*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

Under the Worker Compensation legislation, a worker is entitled to receive compensation if they sustain an injury whilst at work including, a “recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any pre-existing injury or disease”.

What is a recurrence of injury?

A recurrence occurs when a worker had already sustained a work-related injury in the past. After sometime, returned to employment, followed by the onset of symptoms from the previous injury, without any significant factor which requires the need to treatment and or causing incapacity.

Should a worker find themselves after seeking medical advice, to have a recurrence, liability should be accepted for a recurrence of injury and the insurer to reinstatement the previous accepts injury claim.

What is an aggravation of an Injury?

An aggravation of an injury is when symptoms of a pre-existing injury are increased by a new and definable event.

In order to determine this, all medical evidence including reports, statement. Investigations would be considered to determine whether an injury is a recurrence of a previous injury or a new injury.

If a worker suffers a new work-related injury to a body part that has previously been injured at work, the insurer would need to consider which of the two injuries materially contributed to the incapacity or need for treatment. Should it be found that both injuries contributed, it is preferable that the injury that was the most material of the contributors would be accepted.

Insurers must consider all relevant facts and medical evidence to properly determine whether an injury is a recurrence of a previously accepted workplace injury, or a new injury to a body part previously injured at work. It is important to consider, whether the previous injury was declined in order to reactivate the old claim.

The distinction between a recurrence of an injury and a new injury can be significant for workers as the insurer’s decision will impact a workers rights and entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

Determining whether the claim should be treated as a recurrence or a new injury should be best assisted with the help of skilled lawyers at Turner Freeman to assist in such complexities.

It may often be the insurer will assist and decline the old injury claim, in these situations, our lawyers will be able to ascertain and assist a worker by providing specialised advice regarding a workers recurrence and aggregation, acceleration, exacerbation of deterioration of any pre-exiting injury.