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Permanent impairment for motor accidents

Permanent impairment is defined as a permanent injury to a person's health, usually a change to a body part, or an organ and the way it functions.

It’s considered permanent if the impairment is unlikely to change much, even with treatment.

In the CTP Scheme permanent impairment is used to determine if a person is eligible to receive a payment for non-economic loss (pain and suffering) in the settlement of their claim.

Permanent impairment is measured by a percentage of the change. If the injured person is assessed as having greater than 10 per cent, they may be eligible for a non-economic (pain and suffering) payment in their settlement.

Permanent impairment assessment does not impact the injured person’s claim for other benefits such as medical treatment and economic loss.

Read more about benefits and claims in our making a claim section.

Permanent impairment assessments

A permanent impairment assessment is used to measure how much permanent change has happened to the injured person’s body because of their injury.

The assessment can involve medical assessments, reports and information about the person's injuries and recovery.

The insurer must then decide whether or not the claimant has permanent impairment of more than 10 per cent, and therefore is entitled to damages for non-economic loss

If the insurer believes permanent impairment is ten per cent or less, they must write to inform the injured person and give reasons for the decision.

Injured people who disagree with the insurer's decision on the level of permanent impairment should first try to resolve the dispute directly with the insurer.

But if the insurer and the injured person and unable to reach agreement, an independent assessment can be arranged by our Medical Assessment Service. Their details are on our contact us page. Alternatively the University of Sydney makes available the names of individuals trained in permanent assessments.

These independent assessments are carried out by health professionals appointed because of their expertise, knowledge and experience in assessing permanent impairment.

For more information on the disputes process, see our disputes section. It includes information on making or replying to a claim, and guidance material for claims assessors.

If you have a question about permanent impairment, email our dedicated permanent impairment service wpienquiry@sira.nsw.gov.au for a response within five working days.

Further information

These case studies give a better understanding of the type of injuries likely to be assessed as greater than 10 per cent.