What is the WorkCover serious injury definition? 

Workcover serious injury definition graphic

The term ‘serious injury’ as it relates to WorkCover matters in Victoria is defined in the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 and the Accident Compensation Act 1985.

The definition of what is a serious injury for Victorian WorkCover matters is as follows;

  • A permanent serious impairment or loss of a body function, or
  • A permanent serious disfigurement
  • A permanent severe mental or permanent severe behavioural disturbance or disorder, or,
  • Loss of a foetus.

The rest of his page will unpack the definition further.

A permanent serious impairment or loss of a body function:

Example:

If you were working as a nurse and during your employment you suffered an injury to your shoulder as a result of manually moving a patient, and that shoulder injury persists and impacts your day to day life, this may be considered a permanent serious impairment.

A permanent serious disfigurement:

Example:

If you were working in a factory and involved in an industrial accident which left significant scarring on your arm, this may constitute a permanent serious disfigurement.

A permanent severe mental or permanent severe behavioural disturbance or disorder:

Example:

If you were subjected to repeat acts of bullying in the workplace such that you developed a psychological condition which persists, such that your ability to work is impacted, this may be considered a permanent severe mental or permanent severe behavioural disturbance or disorder.

Impact of any claimed ‘serious injury’ on a person needs to be considered

An injury needs to be considered by looking at the specific consequences to an injured person of any impairment or loss of a body function, disfigurement, or mental or behavioural disturbance or disorder, with respect to the impact on pain and suffering and on any loss of capacity to earn income.

A comparison is required with other cases that might be in the range of impairment relating to a body function, disfigurement or mental or behavioural disturbances or disorders.

The consequences to the worker must be described as being more than significant or marked.

At the very least, the particular consequences must be very considerable on a particular worker.

When it comes to mental and behaviour disturbances or disorders, the consequences must be described as being more than serious, to the extent of being severe.

When claiming ‘serious injury’, you are able to claim under more than one category

When you pursue a serious injury application with the goal of obtaining a serious injury certificate, you are able to claim under more than one category of the serious injury definition as outlined above.

For example, you could claim that you have a permanent serious impairment or loss of a body function in addition to a permanent severe mental or permanent severe behavioural disturbance or disorder.

When is having a serious injury relevant under the Victorian WorkCover system?

Whether you have a serious injury or not is only relevant to one aspect of your entire WorkCover matter (it may be relevant if you have a very old WorkCover matter).

That is in relation to claiming a common law lump sum.

In order to be entitled to compensation via a common law claim, you need to show that you have a serious injury and that there was negligence on behalf of your employer or another party that contributed to that injury. Copyright notice – this is original content from TheWorkInjurySite.com.au.

If you cannot show that you have a serious injury, then you will not be entitled to claim compensation under a common law claim.

A serious injury is not relevant in relation to any of the following aspects of a WorkCover claim:

  • Having your initial claim accepted
  • Obtaining payment for medical and like expenses
  • Obtaining weekly payments
  • Being paid an impairment benefit lump sum claim.

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