When a person is injured at work, an important stage of the injury compensation process is to be assessed by a relevant medical specialist for permanent impairment.

What is permanent impairment?

A permanent impairment is impairment from an injury resulting in loss of efficient use of a part of the body, or loss of part of the body.

The assessment by the medical specialist is conducted according to legislated medical guidelines, and will consider:

  • whether the condition has reached maximum medical improvement;
  • whether the injury has resulted in an impairment;
  • whether that impairment is permanent;
  • whether that degree of permanent impairment results from the injury; and
  • whether any proportion of that permanent impairment is due to any pre-existing injury, condition or abnormality.

The assessing doctor will lodge a report of their assessment to Workers Compensation.  Based on this report, Workers Compensation will issue what is known as a ‘Notice of Assessment’.  For instance, a worker who has injured their back lifting heavy boxes at work may be assessed with a 4% permanent impairment.  This percentage is then used by Workers Compensation to calculate an offer of lump sum compensation to the worker.

Lump Sum Compensation

An injured worker should seek legal advice before accepting any lump sum compensation offer to discuss the range of options available to them.

For the vast majority of workers, accepting a lump sum eliminates their entitlement to a common law claim.  The lump sum offered may not be adequate compensation for the injured worker’s needs.

Important time limits will also apply to an offer.  There is also a threshold to be met if the injury occurred between a specific date range.

If you or someone you know has been injured at work, we strongly recommend speaking with a compensation lawyer prior to accepting any lump sum offer.  Our compensation team can assist you with every step of the process involved after being injured at work.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.

Bronwyn Green
Solicitor
Compensation Law