Typically, the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) cover an injured worker’s legal fees and disbursements related to an investigation of a workers compensation claim (whether for weekly benefits, medical expenses or lump sum compensation).
However, WIRO funding does not apply to exempt workers. The term ‘exempt worker’ refers to specific classes of workers for which most of the amendments made to the Workers Compensation Acts in 2012 and 2015 do not apply. Exempt workers include:
- Police Officers
- Paramedics; and
- Fire Fighters
These workers have different rights and entitlements compared to non-exempt workers in NSW. An important distinction is that an exempt worker can pursue a claim for ‘pain and suffering’ if their level of permanent impairment exceeds a certain threshold.
Even though WIRO does not fund investigations of exempt worker claims, Coastal Compensation Law Specialists may still be able to assist you with the investigation of your claim, particularly in circumstances where you have sustained a serious injury (whether physical or psychological) and have a reduced capacity to work, or have been unable to work, due to your workplace injuries. This may see you receive lump sum compensation for permanent impairment, as well as pain and suffering.
If you are an exempt worker (and subject to the necessary impairment threshold being met) you may also be able to sue your employer for common law work injury damages, if the evidence suggests your employer’s negligence caused or contributed to your loss (your injuries, disabilities and subsequent time off work/reduced work capacity).
Say for example you are an exempt worker, and over a period of time you were exposed to traumatic incidents in the course of your duties. If it can be proven that your employer did not provide a safe system of work or did not adequately utilise their resources to ensure you received debriefing sessions or some other counselling or support as soon as possible after the traumatic incidents, your employer may be found negligent.
If you are a NSW exempt worker and have suffered a permanent injury, we invite you to contact our office to discuss your potential entitlements under the workers compensation scheme. We have two locations on the Central Coast – Gosford & Wyong. Our professional costs will be payable by the Insurer upon successful conclusion of your matter and we may be able to fund any disbursements (including clinical notes and medical report fees) to ensure you achieve the maximum compensation you deserve and you are not out of pocket.