Impairment Claims

1. If your injury causes a permanent physical whole person impairment of at least 10% (or 5% for certain injuries sustained from 3 December, 2003) you are probably entitled to a lump sum impairment payment. For a psychiatric injury impairment must rate at least 30%.

2. Impairment is measured using an American Medical publication known as the AMA Guides Fourth Edition. It generally cannot be assessed until at least 12 months from the date of injury and only if your injury has stabilised.

3. If the injury caused a total loss of a body part (eg, amputation of the first joint of a finger) lump sum compensation may be available even if the whole body impairment is less than the 10% or 5% threshold.

4. To make a claim you would need to complete and lodge an impairment claim form with relevant medical information. Galbally & O’Bryan can advise and assist you with this.

5. Payment of lump sum compensation for permanent impairment does not affect your entitlement to weekly payments or payment of medical and like expenses, or prevent lodgement (if appropriate) of a further claim for common law damages for a serious injury.

Suing for Negligence for ‘serious injury’ Common Law Claim

If you have sustained a ‘serious injury’ as a result of the negligence of your employer or another party you may be able to sue for substantial compensation called ‘damages’. This can be for pain and suffering only (general damages) and also in some cases for loss of earnings.

An application for a serious injury certificate needs to be made to WorkSafe Victoria or the County Court.

You are deemed to have sustained a serious injury if you have a whole person impairment of 30% or greater. If your impairment is less than 30% the Insurer or Court will grant a serious injury certificate if it is satisfied that you have sustained either:

- Serious long term impairment or loss of body function; or

- Permanent serious disfigurement; or

- Severe long term mental or severe long term behavioural disturbance; or

- Loss of a foetus.

The injury’s impact upon your enjoyment of life is looked at to determine if you have a serious injury so to be able to sue for pain and suffering compensation. In order to claim compensation for loss of earnings you must show you have sustained at least a 40% permanent reduction in your earning capacity.

The process of making an application for a serious injury certificate is complicated. We are happy to meet with you to explain the process and if appropriate Galbally & O’Bryan can prepare your application.

In rare cases you can sue a party, other than your employer, for damages even without a serious injury. A common law claim must generally be lodged within 6 years of the date of injury otherwise your right to sue may be lost.

Galbally & O’Bryan can help you bring a claim for lump sum compensation.


The information on this website is of a general nature only and may not reflect recent changes to certain areas of law. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for discussing your situation with a qualified legal practitioner. Contact us for more information.