In New South Wales, worker injuries are governed by the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) (‘The Act’).
Injuries fall into two main categories defined by the Act. These are ‘personal injuries‘ and ‘disease injuries’.
A personal injury is often called a ‘frank injury’ or is a one-off incident or accident. An ‘injury’ is characterised by a ‘sudden and identifiable pathological change.’ An example of a personal injury is when a worker has a fall at work and breaks a bone due to that fall.
A disease injury or a disease of gradual process includes repetitive strain injuries or the onset of arthritis due to the nature and conditions of a worker’s employment, for example from heavy manual labour.
Psychological injuries must also be characterised under the same rules. Major depression caused by ongoing bullying and harassment in the workplace is an example of a disease injury. On the other hand, acquiring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is usually caused be a one-off traumatic event and is an example of a personal injury.
The characterisation of an injury can have significant consequences for a claim. For example, in relation to disease injuries, the rules for successfully establishing causation are more difficult to satisfy. Where an injury has been caused or contributed to by more than one employer, a set of rules applies for deeming which employer is liable. Disease injuries will often be declined by the insurer for one or both of those reasons.
If you have been injured at work, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Even if your claim has been accepted and you are receiving statutory benefits, it is still imperative that you seek legal advice from a firm that specialises in workers’ compensation matters to ensure all your rights are explored.
Turner Freeman Lawyers will not only be able to assist you and guide you through the statutory claims process, but we will also provide you with advice in regards to other rights you may be entitled to, this may include:
- Receiving a lump-sum payment for your injuries;
- Seeking reviews of any decisions made by the insurer in the course of your statutory claim;
- Commencing a claim for damages; or
- Total and Permanent Disablement insurance under a superannuation policy.
We understand that being injured can be a stressful and overwhelming time. At Turner Freeman Lawyers, we are here to help you through the claims process and to relieve some of that stress and pressure from you. If you require our assistance, we encourage you to contact us on 13 43 63 for an obligation free case assessment.