How is Permanent Impairment Calculated in Queensland WorkCover Claims

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When your work-related injury or illness reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), and it results in a long-term loss of function, an assessment of your Degree of Person Impairment (DPI) is undertaken to determine the severity of your permanent disability. Here's how the process works in Queensland:

General Damages Estimates 

Based on the Workers’ Compensation Regulator’s guidance document, here's a table summarising the range of general damages for common minor injuries. It is important to remember that general damages are just one component of your common law claim for damages:

        Injury Type                                     Range of General Damages ($)

  1. Minor Neck Injury -                     $5,150 - $19,850
  2. Minor Back Injury -                     $7,000 - $22,000
  3. Minor Psychological Condition - $5,400 - $17,600
  4. Minor Wrist Injury -               $8,950 - $19,450
  5. Minor Ankle Injury -               $6,950 - $23,560

These figures are indicative and represent general damages for pain and suffering. For a complete claim valuation, factors like economic loss, recovery duration, and impact on daily life and employment must be considered, significantly affecting overall compensation.

Qualified Assessors: DPI assessments are performed by trained doctors or Approved Medical Specialists following Queensland's Work Capacity Decision Guide, aligned with the American Medical Association Guides (AMA Guides).

Assessment Factors: Several factors are considered by the assessor when calculating your WPI. These might include:

  • The specific body part(s) or system(s) affected by your injury
  • The severity of functional limitations
  • The degree of pain or discomfort
  • Your ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Psychological impacts

The DPI Formula: Detailed tables within the AMA Guides help guide your doctor in the calculation of your permanent impairment as a percentage (DPI), taking into account all relevant factors.

How DPI Influences Compensation Offers

  • Lump Sum Payments: Following your permanent impairment assessment, WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's self-insurer) must provide you with an offer of a lump-sum payment. The amount of this lump sum payment is based on your Degree of Permanent Impairment (DPI %).
  • Calculating the Offer: There is a statutory formula in Queensland based on a "Maximum Statutory Amount" set by legislation. It's best to consult a legal professional specialising in WorkCover claims to help estimate and understand potential offers.

Examples

  • Ankle Injury: You sustain a work-related ankle fracture that requires surgery. Due to residual pain and restricted range of motion, your DPI is assessed at 10%. You might be entitled to a lump-sum payment to compensate for this permanent impairment.
  • Psychological Injury: If you developed PTSD following a traumatic work incident and received a DPI of 15%, you could be eligible for a lump-sum payment related to this assessed ongoing impairment.

Based on the WorkCover guidance document, here's a table summarising the range of general damages for specified injury types:

Injury Type

Range of General Damages ($)

Quadriplegia

281,010 - 422,060

Extreme Brain Injury - Substantial Insight Remaining

259,880 - 422,060

Serious Brain Injury

186,320 - 254,600

Serious Eye Injury

158,415 - 307,405

Serious Shoulder Injury

119,150 - 204,950

 

General damages compensate for non-economic losses like pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. However, they form only part of a claim's value. Other factors impacting the claim's total value include past and future economic loss (e.g., lost wages, medical expenses), the individual's recovery trajectory, age, profession, and the impact on their ability to work. Each case is unique, and compensation can significantly vary based on these individual circumstances.

Based on the Workcover guidance document, here's a table summarising the range of general damages for common minor injuries:

Injury Type

Range of General Damages ($)

Minor Neck Injury

5,150 - 19,850

Minor Back Injury

7,000 - 22,000

Minor Psychological Condition

5,400 - 17,600

Minor Wrist Injury

8,950 - 19,450

Minor Ankle Injury

6,950 - 23,560

These figures are indicative and represent general damages for pain and suffering, which is only one component of your claim. For a complete claim valuation, factors like economic loss, recovery duration, and impact on daily life and employment must be considered, significantly affecting overall compensation.

Common Law Claims: When to Consider

If someone else's negligence caused or contributed to your workplace injury you might be able to pursue additional compensation through a common-law claim:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: If your injury occurred during a work-related drive
  • Slip and Fall Incidents: Someone else's negligence caused a hazardous situation
  • Faulty Equipment and Workplace Hazards: Negligent third parties might be liable

Importance of Legal Advice

The process of DPI assessment and navigating lump-sum offers can be complex. Getting advice from a personal injury lawyer with expertise in WorkCover matters is crucial for:

  • Ensuring your DPI is assessed fairly
  • Understanding potential common law entitlements
  • Receiving support in negotiating with insurers
  1. Pointers on Finding ISV information: Here are official Queensland Government resources with the ISV information:some text
Last updated:
May 13, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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