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Workers Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Payout Guide

By LHD Lawyers

Have you suffered an injury at work? You may be entitled to workers’ compensation for lost wages, medical costs and future earnings. Depending on the extent of your injuries and whether employer negligence was a factor, you may also be entitled to a lump-sum compensation payment.

120,355 workers’ compensation claims were made in 2019 and 2020, according to Safe Work Australia. It’s a huge figure that doesn’t only represent a large number of Australians; it also shows that despite all the intricate safety regulations workplaces need to comply with, workers continue to be hurt while doing their jobs.

Review our workers’ compensation guide for an overview that includes how payouts and settlements are handled.

How are workers’ compensation settlements calculated?

There are three main factors that determine a workers’ compensation payout:

  • An expert medical assessment of the extent of the injuries
  • The amount of lost earnings due to not being able to work
  • The extent to which future earning potential has been impacted.

If a claim is successful, the worker injured is paid a percentage of their average pre-injury weekly earnings, with the percentage in most states slightly decreasing then stabilising overtime for the entire period they’re off work, subject to medical assessments.

Percentages and periods vary state to state, as per the breakdown below from Safe Work Australia:

New South Wales

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 95%
14 to 130 weeks 80%
130 to 260 weeks 80% (Work Capacity Assessment required to confirm inability to return to work)
260 weeks onwards 80% (If body impairment more than 20%)

 

Victoria

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 95%
14 to 26 weeks 80%
27 to 52 weeks 80%
53 to 104 weeks 80%
104+ weeks onwards 80% (Work Capacity Assessment required to confirm a worker unable to return to work)

 

Queensland

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 85%
14 to 26 weeks 75%
27 to 52 weeks 75%
53 to 104 weeks 75%
104+ weeks onwards 75% (Payments only continue if worker has a body impairment of more than 15%)

 

Western Australia

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 100%
14 to 26 weeks 100%
27 to 52 weeks 100%
53 to 104 weeks 100%
104+ weeks onwards 100%

 

South Australia

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 100%
14 to 26 weeks 100%
27 to 52 weeks 100%
53 to 104 weeks 80%
104+ weeks onwards 80%

 

Tasmania

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 100%
14 to 26 weeks 100%
27 to 52 weeks 90%
53 to 78 weeks 90%
79 to 104 weeks 85%
104+ weeks onwards 80%

 

Northern Territory

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 100%
14 to 26 weeks 100%
27 to 52 weeks 75%-90%
53 to 104 weeks 75%-90%
104+ weeks onwards 75-90% (Compensation ceases after 250 weeks unless whole body impairment is 15% or higher)

 

Australian Capital Territory

Length of time off work Percentage of pre-injury income
First 13 weeks 100%
14 to 26 weeks 100%
27 to 52 weeks 65%
53 to 104 weeks 65%
104+ weeks onwards 65%

 

What kinds of payments are provided by workers’ compensation?

Payment Type Definition
Weekly payments Covers your weekly wage while you are injured
Medical expenses Payment of your medical, hospital, rehabilitation, and travel expenses
Permanent impairment payout This payout covers a permanent impairment caused by work injury
Work Injury Damages payout: This is a lump sum payout for any injuries sustained which was a result of an employer’s negligence—also known as a common law claim.

 

How long does a workers’ compensation payout take?

If your workers’ compensation claim is successful, the length of time you have to wait to receive compensation depends on the severity of your injury. It also varies according to compensation types. The information below breaks down typical wait times for each type of payment:

– Weekly payments

From submitting a claim, a decision is usually made within 38 days regarding whether or not you are eligible for weekly compensation payments. If the claim has been accepted, payments usually commence within seven days.

– Medical expenses

Your expense receipts need to be provided to your employer, to be reimbursed by their insurer. However, it can be difficult to predict when the reimbursements will be made and when the funds will be made available to you as circumstances vary.

– Impairment benefits

A claim can only be lodged after the permanent injury suffered has stabilised and at least 12 months have passed since the injury first occurred. The level of impairment that remains after this length of time is then assessed, with a decision taking around 120 days.

– Work injury damages payout

This lump sum payment is awarded when an injury was due to an employer’s negligence and resulted in at least 15% permanent impairment. Court proceedings for work injury damages must begin within three years of the injury date. Resolution is often slow and depends on the individual circumstances of the claim.

What is the average settlement for workers’ compensation?

Safe Work Australia has identified 10 commonly compensated injuries and their average compensation payouts for 2018-2019.

  • Mental stress: $46,400
  • Vehicle incidents: $15,600
  • Body/muscular stress: $15,500
  • Falls, trips and slips: $14,900
  • Sound and pressure injury: $11,400
  • Being hit by moving objects: $11,000
  • Hitting objects with part of the body: $8,400
  • Chemical injuries: $7,900
  • Biological hazards: $4,700
  • Injuries caused by heat, electricity and other environmental factors: $3600

However, compensation amounts were considerably higher when an injury was the result of an employer’s negligence. In these circumstances, the average compensation payout ranged from $22,480 to $631,370.

Workers’ compensation payments are hugely affected by negotiations with the employer’s insurer. To ensure your negotiations are undertaken in a way that prioritises your circumstances, get in contact with our legal team.

What is the maximum payout for workers’ compensation in NSW?

The NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority published in their 2021, NSW Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guide, that the maximum weekly payment is $2,242. This weekly payment equates to $583,024 after five years of entitled compensation.

Make a workers’ compensation claim today.

LHD Lawyers help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to for Workers’ Compensation claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

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