WorkCover payout examples (Vic)

WorkCover payout examples header showing different injuries

Below are some WorkCover payout examples. You can use these examples to get an idea as to what you may be entitled to.

Keep in mind that the WorkCover payout examples below are just that – they’re examples for illustrative purposes. Each case has its own unique facts, and just because your case is similar to one of the WorkCover matters below, does not mean you’ll necessarily be entitled to the same amount/s.

Weekly payments payout examples 

WorkCover weekly payments examples

The examples below relate to WorkCover weekly payment cases.

Example 1

Robert suffered injury to his lower back during the course of his employment in a hospital.

He lodged an initial WorkCover claim. However, this was rejected.

He then appealed the decision to reject the claim to conciliation.

An offer was made by the insurance company at conciliation to resolve his matter for a limited period of weekly payments and medical and like expenses. However, Robert rejected this offer.

He then proceeded to the Magistrates court. By the time his matter was listed for hearing, Robert had returned to work, working full pre injury hours, albeit with some restrictions in his lifting capacity.

Robert eventually settled his weekly payments for a lump sum, representing the arrears of weekly payments he would have been entitled to, had his claim initially been accepted (several months).

Example 2

Janine suffered injury to her neck while working in an industrial kitchen. She lodged an initial WorkCover claim, which was accepted.

She received a total of 130 weeks of WorkCover payments. However, her payments were terminated at the 130 week mark.

Janine then pursued the termination of her payments to conciliation, where the matter failed to resolve.

The matter was referred to the medical panel. After assessing her, the panel found that she had no work capacity and that this was likely to continue indefinitely.

As such, she was entitled to be backpaid weekly payments from the time her payments were terminated (the 130 week mark) and ongoing into the future.

Permanent impairment payout amounts

WorkCover permanent impairment payout examples

The WorkCover payout examples in the section immediately below relate to impairment claims only.

In a number of examples, the compensation amount doesn’t seem to be adequate given the nature of the injury and how the injury occurred.

Keep in mind that impairment claims are restricted in terms of the compensation they can offer. In an impairment claim, an injured finger is an injured finger – regardless as to the different impact it might have on different people.

A common law claim (see further below) is designed to provide compensation that takes into account the impact the injury has on a person.

Low back injury

Frank suffered injury to his lower back during the course of his employment in a factory that produces dairy products. He worked on one of the production lines, on nightshift. 

It was his role to push large blocks of cheese along a conveyor belt and to ensure that production continued.

The injury occurred as a consequence of having to bend over and repetitively twist whilst moving the blocks of cheese and other dairy products on the line.

He lodged an initial WorkCover claim which was accepted.

He then lodged an impairment claim in 2021. He was assessed by an independent medical examiner who assessed him as having a 5% whole person impairment rating for spinal injury. This entitled him to an impairment claim of $14,696 dollars.

Back injury

Jake was employed by a metal fabrication business. During the course of his employment he was required to lift heavy steel objects and place them into the back of a trailer.

He suffered injury to his back on a particular day as a result of having to do this work. This lead to discectomy back surgery, and once his injury has stabilised he lodged an impairment claim in 2021.

He was assessed as having a 10% whole person impairment rating which entitled him to a lump sum of $27,214.

Wrist injury

Mary was employed by a cleaner on a part-time basis by a government organisation. Her role involved cleaning a number of different government office buildings.

Due to the repetitive work involved, she suffered injury to her wrist. The injury was to her dominant side. She then lodged an impairment claim in 2021. She was assessed as having a whole person impairment rating of 8% which entitled her to $20,188 dollars.

She elected to appeal this assessment to the Medical Panel which increased her whole person impairment rating to 10%, which entitled her to $24,740.

Wrist injury

Bruce was working in a metal fabrication business. While working on a large piece of steel, it moved suddenly causing him to injure his right wrist.

About six months after suffering the injury, he had wrist surgery to repair damaged tendons.

He was left with a moderate restriction in his ability to move his right hand up and down and side to side.

Once he had stabilised, he lodged an impairment claim in 2021. He was assessed as having a 14% whole person impairment rating. This entitled him to $34,520.

Psychological injury

Sonia was employed in an office environment and was subjected to repeated and ongoing bullying and harassment directed towards her by one of her supervisors.

The bullying and harassment lasted a number of years and resulted in Sonia ceasing employment as a result. She lodged an impairment claim in 2021 and was assessed initially is having a 20% whole person impairment rating, which did not entitled her to any compensation under her impairment claim.

She appealed this to the Medical Panel which increased her whole person impairment rating to 30%. This entitled her to a lump sum payment of $86,360.

Shoulder injury

Sally was employed as a Division I nurse and during the course of her employment, owing to the repetitive and heavy nature of her duties, she suffered injury to her right shoulder.

She had an arthroscope on the shoulder and was left with some limitation of movement and pain.

She lodged an impairment claim in January 2020 and was assessed as having a 12% whole person impairment rating which entitled her to a lump sum of $30,362.

Shoulder injury

Shane was employed working in a cold storage business. His role was to ensure that boxes, which were coming down a production line, ran straight, and if any boxes were crooked he would need to manually straighten them to ensure the boxes could continue down the conveyor belt.

As a consequence of constant twisting, bending and manoeuvring heavy boxes, he suffered injury to his right shoulder.

He lodged an impairment claim in 2021 and was assessed as having a 15% whole person impairment rating which entitled him to $40,190.

Arm injury

Derek suffered injury to his right forearm during the course of his employment as an abattoir worker. The injury occurred as a consequence of one of his colleagues accidentally stabbing him through his ulnar nerve with the point of their boning knife.

Damage to the ulnar nerve resulted in a permanent sensation of numbness and tingling running down his forearm into his hand and some of his fingers.

He also suffered from a lack of dexterity in his hand and fingers.

He lodged an impairment claim in 2021. He was assessed as having a whole person impairment rating of 8%. This was later increased to 14% at the Medical Panel. This entitled him to $34,520.

Skin condition

Jim was employed working in a laundry. As a consequence of being exposed to dangerous chemicals within the workplace during the course of his employment, he developed severe contact dermatitis.

The dermatitis covered his chest, arms, neck and face and required regular treatment with topical medication. It would flare severely from time-to-time.

He was assessed as having a 20% whole person impairment rating and this entitled him to $53,960 dollars.

Hand / finger injury

Jennifer was employed by an abattoir. The tip of the little finger on her right hand, being her dominant hand was cut off due to an accident involving the band saw. 

She lost the tip of the finger beyond the first joint of the finger. The tip of the finger was unable to be successfully reattached. 

Foot injury

Basheer was employed as a labourer working on building sites. While working on a building site in the CBD, a large piece of concrete landed on his foot, crushing it and resulting in fractures. He lodged an impairment claim in 2021 and was assessed as having an 10% whole person impairment rating which entitled him to $21,560. 

Neck injury

Jared was employed by a landscaping business. He suffered injury to his neck as a consequence of repetitive heavy duties over a period of a few years including heavy lifting and shovelling. He had the option of having an operation on his neck but he elected not to due to the risks involved. 

He lodged an impairment claim in 2021 and was assessed as having a 5% whole person impairment, which entitled him to a whole person impairment rating of $14,696. 

Hip and back injury

Agus suffered injuries during the course of his employment. He was employed in a factory that was involved in the preparation of vegetables and his work involved general warehouse duties. While doing this work he was struck by a forklift and suffered Injuries to his hip and back. 

He lodged an impairment claim in 2021 and was assessed as having a combined 15% whole person impairment rating. This entitled him to a payment of $37,760. 

Hearing loss

Tia was employed for over 30 years working in a large steel mill. During the course of her employment, particularly towards the earlier part of her employment, she was exposed to industrial noise. 

She lodged an impairment claim in March 2020 relating to her hearing loss and was assessed as having a 22% NALwhich converts to a 14% whole person impairment rating which entitled her to $37,040. 

Bladder injury

Matthew was employed working with heavy vehicles in a truck repair workshop. He suffered an impact injury to his abdomen. 

His main injury was a bladder disorder which caused increased urinary frequency and incontinence. He was assessed as having a 27% whole person impairment rating.

Common law payouts Vic

Common law claims, unlike impairment claims, are designed to compensate people by taking into account the impact an injury has on a persons life.

The relevant minimum and maximum amounts are:

  • Pain and suffering minimum $61,480 
  • Pain and suffering maximum $623,950 
  • Loss of earnings minimum $63,650 
  • Loss of earnings maximum $1,433,140. 

Some common law cases are for pain and suffering only without any loss of earnings component.

Others are made up of both pain and suffering and economic loss.

 

WorkCover pain and suffering payouts:

WorkCover pain and suffering payout examples

With the pain and suffering WorkCover payout examples below, keep in mind that in the examples people are being compensated for pain and suffering only.

That is, there is no compensation for economic loss.

You are not able to pursue compensation for economic loss in all cases. There’s a test that you must meet before you can pursue economic loss compensation in WorkCover matters.

You need to show that as a consequence of the injury, you’ve suffered a forty percent loss of earning capacity.

Say for example that you were earning $1000 prior to the injury every week.

In order to claim loss of earnings, the law says you need to show that there’s no job out there where you would be able to earn $600 or more per week. That is, you’ve lost 40% of your earning capacity. 

If you have returned to work on a full time basis and the medical evidence I’m your matter suggests you’ll be able to continue doing so, you’re not likely to succeed in a claim for economic loss. 

Back injury

Josefine, a lady in her 40s, was employed as a nurse at an aged care facility.

She suffered injury to her back as a consequence of heavy and repetitive lifting over a number of years.

There was no specific incident that caused the injury, but rather it was the cumulative effect of the years of heavy work and manual lifting that her doctors say resulted in her back injury.

The injury did not require surgery. Josefine treated it with medication and regular physiotherapy sessions.

Josefine lodged a serious injury application (the first step to obtaining common law damages). She was granted a serious injury certificate.

She did not satisfy the loss of earnings test and as such was not entitled to claim compensation for loss of earnings.

She settled her common law claim at conference for $130,000, on a pain and suffering only basis.

Right knee injury

Jenny was employed as a teacher at a government teaching organisation.

On her way to class, she tripped and fell on a rubber mat that was significantly worn to the extent that one edge of the mat had curled over.

Also, the matt no longer gripped the floor properly and would occasionally slide when pressure was put on it.

As a result of the incident she suffered injury to her right knee.

A number of months after suffering the injury, Jenny underwent an arthroscope operation.

Once her injury had stabilised post surgery, she pursued a common law claim.

She did not satisfy the loss of earnings test as she was able to continue to working as a teacher, despite her injury.

She resolved her common-law matter on a pain and suffering only basis for $140,000.

Left shoulder injury

Dani was employed as a cleaner.

Over the course of a week, she was required to clean a number of commercial buildings as well as a motel.

Due to being shortstaffed, over the course of a couple of weeks Dani was required to do work herself that normally would involve the assistance of another person.

She was required to lift and turn mattresses with very little to no assistance. She was also required to clean a number of hotel rooms herself.

As a consequence of the work she suffered injury to her left shoulder (her dominant arm).

She had an arthroscope operation on the shoulder and obtained some improvement to her pain levels. The operation also improved her ability to use her arm, however she was still left with a significant permanent impairment.

She had to leave her employment and find alternative employment in a job that didn’t require as much manual work.

Despite the fact that the injury had some impact on her employment and earnings, given her age at the time of the injury (26) she did not satisfy the loss of earnings test and so was only able to pursue a claim for pain and suffering damages only.

She resolved her common law matter on a pain and suffering only basis for $200,000.

Neck injury

Diane was employed by a timber company as a process worker.

As a consequence of a machine malfunction, which had been malfunctioning for some period of time, she was required to manually move large bits of timber.

In doing so, she suffered a disc prolapse in her upper back.

This injury required surgery in the form of a discectomy.

Normally this type of injury would prevent many people from returning to a heavy repetitive job, but Diane was able to return to her pre injury employment after only a few months.

She had a very good result from the surgery.

The surgery was successful in alleviating most of her pain.

She still had some pain as well as restriction and needed to be careful not to overdo things as far as lifting at work was concerned.

As she was able to return to work, earning the same amount that she was earning prior to suffering the injury, she did not satisfy the loss of earnings test.

She pursued a claim for common law damages which settled for $220,000 on a pain and suffering only basis.

Psychological injury

Tim was employed working limited hours in a medical organisation.

He was assaulted at work by a patient who was known by his employer to be violent.

As a consequence of the assault he suffered debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder.

His ability to work was impacted, but as he was working limited hours he was not able to establish that he had lost at least a 40% loss of earning capacity.

He required ongoing psychological treatment and medication and was severely restricted in social activities.

His matter settled for $300,000 on a pain and suffering only basis.

 

WorkCover pain and suffering & economic loss payouts:

Pain and suffering & economic loss workcover payout examples

The WorkCover payout examples below illustrate common law settlements that were made up of both pain and suffering and economic loss components.

Keep in mind that when calculating economic loss, the law does not try to compensate you dollar for dollar for the income you have lost and will lose.

Yes, calculating economic loss involves looking at what you were earning before the injury, and what you can earn or are likely to be able to earn after the injury.

But there are formulas which are used which aim to take into account the risks of life – eg: that you might not have worked until retirement age, or that you might not have lived until retirement age.

 

Left shoulder injury

Reg suffered injury to his left shoulder, being his dominant arm, and incident that occurred during the course of his employment.

Reg was employed by a food storage and distribution warehouse facility.

The injury occurred as a consequence of a faulty ladder. Reg was on the ladder when it crumbled underneath him causing him to land heavily on the point of his shoulder.

His WorkCover claim was accepted.

He would go on to have two surgeries on the shoulder but was left with permanent impairment and restriction.

He was not able to lift or manoeuvre product like he was able to do so prior to the injury.

He returned to work on modified duties as his employer was a large employer who is able to accommodate Reg in a different role. This different role was largely administrative and was very different to what Reg was doing prior to suffering his injury.

After about a year of working in modified duties, Reg was terminated from his employment as it became clear from his treating doctors that he was not likely to return to his pre-injury roll at any time in the future.

Reg had spent most of his life working in manual labour roles and not being able to use his shoulder and arm like he had for most of his life, severely impacted on the jobs that he was able to do.

From when the injury occurred, he had approximately 10 years left of his working life before retirement.

He lodged a common-law claim which eventually settled during the statutory offer and counter offer period (after the informal settlement conference) for $485,000 for both pain and suffering and loss of earnings.

Back and hip injuries

Chris, a man in his 40s suffered injury to his back and hip due to an incident that occurred during his employment in a frozen foods factory. As a consequence of the injury, he was unable to return to work. He was earning approximately $60,000 per year. 

Some of the medical evidence suggested that he had no work capacity and was not likely to get back to any form of paid employment. Other medical material suggested that he may have a capacity for some work in a lighter job. 

The matter resolved by way of settlement at mediation (a meeting between the parties before a Court case starts) for $600,000. 

 

Please keep in mind that the information contained on this page should not be considered legal advice and no content on this site should replace the need to obtain advice tailored to the specific facts of your case. The facts of a case can significantly alter the advice that can provided. This site only provides general advice. Read more here.

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To contact Michael or Peter call 1800 746 442 or email [email protected]

Written by the Work Injury Site team