Medical Assessment Tribunals – a guide for employers and RRTWCs
What is the Medical Assessment Tribunal and how does it work?
- The Medical Assessment Tribunal (tribunal) makes independent, expert medical decisions about a worker’s injury or impairment.
- Workers can only be referred to the tribunal by their insurer.
- Workers’ Compensation Regulatory Services administers the tribunals.
- A tribunal hearing consists of a panel of three or five doctors who specialise in the type of injury experienced by the worker.
- An employer is unable to attend a worker’s tribunal hearing.
Why this is important
Sharing this information about what the tribunal is and how it works with injured workers is one way of supporting them and may alleviate any uncertainty or unease they’re feeling about attending a tribunal hearing.
Key things you need to know to support workers attending the tribunal:
- Workers can attend in person or virtually depending on their injury.
- The tribunal is independent of the insurer and employer which is why you won’t be there on the day.
- Workers can bring a support person with them who can be present throughout the hearing. The support worker cannot speak on the worker’s behalf or attend the physical examination.
- The tribunal gives a medical decision after reviewing claim file information, interviewing the worker, and conducting an examination for physical injuries.
- Following the tribunal, the worker and insurer are provided with the tribunal’s decision, usually via email within 14 days unless the tribunal is waiting on further information such as medical imaging or medical records.
- The tribunal decision is final. If a worker disagrees with the tribunal decision, they can provide new medical evidence within 12 months, or seek a judicial review of the process at their own cost.
- Once the insurer receives the decision, they’ll contact the worker to discuss what happens next.
- As the tribunal decision is a medical document, a worker should arrange an appointment with their treating provider to discuss the decision and any recommendations made by the tribunal.
Visit our website for more information on injured workers, and detailed information about assessments for permanent impairment and lump sum payments.
If this is the last step in a worker’s claim, you can also provide information to the worker about what happens when their claim is finalised. The aim is to get workers back to their pre-injury employment, however if this not possible there are employment alternatives available.
You can also let workers know about independent support services they can contact if they are unsure about their future employment or have concerns about their ongoing mental health.