Medical assessment tribunals make independent expert medical decisions about work-related injury or impairment. Workers can be referred to the tribunal to assess a work-related injury or impairment.
You may be referred to attend a tribunal hearing:
- if your insurer has conflicting medical opinions about whether your injury was caused by your employment
- to decide if you have an ongoing incapacity for work as a result of your work injury
- if you have a physical injury and disagree with the assessment of permanent impairment
- if you have a psychiatric injury and an assessment of permanent impairment is required. Only a tribunal can decide a degree of permanent impairment for a psychological injury.
The tribunal is independent of your insurer and is administered by Workers’ Compensation Regulatory Services (WCRS). The tribunal consists of a panel of three or five doctors who specialise in your type of injury. The tribunal doctors make a decision using the information provided by you and your insurer, as well as from the medical examination and interview at your tribunal hearing. A written tribunal decision will be provided after the hearing. It will include the information considered by the tribunal doctors and their reasons for making the decision.
WCRS organises your hearing and will:
- contact you to book a time for your tribunal hearing
- give you information about the hearing
- send you and any nominated representative a copy of the information provided by your insurer.
Your hearing will usually be held within six to eight weeks.
You have up to 10 business days before your hearing to provide additional medical reports or documents.
You can send them to MATadditional.firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 10119, Brisbane Adelaide St QLD 4000.
You must also forward a copy of these documents to your insurer. Your insurer may provide additional documents up to the day before your hearing. Any documents that have not been exchanged within the required timeframes, cannot be considered by the tribunal.
Tribunals are usually held in person at 347 Ann Street, Brisbane. There are public car parks and public transport close by. Speak to your insurer if you require travel or accommodation arrangements.
Depending on your injury, you may be able to attend your appointment by video conference.
If you have an eye, ear, nose or throat injury, you may also need to see a tribunal doctor and/or other medical provider for a medical examination before your tribunal hearing.
You can bring a support person with you. This can be a partner, friend or family member. Your support person won’t be able to speak on your behalf or attend your physical examination. You can also bring a legal or union representative. You’ll need to pay them directly, as these costs are not covered by us or your insurer. We will ask you to confirm who will be attending with you prior to your appointment.
If you have a physical injury, you should bring all relevant radiology imaging such as x-rays, CT scans or MRIs to your tribunal hearing.
If attending in person, you’ll be met at ground floor reception by a tribunal officer who will take you to the tribunal rooms, explain the process and answer any questions you have. You’ll be required to store your belongings in a locker.
Your appointment will take about one hour. During this time, the tribunal doctors will ask you questions about your injury. If you have sustained a physical injury, a physical examination may also be performed. A female tribunal officer will be present to assist all female workers during their physical examination.
If you attend by video conference hearing, we will provide you with the information you need to attend the hearing.
All hearings are audio recorded, subject to the consent of all participants. If you do not consent to your hearing being recorded, please let us know. You can request a copy of the recording to be provided to you free of charge.
Your employer or insurer is unable to attend a tribunal hearing and will not be there on the day. As your employer is not involved in the tribunal process, WCRS does not share or exchange any of your information with them.
You should receive a copy of your tribunal decision within approximately 10 days of your hearing. This will be sent to you by email or by post. The decision is also sent to your insurer and your nominated representative. A tribunal decision may be delayed if the tribunal requires more information or medical imaging.
Medical assessment tribunal decisions are final.
You can only dispute a tribunal’s decision by:
- asking your insurer to consider new medical evidence up until 12 months after your hearing
- making an application for judicial review to the Supreme Court.
If you’d like to submit new medical evidence, you should discuss this with your insurer, who will submit the information to WCRS.
A judicial review is a dispute against the process followed by the tribunal and doesn’t consider the medical matters of the decision. It requires you to establish that there was a breach of procedural fairness or an error of law in the decision making. It is recommended you seek independent legal advice on this option.