Dealing with changes to NSW Workers’ Compensation Legislation

The situation

A client had an employee who suffered a workplace injury over four years ago. Liability for the injury was accepted by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer and the employee was eventually able to return to work but in a modified role that limited the weight of packages he could deliver to customers. Recently, the employee claimed he had suffered an aggravation to his original injury, which left him unable to handle items of more than 500gm. The employee remains off on compensation.

 

The Task

The client sought assistance on the best way to deal with the matter. The objective was to ensure the client was able to act in a manner that:

  • complied with the new provision of NSW workers compensation legislation;
  • facilitated the prompt return of the employee back to work; and
  • would minimise the risk of an adverse action claim;

 

Actions

It was identified that over the last four years, the insurer had not adequately managed the employee’s claim. This included the fact that 5 different case managers had been assigned to the case.

We convened an on-site meeting of the insurer, the current rehabilitation provider and the employer to devise a coordinated strategy aimed at:

  1. enabling the insurer to properly determine liability for the new injury (and deal with employer concerns that its impact was being exaggerated by the employee); and
  2. arising from 1 above, either returning the employee to duty or terminating his services.

 

Results for the client

The insurer ended up declining liability for the new injury after seeking expert advice from an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and following obtaining their own medical advice, the client terminated the employee on the grounds that he was unable to perform the required duties he had been employed to do.

 

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