Many people injured at work who have been receiving ongoing
medical payments through WorkCover have recently been shocked to
receive notices saying it will end on 31 December.
The changes are part of harsh changes to the WorkCover
legislation brought in by the NSW government that are starting to
Only those who have catastrophic or extremely severe injuries
will continue to get their ongoing medical bills paid under
Workcover. This could include people who have lost a limb or have
severe spinal injuries.
Entitlements are based on impairment percentages which
themselves are somewhat confusing. Those under the 30 per
cent threshold will have to undergo work capacity
assessments. These are determined by the insurer. The
right of appeal to the Compensation Commission is now gone and the
workers legal costs in respect to work capacity matters are no
The government last week announced a $309 million surplus for
the WorkCover scheme, hailing it a great result for employers and
"This is at the expense of the injured workers who are
being hit hard by these cruel changes to WorkCover," said
Kieran Fraser, president of the Injured Persons Association.
"The insurance companies now call the shots as they decide
whether a worker is injured enough to receive payments. If they cut
payments to injured workers then of course their profits will go
A review of WorkCover is proposed for 2014, and Mr Fraser urged
injured workers and their families to join the IPA in pressing the
government to modify the changes.
Mr Fraser said injured workers were now fearful of losing their
finances as well as having their lives ruined by their work
"A doctor told a woman who needs an operation to reduce
pain that she might have to do without the procedure as insurance
will no longer pay for her ongoing care," Mr Fraser said.
"People who have prosthetic limbs won't be able to
replace them when necessary. All entitlements to medical expenses
are being cut off after 12 months from the date weekly payments
This comes on top of abolishing lump sum compensation for
impairment unless the victim's impairment is greater than 10
per cent. This includes industrial deafness, most back injuries and
even shoulder reconstructions. Compensation for pain and suffering
has been abolished.
However other legal avenues may exist for an injured worker to
pursue compensation or damages for their injuries. It would be wise
for people injured at work to seek advice from a specialist lawyer
experienced in the field.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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