More good news for NSW injured workers! In this recent (20 May 2013) legal NSW case, the Workers Compensation Commission’s verdict in the case of Di Matteo v RDM Ceramics Pty Limited essentially means that if an injured worker has made ANY type of claim before to 19/6/12 then he/she can still make a further claim for permanent impairment for that same injury.
Needless to say that Workcover insurers should brace themselves for an influx of claims for further impairment particularly as injured workers will try to reach the 15% whole person impairment threshold to be able to bring a claim for work injury damages.
NSW injured workers can still make a further claim for impairment for that same injury – new legal case
The Case and the Issues
The questions of law referred to the NSW Workers Compensation Commission for determination in this case were in essence the following:
- Do the amendments to Division 4 of Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 introduced by Schedule 2 of the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2012 disallow a worker who has made a claim for permanent impairment compensation prior to 19 June 2012 from making a further claim, in respect of the same injury for permanent impairment on or after 19 June 2012? And
- Do the amendments to Division 4 of Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 introduced by Schedule 2 of the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2012 apply to claims for permanent impairment where the injury occurred before 1 January 2002?
The Workers Compensation Commission’s Decision
President Keating of the Workers Compensation Commission handed down his much anticipated decision in this matter the day before yesterday (22May 2013) and his decision did not come as a surprise given the Court of Appeal’s recent, amazing decision in the landmark case of Goudappel, in which the Court has held that the amendments affecting lump sum compensation that came into effect on 19 June 2012 do not apply to any worker who had made a lump sum claim before 19 June 2012
President Keating’s answer in relation to question 1 was “no” following the Court of Appeal’s decision in the matter of Goudappel. He said that question 2 did not need to be answered given his decision on question 1.
What does this important decision really mean for injured workers in NSW?
Needless to say that NSW workcover insurers should brace themselves for an influx of claims for further impairment particularly as injured workers will undoubtedly try to reach the (increased) 15% whole person impairment threshold to be able to bring a claim for work injury damages.
Of course, you will see from this decision that Workcover strongly indicated it did not agree with the Court of Appeal’s decision in Goudappel and therefore it was not prepared to concede the legislative amendments and Transitional Regulations were invalid or beyond power. It remains to be seen if leave is sought to appeal the Goudappel decision to the High Court. However, we strongly doubt they will succeed at overturning these landmark decisions, given the widespread outrage of injured workers and their supporters at the draconian and most unfair reforms, and the widespread unpopularity of the new reforms in general. The negative repercussions those reforms have on injured workers, the community and the tax payers is -slowly but surely- coming to full light!
Anyhow we are thrilled bringing you the great news about this case – may countless NSW injured workers (and their lawyers) follow in the footsteps of Goudapel and Di Matteo, clog up the courts and WIN!
You can read the full text of the legal case here (PDF) – Di Matteo v RDM Ceramics Pty Limited  NSWWCCPD 27
Note: updates on the Goudappel case can be found under the “goudappel” search tag
[post dictated by workcovervictim and manually transcribed on behalf of workcovervictim]
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