The Queensland state government has recently passed significant amendments to the current Queensland workers compensation scheme.
What do these changes include?
The introduction of a “more than 5%” permanent (work related) impairment threshold for a person who has been injured. This is related to injuries occurring on or after 29 October 2013. This means that if a worker doesn’t meet this threshold that they will be unable to pursue a common law claim against their employer and instead will be restricted to statutory damages.
Changes to the definition of a psychiatric injury whereby the injured person now has to show that employment was the major significant contributing factor.
A requirement by job applicants to disclose to future employers any pre-existing medical condition/injury if requested in writing to do so.
The ability of prospective employers to access workers’ compensation claim histories of job applicants.
Powers to seek search warrants and seize property for any suspected offences committed by claimants (eg. fraud).
There is now a heavier obligation on the workers’ compensation insurer to take steps to rehabilitate and return the injured person to suitable duties as early as possible.
The establishment of the Workers’ Compensation Regulator and abolishment of Q-Comp.
The right to claim for injuries sustained whilst travelling to or from work has been retained.
On current projections, the recent amendments will have the effect of reducing common law claims for work injuries by approximately 50%.
Most of these changes come into effect on and from 29 October 2013.