Personal injury COVID-19 updates

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Attendances at the South Australian Employment Tribunal

Posted 12 June 2020

Please find attached a letter of 11 June 2020 from the Hon President Justice Dolphin. It advises that from Monday 15 June 2020, the Tribunal will start a period of transition from some of the practices adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those practices are outlined in the letter.

In line with governmental guidelines, some of the practices previously adopted will remain in place as measures to reduce the need for personal attendances at the Tribunal and to ensure safe social distancing in the precincts, waiting areas, conference rooms and courtrooms of the Tribunal’s two floors.

Workers compensation timeframes for claims for medical expenses

Posted 8 May 2020

The Accident Compensation Committee has noted that practitioners in workers compensation may have been approached by clients who have had surgery arrangements postposed because of bans or restriction of elective surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a strict time-frame within which medical expenses incurred in relation to work injuries can be claimed from compensating authorities. That time-frame appears in s33(20) of the Return To Work Act, 2014 (RTWA) – and is a twelve month period beyond the end of any entitlement to weekly payments.

If surgery cannot or may not be performed within that time frame – or post-surgical treatment and rehabilitation cannot be undertaken and concluded within that time frame, then application can be made pursuant to s33(21(b)(ii) of the RTWA for the timeframe to be extended. That application must be made before the end of the s33(20) period.

Practitioners should consider the Reasons for judgment of the Full Court in Return To Work v Karpathakis; Return To Work v Rudduck – [2018] SASCFC 45 and the Full Bench of the SAET in Soldi v Wesfarmers Ltd (Return To Work SA Intervening) – [2019] SAET 241.

Assessments for Motor vehicle injuries

Posted 1 May 2020 

The Society has been working with the CTP Regulator to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic does not impact the rights of persons injured in motor vehicle accidents. The Society met with the CTP Regulator on 16 April to discuss its concerns with respect to medical and psychiatric assessments as well as receive an update as to what measures the Regulator has put in place to deal with COVID-19. The Society was consulted by the CTP Regulator with respect to the undertaking of Injury Scale Value (ISV) and Guide for the Evaluation of Psychiatric Impairment for Clinicians (GEPIC) assessments by psychiatrists using video conferencing/audio visual link.

Letter to the CTP Regulator: Psychiatric assessments conducted by AVL

RTWSA to recommence permanent impairment assessments

Posted 1 May 2020 

The Society is pleased to announce that RTWSA will be recommencing referring workers for permanent impairment assessments from Monday 4 May 2020. Workers who, for personal reasons, do not wish to proceed with an assessment of their permanent impairment at this time will suffer no adverse claim consequences. RTWSA has advised that it is its expectation that assessors will continue to ensure workers are appropriately screened before commencing any physical assessment. Read RTWSA's response to the Society
 | Read the Society’s letter to RTWSA