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Workers compensation bulletin - issue 49

In this issue: workers compensation claims administration manual submissions summary published, and recent Court of Appeal decision.

Workers compensation claims administration manual submissions summary published

SIRA has published a summary of the submissions received in response to consultation undertaken on the workers compensation claims administration manual (CAM). The summary and the non-confidential submissions are available in the claims administration manual and guidelines review on the SIRA website.

The submissions summary (PDF, 374 KB) provides high level commentary of key themes raised throughout the consultation period and briefly outlines the current design approach, informed through feedback we received during the consultation process.

SIRA will continue to consult and engage with stakeholders throughout the design, development and implementation phases.

We value your input and thank those that provided feedback.

Any questions regarding the CAM and guidelines review should be emailed to PolicyDesignWHBCR-SIRA@sira.nsw.gov.au.

Recent Court of Appeal decision

The NSW Court of Appeal handed down its decision on 16 August 2018 in relation to the matter of Hunter Quarries Pty Ltd v Alexandra Mexon as Administrator for the Estate of the Late Ryan Messenger.

Background

In September 2014, the worker sustained fatal injuries when an excavator he was operating tipped over and crushed the cabin in which he was located. The worker suffered a severe crush injury to his upper body and died a few minutes later. His estate received the lump sum death benefit and funeral expenses in accordance with entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (1987 Act). His estate later sought permanent impairment compensation under section 66 of the 1987 Act.

The worker was initially assessed by an Approved Medical Specialist (AMS) at 100 per cent permanent impairment.

Following an application for reconsideration, an AMS certified he suffered zero per cent permanent impairment, which was appealed to the Medical Appeal Panel of the Workers Compensation Commission.

The Appeal Panel revoked the certificate and issued a new certificate which assessed impairment at 100 per cent. Hunter Quarries sought a judicial review of the Appeal Panel’s decision. The primary judge upheld the decision of the Appeal Panel. Hunter Quarries sought an appeal of the primary judge’s decision in the NSW Court of Appeal.

Decision

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and found that there was no entitlement to compensation for permanent impairment in circumstances where the worker survived for a very short period post injury.