If you have been receiving WorkCover benefits as a result of an injury you suffered during the course of your employment, you may be entitled to receive a lump sum offer from WorkCover.
At the time your WorkCover claim ceases, you are entitled to request an assessment in order to determine whether you have suffered a degree of permanent impairment. This assessment should only be requested when your injuries are deemed to be stable and stationary. This means there is no further medical or rehabilitative treatment available that is likely to result in any further improvement of your injuries.
As part of the assessment process, WorkCover will usually arrange for you to undergo an independent medical examination with a specialist doctor who will assess your injuries and determine the degree of permanent impairment.
After you have been assessed, WorkCover will then issue a document referred to as a Notice of Assessment.
The Notice of Assessment outlines whether or not you have sustained a degree of permanent impairment and, if so, specifies what that percentage impairment is.
If it is deemed that you have suffered a degree of permanent impairment, the Notice of Assessment will also include a lump sum offer.
YOU HAVE RECEIVED A LUMP SUM OFFER FROM WORKCOVER – WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The lump sum offer is usually a nominal amount and has no regard to the impact that your injury and impairment will have on your future employment or what ongoing medical treatment or rehabilitation you may require.
When you receive the Notice of Assessment you must make a decision on whether or not to accept the lump sum offer, reject the lump sum offer or simply defer the offer and make a decision later on.
What you need to understand is that if your percentage impairment is less than 20%, you cannot accept the lump sum offer and still proceed with a common law claim for damages. If you do accept the lump sum offer then any right you had to bring a claim for damages will be lost.
It is only in circumstances where the percentage impairment assessment is 20% or higher where you can accept the lump sum offer and still pursue a common law claim for damages.
If you receive a Notice of Assessment or a lump sum offer from WorkCover, you should immediately contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your options before responding to WorkCover. It is extremely important that you make the right decision.
OUR LITIGATION TEAM LAWYERS, JUSTIN HOULIHAN, GEORGE COWAN AND DOMINIC JORGENSEN ARE AVAILABLE TO ASSIST YOU AND DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS.