If you have been injured at work and your injury has been accepted as a worker’s compensation injury within the terms of the Return to Work Act (SA) 2014, you may have an entitlement to compensation in the form of a lump sum.
Section 58 of the Return to Work Act 2014 (“the Act”) provides for payment of a lump sum to injured workers if they have suffered a permanent physical impairment.
Unfortunately this payment is not available for psychological or psychiatric injuries.
There are certain criteria that you must meet before you will be eligible to receive a lump sum under section 58:
- Maximum medical improvement
- The first step is reaching “maximum medical improvement”. This means that your condition is stable, and is not likely to improve or get worse in the near future.
- Everyone’s injuries stabilise at a different rate and the Act does not set a time frame as to when your injuries have to be stabilised. If you require surgery to assist in your recovery, it is unlikely that you will reach maximum medical improvement for some months until after the procedure.
- Permanent impairment
- Once your injuries are stable, you must show that you have sustained a permanent impairment.
- Permanent impairment has a legal definition under the Act, which means a loss of function of the relevant body part which is permanent.
- The level of permanent impairment is a medical question, assessed by an accredited doctor.
- You must reach at least 5% impairment of the whole person
- After a medical assessment, if you are assessed as having at least 5% whole person impairment then you will be entitled to receive lump sum compensation.
- If your permanent impairment is assessed as less than 5% whole person impairment, you will not be entitled to receive lump sum compensation.
- The amount of compensation you will receive if you are assessed as having a 5% impairment or higher is determined by a scale, which is laid out in the Act. We can assist you to calculate what that may be.
Who determines what my whole person impairment is?
You have the right to choose the doctor (from a set list of accredited doctors) who conducts the medical assessment of the whole person impairment
It is important to remember an injured worker is only entitled to have one medical assessment for each work injury. This is an important right and one which should be exercised carefully and with the advice of a lawyer experienced in dealing with workplace injuries.
For example, consider a situation where you injure your right knee and later down the track your left knee develops problems because you have relied on it more due to the injury. If you have already had your right knee assessed for permanent impairment, you will not be entitled to have another assessment for the other knee.
Georgiadis Lawyers can help you to determine whether it is the best time for you to undergo a permanent impairment assessment and help you to select an appropriate doctor when you do. We are committed to ensuring that you receive your maximum entitlement.
Give us a call if you have any questions about your entitlement to a lump sum.