*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in South Australia.

Many workers who suffer physical injuries in the course of their employment have an entitlement to receive payment for pain and suffering and loss of earnings caused by their injuries.

In South Australia, the compensation that they can receive is guided by the Return to Work Act 2014 and determined once the worker has had a Permanent Impairment Assessment.

Here’s the important bit: impairments that are from the same trauma or cause must be assessed together during the permanent impairment assessment so that workers are compensated properly.  If anything is missed, workers can’t come back and have a second go at the assessment.

This is why it’s important to talk about wee, poo, sex, and other private topics early.

If you have any change in your toilet or sexual habits following your work injury, you may be entitled to be compensated for this and the difference in compensation could be significant.


Joe is a 45 year old engineer.

On 1 July 2022 he attends a construction site and climbs a ladder to see something.  A magpie swoops him, he lets go of the ladder so that he can use his arms to protect his eyes, and then falls 3 metres to the ground.  Joe lands on his back and feels immediate pain to his shoulders, neck, entire back and both hips.

About a month after the fall, Joe has difficulty urinating.  About three weeks after that he is in an intimate moment and discovers that he cannot have an erection.  Joe doesn’t mention this to anyone at the time as he is embarrassed and has grown up not talking about private matters relating to his private parts.

18 months after the fall Joe has a permanent impairment assessment.  His is assessed as having a degree of impairment of 17% for the shoulders, neck, lumbar spine and both hips.

Joe mentions to the doctor that he has had difficulty urinating and having and maintaining an erection since the fall.  The doctor says that these injuries aren’t included in the list of the injuries to be assessed and doesn’t provide an impairment percentage to be compensated.  She tells Joe to talk to the insurer about it.

The insurer tells Joe that a 17% impairment means that he is entitled to the following payments:

  1. $42,107.00 for pain and suffering; and
  2. $97,148.00 for future financial loss.

Joe receives a total of $139,255.00 in compensation.

The insurer tells Joe that he can’t be compensated for the urinary and sexual difficulties because he is only able to be assessed once.

Joe turns to Turner Freeman for advice.

Turner Freeman investigates the urinary and sexual difficulties and confirms that Joe may have been entitled to be compensated for these injuries.  If they had been assessed, they may have given rise to a degree of impairment of as much as 7%.  In dollars, this means Joe might have received an additional:

  1. $22,296.00 for pain and suffering; and
  2. $89,656.80 for future financial loss.

This is a difference of over $110,000.00 in compensation.

What could Joe have done to protect his entitlements?

  1. Keep a record of all changes to his body following his work injury. Some of them may not have been related, but some of them could have significantly increased his compensation.
  2. Talk to his doctor about the changes as they occurred. Up to date medical records are critical in workers compensation claims.
  3. Turn to Turner Freeman Lawyers sooner.

If you have a work injury and your insurer is starting to talk about the permanent impairment assessment, call Turner Freeman Lawyers and we will be happy to assist you.  We are experts in this area of law and take pride in helping injured workers maximise their entitlements.  This includes asking about your wee, poo and sexual activities so that you don’t miss out on compensation like Joe did.

*The example is an example only.  Compensation of the kinds described in this post are assessed on a case by case basis.  This blog should not be relied on to estimate your own entitlements or those of another person.