The High Court of Australia delivered judgment on 16 May (2014) in the high profile case ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd v Goudappel & Anor in favour of ADCO Constructions.
The decision is unfavourable for NSW injured workers and basically assists insurers and employers by reducing liability for permanent impairment claims under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (‘WCA 1987’).
High Court unfortunately upholds Goudappel appeal
You may recall that the primary question to be determined by the High Court was:
Do the permanent impairment amendments under the Worker s Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (NSW) apply to claims made before 19 June 2012, where there was no specific claim for compensation under section 66 or section 67 of the WCA 1987?
The High Court has – unfortunately- held that the amendments do apply to such claims.
The effect of the High Court’s decision is that if an injured worker did not specifically claim compensation for permanent impairment before 19 June 2012, then the injured worker:
- has no entitlement to permanent impairment compensation unless they exceed 10% whole person impairment (section 66(1) of the WCA 1987);
- is not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering (former section 67 of the WCA 1987);
- is limited to one claim for permanent impairment compensation for an injury (section 66(1A) of the WCA 1987); and
- is limited to one medical assessment certificate as to the degree of permanent impairment in respect of an injury (section 322A of the WIM Act 1998).
You can read the full text of the legal case here: ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd v Goudappel  HCA 18 (16 May 2014)
A shorter version is available here: http://www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/judgment-summaries/2014/hca-18-2014-05-16.pdf