Following the changes to NSW workers compensation legislation that came into effect during 2012, injured workers may be eligible to claim a further lump sum compensation for their injuries.
Workers who have previously made injury claims for lump sum compensation prior to 19 June 2012, are entitled to make one further claim for if their injuries are determined to have deteriorated since their previous settlement. This is known as a deterioration lump sum, or top up claim.
For example, we recently settled a claim for a worker who had previously received compensation for a back injury sustained in 1994. The worker was employed as a concreter and due to the nature and conditions of his employment whilst bending over and carrying heavy materials all day developed a back injury and injury to his right leg.
He was awarded compensation around 1999 in the amount of approximately $30,000 for lump sum benefits and pain and suffering entitlements. This was through a settlement agreement with the insurer based on an impairment assessment from an independent medical examiner (IME).
During the year 2005, the client had to stop working in his trade of over 20 years as his injury would not allow him to continue. He continued to get conservative treatment over the years however the injury became increasingly worse, when finally in 2012 he was told by his specialist that he would need a back operation due to these persisting symptoms.
Following the operation, he continued to get physiotherapy and pain injections as he still had pain in his back. He was struggling financially to make ends meet and felt that enough is enough. He decided to come see us at Gerard Malouf and Partners to see what could be done.
We advised him that he is eligible to make a further lump sum compensation claim pending an assessment to determine his impairment. We arranged for this impairment assessment funded through the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) at no cost to the injured worker. The doctor provided us with a report which indicated a significant deterioration in the client’s injuries relating to his back and right leg which then allowed us to put a claim to the insurer for determination.
We were able to successfully claim a further lump sum from the insurer which was eventually settled for $25,000 in compensation that the worker received total. He was extremely satisfied with the service provided to him from our firm and additionally at no cost to him as our legal fees are funded by WIRO.
With all injuries there is a likelihood that they will deteriorate over time, however given the fact that this man actually had to have back surgery as a result of his work injury made his claim for further compensation even stronger.
To summarise, if you have previously made a workers compensation lump sum claim prior to 19 June 2012, it is likely that you may be eligible to make one further compensation claim. If you are wondering if this is you, please contact our office and ask to speak with one of our workers compensation specialists to arrange a telephone conference.
You won’t know until you ask!