In a 2019-20 report, 120,355 serious injury claims were made by Australian workers while on the job.
Body stressing made up 37% of those claims. The highest frequency came from labourers, community, and personal service workers, along with machinery operators and drivers.
If you’ve had an injury while on the job, then you might be eligible for compensation. Want to know how much?
In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about workers’ comp payout in New South Wales (NSW).
What Is a Workers’ Comp Payout?
If you get injured on the job or become ill due to work in NSW, you should make a claim for workers’ compensation. It is sometimes referred to as ‘WorkCover’ which was the old name for the NSW workers’ compensation scheme.
This is the monetary compensation for injuries at your place of work. In NSW, you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent in order to get workers’ comp.
Instead, you must prove that the injury happened while you were working. This is a ‘no fault’ scheme.
If you had a work-related injury and work was a ‘substantial contributing factor,’ then you are covered. Even if your employer was not at fault.
The NSW worker’s compensation system offers support if you’re injured at work including compensation for:
- Lost Wages,
- Medical, Hospital, and Rehabilitation Treatment,
- Assistance to Help You Return to Work,
- And, Occasionally, Compensation for Non-Economic Loss.
The SIRA or State Insurance Regulatory Authority is the NSW Government agency that is responsible for overseeing the NSW workers’ comp system.
Jobs Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation
There are some occupations that are not covered by workers’ compensation in NSW. These include:
- Coal Miners Matters: Refer to the Workplace Injury Management and Workers’ Compensation Act of 1988.
- Dust Disease Matters: Refer to the Workers’ Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act of 1942.
- Bush Fire, Emergency, and Rescue Services: Refer to the Workers’ Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency, and Rescue Services) Act of 1987.
To get workers’ compensation for these injuries, you must file a claim with NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
What Is Covered?
Some examples of injuries or damage that qualify for workers’ compensation claims in NSW are:
- Hearing Loss,
- Permanent Impairment,
- Property Damage,
- Serious Injury or Illness,
- Dangerous Incidents,
- Or Death.
Workers’ compensation only repays financial damages. So keep in mind that you can’t claim payments for ‘pain and suffering.’ These are non-economic damages according to the Workers’ Compensation Act of 1987.
Your Recovery Plan
Once you report your injury, your insurer gives you a claim number. This appears on all documentation relating to your claim.
What Is a Certificate of Capacity?
Your certificate of capacity is the main way your doctor communicates with your support team. The certificate outlines your injury or illness, your ability to work, and the treatment needed.
This information helps determine your injury management and recovery plans.
Who Is Your Support Team?
As you move towards your recovery and return to work, your support team is there to help you along the way.
The team includes your case manager, doctor, and employer. Together they communicate to ensure you’re on track for a complete recovery.
- Case Manager: This is the key person to help you with any questions or concerns about your recovery. They are appointed by your employer’s insurer and contact you within three days of being notified to talk about your claim.
- Doctor: Your personal doctor, of your choice, assesses, diagnoses, and treats you for your injury or illness. They complete your certificate of capacity and support you as you recover. Lastly, they communicate with other members of your support team.
- Employer: It is your employer’s job to nominate someone to support your recovery. Often referred to as a “return to work coordinator” they talk with you, your case manager, and your doctor about your recovery plan at work.
You may need additional providers such as a physiotherapist or psychologist to be part of your support team. Your insurer might also include a workplace rehabilitation provider to help.
Your Payout Options
If your claim is eligible for a workers’ compensation payout, then you may receive compensation in a variety of forms:
- Weekly Payments: Payments to compensate for your lost wages while you’re off work.
- Medical Expenses: Covers the cost of your medical, ambulance, hospital, travel expenses, and rehabilitation expenses.
- Permanent Impairment Payout: You receive a lump sum compensation payout. It covers any permanent impairment that was a result of a work-related injury or sickness.
- Work Injury Damages Payout: You receive a lump sum payout for damages if the injury or sickness was the result of your employer’s negligence. (Also known as a ‘common law claim.’
What Is the Maximum Payout?
There are some limits that could apply to your workers’ comp payout in NSW. For most, your maximum weekly payout is $2318.10 x 5 years. This is a total of $602,706.
However, there are some exceptions. If you have a permanent impairment that is greater than 20%, this limit doesn’t apply.
Plus, these weekly payments don’t include compensation for your medical, hospital, rehabilitation, travel, and ambulance expenses.
Finally, for successful lump sum claims, your total payment is on top of these amounts. A lump sum may also be available if you have permanent impairment. (However, this must be made before any damages settlements.)
What Should You Do Next?
Your rights should protect you if you’re injured due to a workplace accident or illness. Keep in mind that workers’ comp settlements are determined through negotiations with the insurer.
Many people miss out on the full amount of their workers’ comp payout because they don’t understand the laws. If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, then our specialist NSW workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help.
We want you to receive the financial assistance you deserve – so you can focus on your recovery instead of losing money. Contact us today for honest legal advice and support to put your mind at ease.