It’s not often that I get to share a positive change to the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act (the Act) that puts an injured worker in a better position, and I’m happy to update you that on the 12th of October 2020 the Termination Date was at last abolished.
For several reasons – but first I’ll explain how the Termination Date affected a claim.
If you make a workers’ compensation claim under the Act, it is known as a Statutory Claim. If your claim is accepted you have access to various ‘buckets of money’, known as prescribed amounts, which are $235,970.01 gross for wages including any Schedule 2 lump sum for your injury, $70,791.00 for medical treatment expenses and $16,518.00 for vocation rehabilitation expenses (which is assistance to get you back to work).
Prior to 12th October 2020, if you were assessed with a whole person impairment of 15% or more and your injury was caused by the negligence of your employer, you could elect to sue your employer. However, this election would need to happen before your Termination Date which would have been 12 months from the date you made your claim.
While your Termination Date could be extended for a further 12 months based on medical evidence that indicated your injury had not yet reached maximum medical improvement, if you missed the Termination Date it did not matter how badly injured you were or how negligent your employer was - you would have lost your right to sue your employer and your claim for common law damages.
But with the removal of the Termination Date, this will no longer be an issue – and this is fantastic news.
Claimants now have up to three years from the date of their accident/injury to commence common law proceedings. It is important to note that you will need to proceed with your claim at least one month before the three-year anniversary of your accident, to allow you time to elect and then file the writ of summons commencing the common law proceedings.
The other good news for claimants is that the abolishment of the Termination Date is retrospective. For instance, if on 12th October 2020 your Termination Date had passed, providing that three years from the date of your accident/injury had not passed you now have a second chance to make a common law election – providing that your whole person impairment is at least 15% and your employer was negligent in causing the accident/injury to you.
If you believe you may now have a right to sue your employer, please contact the Peninsula Personal Injury Lawyers team for a health check on your claim. Visit our Contact Us page for details on how to get in touch or call (08) 9581 4339.
We welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way we can.
Justin Cvitan, Director & Principal Solicitor, Peninsula Personal Injury Lawyers.