The rights of injured workers in NSW have been steadily and dramatically eroded since 2001. The NSW workers compensation system is now at a point where it is acknowledged even by insurers to be unfair, capricious and overly complicated. This is all in the context of the WorkCover fund being seriously in surplus and with no tangible benefit being returned to employers in the form of reduced premiums. The answer is of course to privatise the system and return it to the way it was prior to 1987 and the introduction of the Workers Compensation Act. Unfortunately there are few votes at stake and it will take a government with true foresight and courage to implement the necessary reforms.
That said there remains one small beacon of light for a particular class of NSW injured workers, those being people who have received section 66 lump sum compensation under the Table of Disabilities or the Whole Person Impairment tables prior to June 2012. Demonstrating the random and fickle nature of the scheme, only workers who claimed or received lump sum benefits prior to June 2012 are entitled to bring a further claim for deterioration in their condition.
Any worker who fall into this category is entitled to bring a claim even if the insurer or WorkCover scheme agent has purported to “finalise” or close their claim. I am able to advise workers of their legal position and entitlements in my role as an accredited Workers Compensation Independent Review Office Approved Legal Services Provider.