Workers Compensation Payout Guide NSW.
If you’ve been injured at work in NSW, you’re entitled to workers compensation to cover your lost wages and treatment expenses. Depending on the extent of your injuries and whether negligence was involved, you might also be entitled to lump sum payouts for permanent impairment and damages. This workers compensation payout guide explains everything you need to know about workers compensation/ WorkCover payouts and settlements in NSW.
What is a workers compensation payout?
If you’re injured at work in NSW and you make a claim for workers compensation, the following table outlines the weekly payments, medical expenses and lump sum payouts you may be eligible to claim:
|Workers Compensation Payments NSW||Description|
|Weekly payments||These are payments to compensate you for lost income while you’re off work.|
|Medical expenses||Payment of your medical, hospital, ambulance, rehabilitation (including home help) and travel expenses.|
|Permanent Impairment payout||A lump sum compensation payout to cover a permanent impairment as a result of a work-related injury or illness.|
|Work Injury Damages payout||Also known as a common law claim, this is a lump sum payout for damages if your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence.|
Workers Compensation Payments in NSW
Is WorkCover the same as workers compensation?
WorkCover is the old name for the NSW workers compensation scheme, but it’s a term that’s still frequently used. So essentially WorkCover and workers compensation refer to the same scheme.
How much do I get paid on workers compensation (WorkCover)?
The following table summarises the weekly workers compensation payments in NSW you may be eligible to claim for injuries that have occurred after 21 October, 2019:
|Weeks 0-13||Up to 95% of pre-accident earnings|
|Weeks 14-130 (no work capacity)||Up to 80% of pre-accident earnings|
|Weeks 14-130 (some work capacity*)||Up to 80% of pre-accident earnings (payments increase to 95% if working 15 hours per week and earning at least $200 per week)|
|Weeks 131-260 (no work capacity)||Up to 80% if no work capacity is likely to continue indefinitely|
|Weeks 131-260 (some work capacity*)||Weekly benefits stop for most, some exceptions apply|
|After 5 years||Weekly payments only available to people with WPI** >20%|
*Able to return to suitable employment but not pre-injury employment
**WPI is whole person impairment – a scale used to measure the extent of your injuries
The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed in April and October each year.
The maximum amount from 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022 is $2,318.10.
How long can you claim workers compensation (WorkCover)?
Generally, your weekly workers compensation payments in NSW will continue until:
- You’re able to return to work
- You reach a work injury damages settlement
- You’ve been receiving payments for five years (unless your permanent impairment is greater than 20% and you have been assessed as being unable to work indefinitely)
- You reach the maximum total weekly compensation limit
- You reach retirement age plus one year
Can you get workers compensation for life in NSW?
If you’re assessed as having a degree of permanent impairment of 20% or less, your weekly workers compensation payments in NSW will be limited to five years.
Workers with greater than 20% permanent impairment may be entitled to weekly payments beyond this five-year cap, and are entitled to medical treatment, service or assistance for life.
What is the maximum payout for workers compensation in NSW?
In terms of weekly payments, for most people the maximum is $2318.10 x 5 years – or a total of $602,706. However, if your permanent impairment is greater than 20% this limit doesn’t apply.
In addition to these weekly payments you may be entitled to payment of your medical, hospital, ambulance, rehabilitation, and travel expenses.
If you make a successful lump sum claim for damages, your lump sum will be paid on top of these amounts. You may also be entitled to a lump sum for permanent impairment. The permanent impairment payout must be made prior to any damages settlement. Workers compensation lump sum settlements in NSW are determined by way of negotiation with the insurer, so it’s strongly advised that you engage a specialist workers compensation lawyer to act on your behalf.
Workers Compensation Lump Sum Settlements in NSW
When does workers compensation give you a lump sum?
There are two ways you can get a workers compensation lump sum settlement:
|Permanent impairment payout||A lump sum compensation payout to cover a permanent impairment as a result of a work-related injury or illness.|
|Work injury damages payout||Also known as a common law claim, this is a lump sum payout for damages if your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence.|
Do all workers compensation cases end in a settlement?
No. Workers compensation payments in NSW are primarily intended to cover lost wages and medical expenses to help people transition back to work. However, your case may end in a settlement in the following circumstances:
- You negotiate with the workers compensation insurer to settle your claim with a lump sum payout. A settlement defines when weekly payments and medical expenses stop.
- You make a successful work injury damages claim and you’re awarded a lump sum payout. A work injury damages payout is a full and final settlement of all your rights and entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act.
How much will I get for my workers compensation settlement?
Workers compensation lump sum settlements can be substantial. In the 12 months to February 2021 a total Workers compensation lump sum settlements can be substantial. In the 2020-21 financial year a total of over $629 million was paid to injured workers in NSW in common law payments and permanent impairment lump sums*. Lump sum payouts for permanent impairment range from $22,480 up to a maximum of $631,370.
If you’re negotiating a workers compensation payout with an insurer, it’s important that you get independent legal advice on your options and consider having a specialist workers compensation lawyer negotiate the settlement on your behalf – it’s very likely you’ll get a much better result with a lawyer on your side.
*According to SIRA Open Data, April 2022.
Can you work after a workers compensation settlement?
Yes, you can go back to work when you’re able to do so. Even if you’ve received a permanent impairment payout, if you recover from your injuries and are able to return to work, your workers compensation settlement doesn’t prevent you from working and shouldn’t impact how you’re treated at work.
Can you get a workers compensation (WorkCover) pain and suffering payout?
No, in NSW you can’t claim workers compensation (WorkCover) pain and suffering payouts, however you can claim for permanent impairment, which is essentially a lump sum payment to compensate you for the overall effect your work injury has had on your life. This lump sum payout is in addition to any weekly payments, medical and related expenses that you may have received.
You must have 11% or more permanent impairment for a physical injury or 15% or more for a primary psychological injury to be entitled to receive a permanent impairment payout.
It’s highly recommended that you seek specialist legal advice before lodging a permanent impairment claim. You can get free legal advice by calling 13 15 15 or you can request a callback.
What is a common law/ work injury damages claim?
A work injury damages claim is for a lump sum workers compensation payout you can claim if your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence.
In NSW, most work injury damages payouts are based on past and future loss of earning capacity. Once you’ve claimed work injury damages, you have no further entitlement to workers compensation benefits (including weekly payments, and medical, hospital and rehabilitation expenses) associated with that injury. Also, the weekly payments that have already been paid to you may have to be repaid out of the settlement amount.
Can I claim a work injury damages lump sum?
You can claim work injury damages if:
- Your work injury was the result of employer negligence
- You have at least 15% permanent impairment and this assessment has been accepted by the insurer or determined by the Workers Compensation Commission
- You have received all statutory lump sum payouts for permanent impairment that you’re entitled to – this must take place before a work injury damages claim can be settled
How do I claim work injury damages?
To claim for work injury damages in NSW, you’ll need the following information:
- Details of your injury and impairments
- When the injury happened
- Details of any previous injury or condition that may have caused the impairments
- Details of any compensation you’ve received for the previous injuries or conditions
- Details of previous employment that may have caused the injury
- Details of how your employer breached their duty of care towards you
- The amount you’re claiming as damages and supporting documentation
A report from a permanent impairment assessor must be included in your claim.
It’s important that you seek specialist legal advice before beginning a work injury damages claim. You can get free legal advice by calling 13 15 15 or you can request a callback.
Will I have to go to court to get work injury damages?
If you don’t agree with an insurer’s offer of settlement, you may consider starting mediation or court proceedings. Court proceedings for work injury damages must begin within three years of the injury date unless you have the court’s approval.
Our workers compensation specialists have been 100% successful in getting court approval to proceed after three years post-injury. So if you’re concerned about being too late to claim work injury damages, call us on 13 15 15 and we’ll let you know what your options are.
Before you can start mediation or court proceedings for work injury damages, you must serve a pre-filing statement giving the details of the claim, and the evidence you’ll be using to support your claim on your employer or the insurer. In most cases, the claim must be referred for mediation in the Workers Compensation Commission before starting court proceedings.
The Workers Compensation Commission will attempt to mediate and reach a settlement through discussion with all parties.
For more information, refer to our Complete Guide to Workers Compensation in NSW.
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