If you’ve experienced a work-related injury or disease that’s led to a permanent impairment you might be entitled to what’s called ‘lump sum compensation’.
What does this mean for me?
A lump sum is a single payment made at one particular time instead of a number of smaller payments over time.
Workers with a 'latent onset injury' or a pneumoconiosis injury
A latent onset injury is a condition caused by exposure to something (e.g. the sun or a chemical) but that takes a long time to make a person sick. If you have a latent onset injury or a disease that's considered to be a form of pneumoconiosis see the Lump sum payments for pneumoconiosis injuries and latent onset injuries page for specific information.
What is a ‘permanent impairment’?
A permanent impairment is when your injury stays the same over time and isn’t likely to improve with further rehabilitation or treatment and has led to:
- loss of effective use of a part of your body, or
- loss of part of your body, or
- a psychological or psychiatric incapacity.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
You can ask to be assessed for a permanent impairment. WorkCover (or a self-insurer) can also choose to have you assessed at an appropriate point during your claim.
The assessment will work out the percentage of impairment. This is then used to calculate any lump sum you might be offered.
The process of assessment is undertaken by a medical professional who then lets WorkCover know the outcome.
What if I don’t agree with my assessment?
You can ask to be assessed by another doctor or reviewed by a medical assessment tribunal. You’ll need to let WorkCover (or your employer if they’re self-insured) know this is what you want to do. You must tell us within 20 business days of receiving your assessment notice.
We’ll decide whether to have you reassessed within ten days of your request.
If you are reviewed by a medical assessment tribunal, their decision will be final.
If you are reassessed by another doctor and you still disagree with the second assessment, you can then ask for a final assessment by a medical tribunal. Their decision will be final.
How much will the lump sum be?
The range of impairment and associated payment amounts are set out in the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014.
Do I have to accept the lump sum offer?
If your impairment is less than 20% you have to choose between accepting the lump sum offer or rejecting it and seeking common law damages. Common law claims are when you sue your employer if you believe they’re at fault for your injury.
You can also choose to defer your offer. This means you can decide between the lump sum offer or pursuing common law damages at a later date. Deferment happens automatically if you haven’t responded within 20 business days.
If your impairment is 20% or more, you can accept the offer and seek common law damages.