Permanent impairment

If an injured worker suffers a permanent impairment as a result of a work injury, they may be entitled to a lump sum compensation payment, as well as income and medical support.

The lump sum payment for non-economic loss compensates for:

  • pain and suffering
  • loss of amenities of life
  • loss of expectation of life
  • any other loss or detriment of a non-economic nature.

Medical practitioners accredited with WorkCover undertake permanent impairment assessments. Case managers use the reports from these assessments to determine a worker's entitlement.

Legislative changes regarding permanent impairment came into effect on 1 April 2009.

The most significant change was that the maximum amount payable to workers who suffer a permanent, serious injury or illness increased from $230,982 to $400,000 (and subsequently indexed each year).

A threshold of 5% whole person impairment (WPI) was also introduced. This means that if a worker's permanent impairment is below 5% WPI, they are not entitled to receive lump sum compensation for non-economic loss.

Workers with psychiatric injuries are not eligible to received lump sum compensation for non-economic loss.

Section 43 of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 outlines the entitlements for permanent impairment.

How do I become an accredited permanent impairment assessor?

WorkCoverSA periodically invites applications from practitioners who would like to be accredited to undertake permanent impairment assessments. We seek specialists as well as general practitioners and those who practise in regional areas are encouraged to apply. For more information refer to Fact sheet: Accreditation of permanent impairment assessors. To find out when the next round of applications close contact pia@workcover.com.

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