TASMANIAN resource employers are potentially liable for increased compensation on injured workers when making assessment for Whole Person Impairments, particularly regarding long-term injuries.
In a recent case handed down by Chief Justice Blow the issue at hand was whether the latest version of the Guidelines, which were introduced in 2011 and are used to assess impairments, could be applied retrospectively to an injury sustained in 2004.
The judge said it was appropriate for the Medical Board to revise its Guidelines from time to time. He added it may do that to remove anomalies or indeed improve upon provisions that result in workers receiving compensation that appears excessive or inadequate or to take into account changing practices or medical knowledge.
The Judge was of the view that the primary purpose of the change to the Guidelines was to make them fair, particularly in regard to changing medical practices and knowledge and that weighed in favour of the employee.
This is a significant decision which will potentially expose AMMA members and Insurers to an additional liability, particularly as it relates to back and neck claims prior to the new guidelines. This decision has implications for employees who have had long term claims and increases the Whole Person Impairments and employees who have had fusion operations.
To read the full decision, click here.
Bill FitzGerald AMMA’s Principal Consultant in the Hobart office is a member of a high level employer committee on workers compensation and OHS issues and can provide further advice in regard to this decision. Bill can be contacted on 03 62702256 or [email protected].