Injured People

NT Workers Compensation – Understanding Whole Person Impairment Assessments

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In the Northern Territory, injured workers are entitled to undergo Whole Person Impairment (WPI) Assessments to determine eligibility for lump sum compensation following workplace injuries. The severity of the injury directly correlates with the permanent impairment rating and compensation awarded.

To qualify for compensation, a worker must have a minimum 5% whole person impairment due to accepted physical and/or psychological injuries. If multiple injuries are interconnected, their impairment percentages can be combined.

Once a worker reaches ‘maximum medical improvement’, which means that their condition has stabilized—they can request a WPI assessment. This process can be initiated simply by requesting the insurer to arrange it or by electing a personal doctor for the assessment, conducted according to NT Worksafe Guidelines.

Upon receiving the Whole Person Impairment Assessment report, workers have the option to seek reassessment within 28 days if they disagree with the percentage assigned. It’s crucial to seek legal advice during this period to navigate the process effectively.

Workers and insurers alike can challenge assessment reports they deem unsatisfactory within the 28-day window—typically, insurers challenge higher assessments, while workers contest lower ones. If no reassessment application is made within the timeframe, the original assessment stands.

In cases of reassessment, NT Worksafe coordinates a panel of three doctors who conduct separate assessments, culminating in a binding final assessment. This outcome can result in either increased compensation for higher impairment or reduced compensation for lower impairment, as determined by the panel.

It’s important to note that decisions made by the assessment panel are final, without any further right of appeal. Given the complexity of permanent impairment claims, seeking legal advice is highly recommended to navigate the intricacies of the system.

Get in touch!

For those navigating work injuries and the complexities of compensation claims, seeking legal advice is essential.

Tindall Gask Bentley has been practising workers compensation law for over 50 years, and we advise Northern Territorians from our office in Darwin. To explore your options and receive expert guidance, please register online here and we’ll contact you, or contact our NT Workers Compensation team on (08) 7929 1000. Alternatively, you can contact Lauren Hooper direct on