Are there limits on workers compensation payouts?

If you’ve been injured at your job and are unable to work, you may be wondering how much workers compensation you can receive.

Work injuries can be both physical and psychological. These injuries can include body stress, back injuries, falls, cumulative trauma injuries, skin cancer and mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Under the New South Wales Workers Compensation Scheme, claims for injuries at work may be made for benefits including weekly payments, medical and rehabilitation expenses as well as a lump sum compensation payment for permanent impairment.

Death benefits and funeral expenses may also be claimed by a worker’s family following a workplace fatality.

Additionally, common law claims for injuries at work may be made in the courts if the injury was due to the employer’s negligence.

Weekly payments

If your injuries have reduced your capacity to work, then you may be eligible for a weekly payment to replace your loss of earnings. The amount of these payments are calculated on the basis of your pre-injury earnings.

However, the maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed every six months. Currently, the maximum weekly amount is $2,128.50 for the period between 1 April, 2008 and 30 September, 2018.

Lump sum payments for permanent impairment

An injured worker may make a claim for a lump sum payment if their whole person impairment is at 11 per cent or greater.

From 5 August, 2015, lump sum workers compensation payouts for an injury at work are indexed each year. Currently, 15 per cent whole person impairment equates to $35,510 (for the period of 1 July, 2017 to 30 June, 2018). For 74-100 per cent whole person impairment, this equates to $598,560 for the same time period.

Medical expenses and rehabilitation treatment

Injured workers are entitled to make a claim for medical expenses. This includes rehabilitation therapy, pharmaceutical expenses and travel costs to and from appointments.

All injured workers can claim reasonable medical expenses for up to two years from when their initial claim was made, or from when their weekly payments ceased.

If their whole person impairment is between 11 per cent and 20 per cent, then the time period for medical expenses is extended to five years. Injured workers with a permanent impairment of more than 20 per cent, are entitled to reasonably necessary medical expenses for life.

Work injury claim for damages

If an employer’s negligence was the cause of a worker’s injuries, then a common law claim for compensation may also be made through the courts. The injured worker’s whole person impairment must be at least 15 per cent.

To be successful with such a claim, you need to prove the following:

  • Your employer owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident
  • Your employer breached their duty of care
  • Your injury was caused due to the breach

Workers are entitled to claim for damages for economic loss (for example, loss of past and future wages, including superannuation). However, damages are not payable for permanent impairment, pain and suffering or medical treatment.

It’s important to note that if you receive a common law workers compensation payout, then you won’t be entitled to receive any further payments under the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme. Any weekly payments you’ve already received as workers compensation will also be deducted from your damages payout.

Speak to an experienced workers compensation lawyer

Workers compensation claims can be complex and it’s important to speak to an experienced workers compensation lawyer to get the best possible advice. Our specialist team of workers compensation lawyers are able to assess you claim and help you get the maximum payment you deserve for your injuries. Call us today on (02) 9601 0088.

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