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What is the difference between a workers compensation claim and work injury damages claim?

What is the difference between a workers compensation claim and work injury damages claim?

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation is often referred to as the “no-fault” scheme.

A worker is entitled to bring a claim for statutory workers compensation when they have sustained an injury, whether physical or psychological, in their employment. Suppose a worker develops a “disease injury”. In that case, their employment must be the main contributing factor to contracting the disease or the main contributing factor to the aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of the condition.

A worker can make a claim without proving that the employer was negligent in causing the injuries sustained by the worker.

Under this scheme, workers are entitled to weekly wage loss payments (at the appropriate rate of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings) as well as reasonable and necessary medical expenses. In limited circumstances, a claim may also be made for domestic assistance.

A worker can make a tax-free lump sum claim for the permanent injuries sustained at least 12 months after the injury. Workers are not entitled to investigate this claim unless they are likely to achieve a threshold of greater than 10% whole person impairment (for physical injuries) or at least 15% whole person impairment (for psychological injuries).

Work Injury Damages

A work injury damages claim, also referred to as a negligence claim, is a modified common law claim made against the injured worker’s employer. To successfully bring this claim, a worker must prove that their employer was negligent and that the worker suffered injury and loss due to such negligence.

This claim can only be made when a worker has been assessed as having at least 15% whole person impairment.

If successful in proving negligence, damages are awarded for past earnings and future loss of earnings due to the deprivation or impairment in earning capacity. Damages may also be awarded for past and future loss of superannuation benefits commensurate with the damages awarded for past and future economic loss. Other damages that can be awarded include Fox v Wood (tax paid by the workers compensation insurer regarding ongoing weekly wage loss compensation) and party/party legal costs and disbursements.

It is important to note that medical expenses cannot be awarded.

Upon receiving any settlement or award of damages for work injury damages, all entitlements under the no-fault statutory workers compensation will cease.

To find out more about claims and compensation, contact Sydney Compensation Lawyers today.