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Permanent Impairment: Is your assessor correctly assessing psychological injuries?

In New South Wales, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (‘SIRA’) provides Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment in Workers Compensation claims. The purpose of the Guidelines is to ensure trained medical assessors consistently provide objective, fair and consistent assessments of permanent impairment.

‘Your word against mine’: Where an aggravation of pre-existing conditions appeal falls short

In the recent Federal Court case of McEwan v Comcare [2023] FCA 447, Abraham J dismissed the applicant’s appeal for psychological injury on the basis that the argument of aggravation of pre-existing condition did not arise in proceedings prior to appeal. The Court held that an applicant may only bring a different case to appeal if the injury period assessed by the Tribunal was too limited or the initial case had inferred a change of condition. The decision highlights the importance of presenting all facts before the Tribunal to reduce an applicant’s opportunity for appeal on an evolution of evidence.

Public Health Orders applying to management of COVID Risks are not Employment related factors in tests of causation

During the COVID pandemic employers were supported by the NSW Government , including through the mandates directing when and where face masks were to be worn.   A recent presidential member decision in the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) confirmed a certificate of determination where the member had concluded that the public order enforcing the mandatory wearing of face masks was the main contributing factor to the exacerbation of a pre-existing injury, and this was NOT a work-related factor.

Has the worker suffered consequential conditions? The PIC says no

In the recent case of Govindan v Capital Safety Group (Australia) Pty Limited [2022] NSWPIC 588, Member Cameron Burge of the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) held that a worker did not suffer a claimed consequential cervical spine condition and gastrointestinal condition, as a result of not having recorded sufficient history and medical evidence.

The Personal Injury Commission refuses an application for reconsideration

In the recent case of Gusavac v GPC Asia Pty Ltd [2022] NSWPIC 123, Member Michael Perry of the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) held that the reconsideration application (RA) to set aside the Certificate of Determination be declined and the application to refer the matter back to the Medical Assessor (MA) for reconsideration under section 329 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 be refused. 

Members of the Personal Injury Commission are not bound by the rules of evidence, but they may be guided by it.

Mrs Nasr, the claimant, was injured in a car park, when Mr Fawcett (QBE’s Insured driver) collided with the left-hand side of her vehicle. The claimant then lost control of her vehicle, driving through a fence before colliding with a tree. 

Conflicting medical evidence? Why a clear diagnosis of consequential worker injury is essential.

In the recent case of Grant v Dateline Imports Pty Ltd [2022] NSWPICPD 3, the President of the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) confirmed that a clear diagnosis supporting an alleged consequential condition would aid in discharging the worker’s onus of proving an entitlement to lump sum benefits pursuant to s 66 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the 1987 Act).

Commission muddies the water on whether working from home is a benefit for employees

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia in March 2020, there has been significant shifts towards working from home across multiple industries. The NSW Personal Injury Commission has now considered in what circumstances being refused the opportunity to work from home may amount to the withdrawal of an employment benefit or transfer, namely for the purpose of a section 11A defence to a psychological injury condition.
  • 6 Dec 2021


First death benefit claim for contracting COVID-19 while working

In Sara v G & S Sara Pty Ltd [2021] NSWPIC 286 the applicant made a claim for compensation after her husband passed away due to contracting the COVID-19 virus whilst on a work trip in New York. The respondent, G & S Sara Pty Ltd, was one of a group of companies in the Stoneglass Group that provided dental technician products and services across the healthcare sector in Australia and the United States, and the deceased worker was a director of each of the entities in the Stoneglass Group.

Proposed amendments to give the Personal Injury Commission power to control service providers

The proposed amendments to the Motor Accidents Injuries Act,Workers Compensation Act 1987, and the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 would give the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) the power to exclude service providers who are overservicing and overcharging.
  • 30 Aug 2021


Where interstate CTP policies do not respond, the NSW Nominal Defendant will pay statutory benefits

Each State has a different CTP Scheme, few covering the at fault driver. In NSW, the Nominal Defendant will pay statutory benefits in those circumstances.
  • 24 Aug 2021


Supporting our injured firefighters and emergency service workers – Potential changes to the NSW workers compensation scheme 2021

The NSW government has recently introduced the Motor Accidents and Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 to make changes to the workers compensation legislation largely in response to the catastrophic bush fire season of 2019. It has since passed the Legislative Assembly and awaits scrutiny in the Legislative Council.

Proposed changes to the Motor Accident Injuries Act – what you need to know

Following the recommendation of Justice Fagan in AAI Limited v Singh1 the Motor Accidents and Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was tabled on 23 June 2021.

When a failure to provide particulars leads to a deemed withdrawal of a claim

In the recent case of Wahhab v Insurance Australia Ltd [2021] NSWSC 521, a Claims Assessor refused to refer a matter for Claims Assessment on the grounds the claimant had been deemed to have withdrawn their claim. The NSW Supreme Court upheld this decision. 

‘Long-COVID’ - Dealing with COVID-19 workplace injuries and consequential conditions

The current two-week lockdown in NSW is a timely reminder that COVID-19 and the risk of COVID-19 infections in the course of employment remain real, particularly for those essential workers who are unable to work from home.
  • 2 Jul 2021

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