Changes to NSW workers’ compensation laws go into place

Date: Jan 27, 2014

Groups across New South Wales believe new laws that will alter the way workers' compensation and total permanent disability claims operate could have serious consequences.

Experts say that injured workers are among the groups of people who will bear the brunt of the new laws' force. Experts argue the changes to workers' compensation schemes were an attempt to control $4 billion of the budget, rather than look after these employees.

As it stands now, as many as 20,000 injured workers from all over the state may not be able to continue the medical treatment they had been undergoing prior to the 2014 law.

John Dobson, president of the Law Society of NSW, stated this was due to problems that will arise with insurance payments.

"For example a worker with an amputation injury who has, up until now, been having their artificial limbs replaced by the insurer will now lose this entitlement," he told the Australian Associated Press.

Changes to workers' comp hitting home for many

Using the new measures to address budget concerns may have looked good on paper, but for many it's a problem with lasting implications. The Sydney Morning Herald recently spoke with 73-year-old Adrian, who lost his hearing during a workplace explosion when he was 37.

Now, the payments he was guaranteed to help pay for his medical costs, such as hearing aids, will stop coming in.

"It was an accident that was no fault of his, he's lost his hearing and now this is going to be taken away from him," his daughter Diana said.

"It is just so unfair. He's now under major stress and anxiety."

The new laws specify that most workers who claim medical expenses after workplace accidents will not be able to receive the funds for more than a year after their compensation is paid out in full. However, there are certain exemptions.

Police officers, paramedics, firefighters and coal miners are all exempt, as are "seriously injured workers". However, experts say that definition is typically reserved for the most damaging accidents.

This includes having a permanent "whole person impairment", which affects more than 30 per cent of the body. 

Those who have been injured on the job and are worried about new medical payments may want to contact compensation lawyers in New South Wales to learn what options are available.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.