If a worker suffers a permanent impairment for an injury that is 5% WPI or more, there is an entitlement to receive lump sum compensation. The actual amount of compensation awarded to a worker is based on their percentage of WPI, which directly affects the amount of compensation they receive for economic loss and non-economic loss under ss 56 and 58 of the Return To Work Act. A WPI assessment is also used to determine whether a worker is a seriously injured worker within the meaning of s21 of the Return To Work Act.
One Assessment Only
The assessment of a worker’s WPI must be conducted according to the Impairment Assessment Guidelines (“the Guidelines”). A worker is entitled to only one permanent impairment assessment for all injuries arising from the same trauma. You cannot have a subsequent assessment if an injury is missed or manifests at a later date. Accordingly, it is important that all of your injuries arising from the trauma are included in the assessment.
Some examples of injuries that could arise from the same trauma, but may not immediately be apparent, include:
- Overuse injuries (e.g. using one limb to compensate for the other injured limb);
- Injuries which follow from surgery (e.g. complication from surgery, or scarring);
- Injuries consequential on taking of medication for a work injury (e.g. bowel or bladder conditions).
The list above is not exhaustive. In order to ensure that you do not forfeit any entitlement for your injuries, it is important to get legal advice to assist in the preparation of your WPI assessment.
Under the Guidelines, you are also entitled to select the assessor for the purpose of the WPI assessment. Precluded from assessing you are any doctors who have previously assessed or treated you. It is important that you select a WPI assessor who is the most appropriate assessor for your individual circumstances. We have extensive experience in dealing with the assessors accredited by RTWSA and can help you with your selection.
The permanent impairment assessment is a very important part of your claim and it is very important that you seek legal advice before proceeding with an assessment.
At Turner Freeman, we can provide you with specific advice in relation to your circumstances on a “No Win No Fee” basis. If you need legal advice in relation to your permanent impairment assessment, please contact us on 8213 1000 to speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers.