The NSW government announced in May that workers who have been injured on the job will now have access to experienced lawyers. This is a huge step forward for the entire workers' compensation system, which has recently been strained.
The hardships faced by injured workers have largely been due to the changes the government implemented in 2012 to the workers' compensation system, which ended up reducing the amount paid for workers' compensation benefits by 25 per cent within five years, according to Mondaq.
According to the same Mondaq report on this issue, this announcement came after many injured workers complained about dealing with a complicated system and not having the resources to go up against insurance companies themselves. The 2012 changes have most affected those workers in regional areas, Mondaq also reported.
Access to lawyers will increase workers' ability to fight for compensation and file successful claims.
What will change for workers?
The changes will ensure that injured workers will now have access to experienced lawyers to assist them with filing their compensation claims and challenging insurers about their benefits. This will likely speed up the entire claims process, since these lawyers are familiar with the systems and requirements. Access to legal assistance that is completely free will also be available for workers who have been injured. This will help workers to challenge both insurers and the Workers Compensation Commission, which makes important decisions in these cases.
What processes will change?
Some of the processes related to workers' compensation will also be changing. In order to speed up the dispute resolution process. According to the Mondaq report, if injured workers file complaints that are not quickly resolved with their insurers, the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) will now step in if complaints are not taken care of after the first instance.
Complaints from employers will now be referred to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA). And, instead of having the WIRO and the SIRA handle dispute resolution after the insurer's internal review is done, the Workers Compensation Commission will now handle such disputes.
If you believe you qualify for work injury damages or would like to file a workers compensation claim, contact our experienced team of lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to find out more information about your options.