Workers’ Compensation changes are on foot, and these changes may have a significant impact on the rights of people you know, clients you act for, or connections that you have. I am very pleased to inform you that the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 has been introduced into Parliament.
Under the proposed amendments, workers who suffered injury between 15 October 2013 and 31 January 2015 will have access to further compensation. Those who suffered or do suffer an injury post 31 January 2015, will be able to access a common law claim, regardless of their DPI; the reinstatement of the position as it existed prior to 15 October 2013.
Whilst the details of the scheme are yet to be finalised, the Australian Lawyers Alliance anticipates that it will incorporate modest additional lump sum payments for those workers in this period who do not meet greater than 5% Degree of Permanent Impairment threshold, but are still able to demonstrate the negligence of their employer was the cause for injury.
Such additional payments are not available if the worker has already accepted their lump sum payment.
Additionally, the proposed amendments to repeal the greater than 5% DPI threshold will apply to injuries sustained after 31 January 2015. Workers who accept lump sum payments for injuries sustained after this date will be precluded from proceeding with a common law damaged claim, and will not have any entitlements under the Statutory Adjustment scheme.
We urge any individuals who have been injured at any time after 15 October 2013, and have not yet accepted a lump sum offer, to not accept any offers made by WorkCover.
Under the Bill, these individuals will have access to either additional compensation amounts, or if injured post 31 January 2015, will potentially be able to access a common law claim, which typically sees more significant and relevant amounts of compensation.
We await the success of this Bill and the positive impact it will have for injured QLD workers.
We will keep you informed of the workers’ compensation changes as they develop, and ensure that you have all the facts and how they affect people you know, clients you act for, or connections that you have.