When you suffered a work-related injury that has caused a permanent impairment, WorkCover QLD will offer you a lump sum payment to close your claim. You can choose to either reject or accept the offer. But once you accept the offer, the decision is final. So, it is vital for you to seek advice from a compensation lawyer before you decide. Don’t make the mistake of loosing out on a bigger compensation amount.
We have written this article to explain concepts such as degree of permanent impairment, what choice you have when it comes to the lump sum payment, and the difference between a lump sum payment and a common law claim.
1. Degree of permanent Impairment – why does it matter?
As stated in the introduction, WorkCover QLD will only offer you a lump sum payment, if you have suffered a permanent impairment. To be simply put, it is an injury that will not improve any further with treatment and rehabilitation, hence the term permanent. This kind of injury has caused:
- Loss of effective use of a body part
- Complete loss of a body part
- Psychological incapacity
To determine your permanent impairment, WorkCover QLD will arrange independent medical examiners to review your condition. This will only happen after you have received treatment for your injury.
If the independent medical examiners believe your injury has become stable and stationary, in other words, you have reached maximum medical improvement, they will give you a degree of permanent impairment (DPI).
WorkCover QLD will offer you a lump sum payment only if your DPI is higher than 0%.
This is a critical stage for you to seek advice from a compensation lawyer.
Some law firms will charge you a fee and take a part of your lump sum payments. Unlike them, at Ascent Lawyers, we prioritise your needs. With regards to the lump sum payment, we promise not to take a single cent from you if you come to us for advice. We will analyse your circumstances and give you the advice you need. After receiving our advice, you are more than welcome to accept the lump sum payment, or to pursue a common law claim.
2. How is the WorkCover QLD lump sum payment calculated?
Generally speaking, the WorkCover lump sum offer is around $3,300 for each 1% of permanent impairment assessed.
As an example:
- 5% DPI = approximately $ 16,500
- 8% DPI = approximately $ 26,400
- 10% DPI = approximately $ 33,000
3. What choices do I have?
If your DPI is lower than 20%, you must make an irrevocable choice: accept your WorkCover lump sum payment and finalise your claim, or make a common law claim.
If your DPI is higher than 20%, you can accept the lump sum offer and make a common law claim. The common law claim is where you can get a much larger compensation amount.
WorkCover Qld will send you the lump sum offer in a document called a Notice of Assessment. Once you receive this document, you have 20 business days to decide. If you do not respond, the offer is seen as automatically deferred.
You might find it interesting that unpaid interns are also covered under WorkCover.
4. What is a common law claim?
Not everyone can make a common law claim! A common law claim is only possible if we can establish that your employer was negligent, due to their negligence, you suffered a workplace injury.
A common law claim will give you a larger compensation amount compared to that of the lump sum payment. This is because, the compensation amount will be based on the following factors:
- Pain and suffering – compensation for your injury, largely dependent on your DPI
- Past loss of income – the income you lost because of your injuries and the subsequent recovery
- Future loss of income – the income you are likely to not earn from the date your common law claim resolves to the year you retire
- Future out of pocket expenses – covers future medical, hospital, rehabilitation, medication and travel expenses
5. WorkCover QLD Lump sum payment vs Common law claim: a case study
For you to truly understand why it is important to seek legal advice before deciding, we have summarized a case study for you.
In October 2014, a man named Frank Mills suffered a workplace injury, while he was working for BHP. Frank suffered injuries to his neck and right shoulder.
After making a claim with WorkCover Qld, he received a DPI rating of 12%. Subsequently, Frank received an offer for a lump sum payment in the amount of $36,886.20.
Since Frank’s DPI was 12%, lower than 20%, he could only choice between accepting the lump sum offer or starting a common law claim. Frank decided not to accept the lump sum offer. He engaged a solicitor to help me with his common law claim. In the end, Frank’s total compensation amount was $1,013,131.89
The lump sum payment was $36,886.20. The common law claim was $1,013,131.89. The difference was $976,245.69. This means that if Frank had decided to take the lump sum payment, he would have missed out on nearly a million dollars.
The key takeaway here is to not accept the lump sum payment before seeking legal advice. You must acquire legal advice before deciding. You must not make the mistake of missing out on a much larger compensation amount.
Here at Ascent Lawyers, we offer a No Win No Fee cost agreement for all workplace injury claims. We are proud to be your worry-free legal solution. Give us a call today!
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Special notice: This article is for informational purposes only and cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please contact us for specific advice tailored to your situation.