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Compensation entitlements

If you been injured on a mine site you may have valuable compensation entitlements superior to those afforded to other workers in the State of New South Wales.

The Workers Compensation Act 1987 and Workplace Injury Management & Workers Compensation Act 1998 regulate workers compensation claims and claims for damages brought by workers against employers in the state of New South Wales.  Generally speaking, since reforms passed by the State Government in 2002 and 2012, workers have only limited rights to workers compensation benefits in the form of weekly payments, medical treatment and, in limited cases, lump sums for permanent impairment.

Permanent impairment

With limited exception, weekly benefits cease after 2.5 years. They are payable largely at the discretion of the insurer who can vary or terminate weekly benefits through an administrative decision.  Medical treatment generally ceases within a further 2 years.  Lump sum compensation for permanent impairment is only payable in circumstances where the degree of impairment is assessed to be at least 11%.  Workers who can demonstrate they have at least 15% whole person impairment and have been injured as a consequence of the negligence of their employer may be entitled to sue their employer, but only for past and future loss of income over and above any workers compensation payments made.

Coal miners

Comparatively, the rights afforded to coal miners are superior. Coal miners are mostly saved from the amendments that took place in 2002 and 2012.  The workers compensation entitlements that they are able to access are more beneficial and fall to be determined, in part, by the Workers Compensation Act 1926.

Coal miners can remain in receipt of weekly benefits until retirement age and receive medical treatment for life. There is no minimal threshold prescribed in order for a worker to receive a lump sum for permanent impairment (with the exception of industrial deafness).

Coal miners who sustain a serious injury as a consequence of the negligence of their employer can sue not only for their income loss, but also for damages for pain and suffering, care and assistance provided by family members and an amount for the provision of future medical treatment

A coal miner must make an election between a claim for a lump sum for permanent impairment or alternatively, sue for damages.

Many people do not appreciate that a coal miner, for the purposes of workers compensation law, includes many people other than employees of the mine. Anybody, whether employed by the mine operator, a contractor or other third party, who is injured within the boundary of a coal mining lease, may be considered to be a coal miner for the purposes of the legislation. That includes, for example, contractors such as boilermakers who are attending to the repair and maintenance of plant and equipment during a shutdown of the mine.

Furthermore, it is not necessary that the mine in question be active and can, for example, be under a care and maintenance arrangement or in the process of being remediated. In some cases, mining operations may have ceased many years prior to the accident.

If you believe you may have been injured in or around a mine site, you should contact Turner Freeman Lawyers. We are a specialist personal injury and compensation law firm and many of our lawyers are accredited specialists in personal injury law. Call us today on 13 43 63 or visit us at any of our New South Wales offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Newcastle, Penrith, Wollongong and Gloucester.

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