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:
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.