GN 5.8 Property damage

Published: 12 August 2019
Last edited: 12 August 2019

Application: this guidance applies to exempt workers

Overview

If property is damaged because of a work-related accident, a worker can make a claim for the repair or replacement of artifical limbs, etc and damaged clothing.

This guidance considers claims for property damage.

What compensation is payable

Damage to artifical limbs, etc

Section 74 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (1987 Act) provides that a worker who has met with an accident arising out of or in the course of employment and whose crutches, artificial members, eyes or teeth, other artifical aids or spectacles are damaged as a result of the accident is entitled to receive compensation for the reasonable cost of repairing, or if necessary, replacing the damaged property.

The cost of repairing or replacing includes:

  • the service costs of qualified people (for example, consultations, prescriptions and examinations) in repairing or replacing the artificial aid
  • the loss of wages associated with attending consultations, prescriptions and examinations to repair or replace the artificial aid.

The maximum rate for damage to artifical limbs, spectacles, etc is $2,000 or such higher amount as directed by the Workers Compensation Commission (if proceedings are before the Commission) or SIRA (section 76 of the 1987 Act).

Damage to clothing

Section 75 of the 1987 Act provides that a worker who has met with an accident arising out of or in the course of the worker's employment and whose clothing has, as a result of the accident, been damaged, is entitled to receive compensation for the reasonable cost of repairing or, if necessary, replacing the damaged articles of clothing.

The maximum rate for damage to clothing is $600. If proceedings are before the Commission, the Commission can order a higher amount or if there are no proceedings on foot, SIRA can give a direction on application from the worker (section 77 of the 1987 Act).

Note: a worker does not have to have suffered an injury (within the meaning of section 4 of the 1987 Act) in order to claim compensation under Division 5 (Compensation for property damage) of Part 3 of the 1987 Act.

When compensation is not payable

Section 78 of the 1987 Act provides that compensation is not payable where it is proved that any damage:

  • is solely attributable to the serious and wilful misconduct of the worker or
  • was caused intentionally by the worker concerned.

Disputes

Where an insurer disputes liability, the worker may request a review of that decision (section 287A of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (1998 Act)), at any time before the dispute is referred for determination by the Commission.

Section 289(4) of the 1998 Act provides that a dispute about a claim for compensation under Division 5 (Compensation for property damage) of Part 3 of the 1987 Act cannot be referred for determination by the Commission until:

  1. 28 days after the claim for compensation is made, or
  2. the person on whom the claim is made disputes liability for the claim (wholly or in part), whichever happens first.
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