Tim White says injured workers must finalise their section 43 lump sum payment claims before a fast approaching WorkCover deadline.
Personal injury lawyer Tim White says injured workers must finalise their section 43 lump sum payment claims before a fast approaching WorkCover deadline.
Update: The Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) was enacted on July 1 2015, for more information about the implications of the new laws click here.
If you have had a work injury the new legislation that is commencing on 1 July 2015, the Return to Work Act will impact on your entitlements to a lump sum payment for permanent disability. Under the current law (pre 1 July 2015), Section 43 of the Workers Rehabilitation & Compensation Act, if you have a permanent impairment arising from a work injury that is assessed at 5% or more, you are entitled to a lump sum payment of compensation. The extent of the lump sum payment is determined by the degree of your permanent impairment, which is assessed as a percentage whole person impairment (ie the higher the percentage assessment, the greater the amount of lump sum compensation payable).
If you have sustained multiple injuries at work prior to 30 June 2015, with the same date of injury, and you have received a lump sum Section 43 payment for one or a few of those injuries, but not others, you must act now to pursue any remaining lump sum payment. By way of example, if you sustained injuries to your neck, shoulder and lower back from the one accident, you may have only had a Section 43 payment to date in relation to one of those injuries; let’s say it’s your lower back. Unless you have your neck and shoulder injuries assessed under Section 43 and paid prior to 30 June 2015, you will have no entitlement to further compensation under Section 43 for those two injuries. Unless you act now and have these other injuries assessed you will miss out completely on potentially considerable compensation.
Further, having any permanent impairment re-assessed may assist you with continuing to receive weekly payments beyond the two years from the 30 June 2015. You need to have a whole person impairment (WPI) formally determined or assessed of at least 30%, to be able to receive weekly payments of compensation and medical expenses beyond the limited time frames set out under the Return to Work Act. If you are not assessed with a WPI of 30% or more your weekly payments will be paid for, at the most, two years from 30 June 2015. Then they will cease. The payment of medical expenses will also be limited to a shorter period.
Each worker’s situation differs and there are individual considerations that must be taken into account. A lot of these issues are complex and involve getting informed advice about your entitlements. But do not leave it until it is too late, as you may be missing out on compensation that you are entitled to.
Working through a Section 43 claim is complex and seeking legal advice is highly recommended. The out of pockets costs to you are minimal, if any, and an experienced lawyer can ensure that you receive your full entitlements.
If you want to discuss your individual circumstances and how these legislative changes will impact on you, please contact your nearest TGB office.