As your receipt of compensation benefits from WorkCover nears the end because your injury may have reached a stage that it will not improve any further, WorkCover will have you assessed by a doctor of its choice. The doctor will advise WorkCover of your degree of permanent impairment. WorkCover will then provide you with a “Notice of Assessment” detailing that impairment as a percentage and offering you an amount of lump sum compensation. Very often, that offer does not adequately compensate an injured worker for everything that he has lost in his life as a result of the injury and what he is likely to lose in the future.
It is possible that a worker may be unable to return his usual employment because of the injury but WorkCover has issued a Notice giving a 1% degree of permanent impairment! What can you do at first instance?
Within 20 business days after the Notice was issued, you can request WorkCover to have your injury reassessed by an alternative doctor. The list of alternative doctors is limited under the legislation and can be found on the Department of Justice and Attorney-General website. We invite you to contact us in order to discuss the selection of that doctor. WorkCover will consider whether to agree to have you examined by that practitioner. If WorkCover does agree, the original Notice of Assessment is taken to have never been given. Alternatively, you may request WorkCover to refer you to the Medical Assessment Tribunal for the evaluation of your injury impairment.
An injured worker should seriously consider requesting a review if the original Notice of Assessment gave a permanent impairment of less than 6%. If the worker does not get to that 6% threshold, he is not entitled to sue for damages. The statutory compensation claim will be closed by WorkCover and there will be no more payments.
If you have been given a Notice of Assessment, please do not hesitate to call us at MMLaw in order to discuss your options. Please keep in mind that a time limit applies if you wish to be medically reassessed.