WorkCover Payout Examples and Case Studies in QLD

Best Injury Lawyers Insights  |  March 7, 2024

Dealing with WorkCover claims can feel like stepping into unknown territory. It’s often confusing and overwhelming for those affected. At Best Injury Lawyers, we’re focused on making things clearer and simpler for our clients. The information in this post is designed to help you understand WorkCover payouts, showing you examples, explaining how these payouts are calculated and what factors affect them in Queensland.

Knowing how to navigate personal injury claims is important for anyone looking for compensation. This could be for lost income, medical bills, or help with recovery and getting back to work. Having a clear guide can really help make the process easier to manage. Our aim at Best Injury Lawyers is to give you the knowledge and tips you need to confidently go after the compensation you’re entitled to. Let’s get into the specifics of worker compensation settlements in QLD and show you how to get the best possible result.

Not sure whether to accept your lump sum offer? Feel free to reach out for a free claim assessment from Best Injury Lawyers – our expert QLD WorkCover lawyers are here to guide you to the best decision.

Understanding WorkCover Payouts in QLD

When you’re dealing with a workplace injury, knowing the kinds of support and compensation available to you is crucial. WorkCover payouts in Queensland are designed to support you through your recovery, covering a range of expenses and losses related to your injury. Let’s break down what WorkCover can provide:

  • Medical Expenses: These payouts cover the cost of medical treatments you need due to your work-related injury. This includes doctor visits, prescription medications, surgeries, and any other medical care required to help you recover.
  • Lost Wages: If your injury prevents you from working, WorkCover compensates for your lost income. This ensures you have financial support while you’re unable to earn your usual wages, helping you focus on your recovery without the added stress of lost income.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: Recovering from a workplace injury might require specialised treatments, such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy. WorkCover helps fund these rehabilitation services to aid in your recovery and help you return to work when you’re ready.

Understanding these aspects of WorkCover payouts is the first step in ensuring you don’t miss out on any entitlements that can aid in your recovery and financial stability. Each case is unique, and the specifics of your compensation will depend on factors such as the severity of your injury, its impact on your work capacity, and the medical costs incurred. Knowing your rights and what support is available is essential in navigating your recovery journey effectively.

WorkCover QLD Wages Percentages

Generally speaking, your WorkCover payments will be 85% of your normal weekly earnings (average of 12 months earnings before the injury) for the first 6 months. This could be more if you are covered by an industrial award.

Payments drop to 75% of normal weekly earnings for claims between 6 months and 2 years.

After 2 years, if your injury has resulted in permanent impairment of more than 15%, payments will remain at 75% of normal weekly earnings for up to 5 years after the injury. If your impairment is less than 15%, you will be paid at the rate of the single aged pension.

WorkCover Payout Examples

There’s a wide range of personal injuries and circumstances that, if they happen in the workplace, can lead to a work injury compensation claim in Queensland, such as:

  • Repetitive strain injuries, like carpal tunnel and tendinitis
  • Lung issues, such as occupational asthma
  • Back, neck, and herniated disc injuries
  • Injuries to feet, toes, or legs
  • Injuries to the head, brain, and eyes
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Psychological stress experienced
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals and asbestos
  • Injuries affecting the arms, hands, and fingers
  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • Injuries from burns

Let’s take a look at some hypothetical case studies of WorkCover payouts:

Example 1: Minor Injury with Short-Term Impact

Scenario: John, a construction worker, suffered a minor hand injury requiring medical attention and a few weeks away from work. John’s normal weekly earnings at the time of his injury were $1,000.

Outcome: John was compensated for his medical costs and $850 per week for the wages he lost during his recovery. His injury claim was resolved quickly, providing him the financial support needed until he could resume work.

Example 2: Severe Injury with Long-Term Rehabilitation

Scenario: Sarah, an office administrator, had a severe back injury from a fall at work, which needed lots of rehabilitation and prevented her from returning to her original job, but she returned to alternate employment after one year. Sarah’s normal weekly earnings at the time were $500.

Outcome: Sarah’s compensation included her medical and rehabilitation expenses, wages of $425 per week for the first 6 months, then $375 per week for the next 6 months, and a lump sum for permanent impairment due to the lasting impact of her injury on her capacity to work.

Example 3: Psychological Injury from Work-Related Stress

Scenario: David, a customer service representative, developed a psychological condition from ongoing work-related stress, impacting his ability to work.

Outcome: David received compensation for his medical and psychological treatment costs and lost wages at 85% of his normal weekly earnings. He returned to work after 6 months. .

Example 4: Construction Workers Fall from Height

Scenario: Alex, a construction worker on a high-rise, fell and sustained multiple fractures. He needed surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation. He had only worked for 6 months before he was injured, so his normal weekly earnings were averaged over 6 months only, at $1,500 per week.

Outcome: Alex was compensated for his medical bills, physical therapy, and between 75% and 85% of his lost income during recuperation.

Example 5: Mining Accident Leading to Chronic Conditions

Scenario: Mia, a miner, was exposed to hazardous conditions. As a result, she developed a chronic respiratory issue, barring her from mining or any similar work.

Outcome: Mia’s compensation covered her medical treatment, ongoing care, and between 75% and 85% of her lost income. She also obtained a lump sum for permanent impairment, providing financial support for her reduced capacity to work. Mia was also able to pursue a Total and Permanent Disability payment through her super insurance due to her inability to return to roles in mining or similar industries.

Example 6: Construction Worker Exposed to Hazardous Materials

Scenario: Eva, working on a building site, was exposed to asbestos, leading to a serious health condition diagnosed later.

Outcome: Eva received compensation for her immediate and ongoing medical treatments, part of her lost income, and a lump sum to recognise her long-term health issues and their impact on her ability to work in construction or any other field.

Example 7: Miner Injured in Equipment Collapse

Scenario: Liam, working in a mine, was injured when mining equipment collapsed, causing severe physical injuries and psychological trauma. Liam was experienced and his normal weekly earnings were $3,000 at the time of the injury

Outcome: Liam was compensated for his extensive medical treatments, psychological support, and $2,550 for the first six months, reducing to $2,250 thereafter for lost wages. He also received a lump sum for his permanent impairments, acknowledging the profound effect on both his quality of life and future earning capabilities.

Factors Influencing WorkCover Payouts

When you’re dealing with a WorkCover claim, it’s important to understand that the compensation you might receive is not just a random number. Several key factors come into play, shaping the amount and type of compensation you’re entitled to. Knowing what these factors are can help you have a clearer picture of what to expect from your claim and can guide you in taking the right steps forward.

  • The Nature and Severity of Your Injury: How severe your injury is plays a big role in determining your compensation. Generally, more severe injuries mean higher compensation. This is because serious injuries usually require more medical treatment and a longer time to recover, which can lead to higher medical bills and more time off work.
  • Your Ability to Work After the Injury: Whether you can go back to your old job or any job at all after your injury is a big deal when it comes to compensation. If you are able to return to employment, your right to loss of wages will stop. If you enter a graduated return to work program, your right to loss of wages will reduce proportionately with the wages you earn from working.
  • Medical and Rehabilitation Costs: WorkCover is there to cover all reasonable medical and rehabilitation costs that come from your work injury. WorkCover is required to pay medical expenses until your injuries are ‘stable and stationary’, which means your condition is not likely to improve with further medical or surgical treatment. A finding of stable and stationary indicates your condition has reached maximum medical improvement and you have received suitable treatment.
  • Legal Help: Having an experienced injury lawyer on your side can make a big difference in your claim. A good lawyer can help make sure every part of your claim is properly documented and presented, from dealing with WorkCover insurers to, if needed, representing you in court. They can also help you make smart decisions about things like accepting lump sum payments and make sure you get what you’re truly owed.

Expanding on these factors, it’s also important to consider:

  • Your Age: Your age can influence your compensation, especially when it comes to things like loss of wages and the potential need for long-term medical care.
  • Details of Your Workplace Accident: The specifics of how, where, and when your accident happened can affect your claim. Details can impact the understanding of your injury’s severity and its link to your job.
  • Your Job Situation: The type of work you do, your employment status (like full-time, part-time, or casual), and how long you’ve been at your job can all play a part in your compensation.
  • Your Life Before the Injury: What your life was like before the injury, including your hobbies, activities, and overall health, can influence your compensation. WorkCover is not required to cover pre-existing conditions, however they are required to cover aggravations to pre-existing conditions.

How much compensation should you expect from a WorkCover claim?

As you can see from the list above, there are lots of factors that influence your weekly compensation. Understanding the level of compensation you can expect requires a close analysis of the circumstances, and an expert understanding of the claims process. Payment amounts also depend on whether you accept a permanent impairment lump sum or make a common law payout claim.

However, there are some benchmarks we can look at to provide a rough idea of the claim amount you may be able to achieve depending on your injury.

When it comes to a permanent impairment lump sum payment, WorkCover assesses a percentage of impairment as a result of the injury, and offers a lump sum that compensates the injury accordingly. Typically, for every 1% of impairment, an injured worker will approximately $3,500. This changes if the impairment score is calculated to be 30% or higher. So if you received a permanent impairment of 5%, your permanent impairment payment would be approximately $17,500.

Figures from a 2023 report from the Office of Industrial Relations in Queensland shows that the average payout for a common law claim from 2021-2022 was $175,772. This happens when you reject a permanent impairment lump sum offer to pursue a common law payout.

Read on for more information on whether to accept a lump sum payout, or pursue a common law claim.

What is the difference between a Permanent Impairment Lump Sum and a Common Law Payout?

In Queensland, when you’re dealing with a work-related injury, there are two main types of compensation you might hear about: a “permanent impairment lump sum” and a “common law payout.” Understanding the difference between these two can help you navigate your claim more effectively.

Permanent Impairment Lump Sum

A permanent impairment lump sum is a one-time payment given to you if your work injury leads to a permanent impairment. This means that a part of your body or your overall physical or mental abilities have been permanently affected by the injury. Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Assessment: To qualify, your injury must be assessed by a medical professional who will determine if it’s permanent and give it a rating based on its severity.
  • No Fault: This payment is made regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Whether it was an unavoidable accident or a mistake on your part, you can still receive this compensation if you have a permanent impairment.
  • One-Time Payment: It’s a single payment meant to compensate you for the lasting effects of your injury.

Warning: If you accept a permanent impairment lump sum, you cannot claim a common law payout. Make sure you get legal advice before accepting any offers.

Common Law Payout

A common law payout, on the other hand, involves a more complex process and usually offers much higher compensation. This type of claim is based on proving that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, like your employer not providing a safe work environment.

Here’s the scoop on common law payouts:

  • Fault-Based: To receive a common law payout, you need to show that your injury was due to someone else’s actions or failure to act (like not following safety protocols).
  • Potentially Higher Compensation: Since this type of claim can cover a broader range of losses, including pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, past and future income loss, and medical expenses, the payouts can be significantly higher.
  • Legal Process: Pursuing a common law claim is more legally involved and will require the help of a lawyer. It might involve negotiations, mediations, or even going to court.

Choosing Between the Two

It’s worth noting that accepting a permanent impairment lump sum affects your ability to pursue a common law claim later, so it’s a decision that requires careful consideration. If you accept a lump sum offer, you cannot pursue a common law claim. Each option has its own set of pros and cons, depending on your specific situation, how the accident happened, the severity of your injury, and your long-term needs.

When you’re offered a lump sum, you also have a certain amount of time to accept it, be re-assessed or decide to pursue a common law payout instead. The timebound nature of the decision can make it a stressful process.

Don’t let WorkCover stuff you around when it comes to a lump sum offer. If you feel your lump sum offer is insufficient, get in touch for a free claim assessment from Best Injury Lawyers today.

Get the Best Legal Advice for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Personal injuries resulting from workplace accidents or circumstances can be devastating. That’s why the claims process exists, and it’s why experts like the team here at Best Injury Lawyers operate on a No Win No Fee basis.

We’ll look at your claim and provide you with expert guidance on the best course of action for you, so you can receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to and move forward with confidence.

Whether the injury just occurred or you’re anxious about a lump sum offer, get in touch with us today for WorkCover expertise that will see you right.