What is Injury Management?
As defined under s 42 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998, injury management refers to “the process that comprises activities and procedures that are undertaken or established for the purpose of achieving a timely, safe and durable return to work for workers following workplace injuries”.
This process entails the involvement of three parties; the employer, the injured worker and the nominated treating doctor. These parties are of major focus in this process, as they navigate the management of injury or settlement of a claim.
What is Workers compensation?
It is financial assistance granted to employees who become injured or ill as a direct result from work. This monetary compensation can be recognised in the forms of;
- Weekly payments to cover loss of earnings
- Lump sum payments, in case of permanent impairment
- Assistance with medical expenses
- Workplace rehabilitation assistance to return to work
“Am I entitled to workers compensation and injury management?”
Australian law provides that compensation and injury management be provided to any worker who encounters any personal injury or disease or an aggravation of an injury or disease that occurs:
- During the life employment
- Via an incident at work
- Injuries that occur gradually
- Travelling to and from work
“What can I obtain compensation for?”
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical and mental injuries
- Medical, hospital and rehabilitation costs
- Dependent spouse and/or dependent children
Entitlements to injury management
The injured worker can:
- choose a nominated treating doctor
- choose a workplace rehabilitation provider
- be involved in the development of a return to work plan choose treatment providers
Additionally, an employer cannot dismiss an employee (due to injury/illness) during the first six months after they have become unfit for employment. If an employee is dismissed after six months but regains fitness for employment within two years, they are able to apply to be reinstated.
All employers must have a workers compensation insurance policy. All States and Territories have enacted legislation that are very similar, with minor differences such as:
- Who is regarded as a worker
- What circumstances are compensation legitimate
- The amount of compensation
- Classifications of injuries and diseases
Employers should contact their Insurer and/or the Workers Compensation Authorities in every jurisdiction where they engage individuals in working to ensure that the insurance arrangements in place are appropriate.
Provisions from different states vary and are highly complex, below is an example of provisions extracted from NSW legislation:
Agencies responsible for overseeing workers’ compensation in each jurisdiction as at 30 September 2010
Policy: Workcover NSW
Premium: Workcover NSW
Claims: 7 private sector agents, 60 self-insurers and 7 specialised insurers
Governing legislation: Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 and Workers Compensation Act 1987.
Disputes: Workers Compensation Commission.
Coverage of Journey claims
Journey to and from work
- Yes (some restriction)
Journey undertaken for work purposes
Income replacement payments: a set amount for workers who cannot earn an income because of a work-related injury.
100% wage replacement (no. of weeks)
- > 26 weeks: the lesser of 90% Average weekly earnings (AWE) or $321.10
Medical treatment benefits
Maximum amount for medical treatment
- No limit. Medical expenditure above $50,000 requires regulatory approval.
Permanent impairment thresholds and entitlements as at 30 September 2010
Percentage of impairment
- Physical injury 1%, Binaural hearing loss 6%, Primary psychological injury 15%
- $220,00 (plus additional 5% for permanent impairment of the spine)
- Maximum amount of $50,000 for pain and suffering
For more information on workers compensation claims within each State and Territory, click here
Still unsure if you’re eligible for compensation? Ask one of our lawyers here.