances that you can claim for when assessing your potential workers compensation payout. While it varies depending on your situation and the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation in the form of weekly payments, reimbursements for treatment expenses, lump sum impairment payments, and a work injury damages payout.

For detailed information about payout types and amounts in different states, read our Workers Compensation Payout Guide.

How much do I get paid on workers compensation in NSW?

While the amount and length of time you’ll be paid varies based on your personal circumstances, you may be eligible to claim:

Period of time Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks Up to 95%
14 to 130 weeks Up to 80%
131 to 230 weeks Up to 80% (with a Work Capacity Assessment to confirm inability to return to work)
5 years or more Up to 80% (Only payable to people with a whole person impairment greater than 20%)

 

From 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, the maximum weekly compensation amount you can be paid in NSW is $2,341.80. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may also be entitled to a lump sum payment.

The compensation payout you’ll receive is typically determined by three key factors:

  1. An expert medical assessment of the extent of your injuries
  2. The amount of lost earnings due to not being able to work
  3. The extent to which future earnings are potentially impacted

How long is workers compensation paid in NSW?

Most workers compensation claims are paid for up to 5 years. The exception to this is if you’ve been identified as having suffered whole person impairment of greater than 20%.

Example of a successful NSW workers compensation settlement

Our client in NSW was at work when they rolled an ankle walking backwards and dropped a heavy plate directly onto their knee, causing severe pain and immediate deformation. After being rushed to hospital they were found to have a displaced transverse fracture of the patella. With multiple therapies and surgeries required, and ongoing complications caused by metal inserted during their initial surgery, LHD Lawyers negotiated a Worker’s Compensation payout amount of $400,000.00 in 2014.

For more case studies, visit our workers compensation payout hub.

Make a Workers Compensation claim today

If you think you have a workers compensation claim in NSW, LHD Lawyers can help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

Find out more about our offices in Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Erina, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Taree and Tamworth.

 

Author: Jasmina Mackovic

Original Publish Date: November 14, 2o22

Last Updated: March 26, 2024

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