The win is “a profoundly significant decision” for injured workers across NSW, the firm says
Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers has guided a client to a win at the NSW Court of Appeal in a case involving the application of 2012 amendments to the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme.
“Those amendments changed the method of adjusting (indexing) weekly payment rates in order to account for wage growth, inflation and other factors. Under this change a worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings is to be adjusted on 1st April and 1 October each year after their entitlement to weekly benefits arises,” Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers said.
The firm’s client, an injured disability support worker, had been embroiled in a long legal battle to have weekly payments indexed to a date of entitlement in 2003. The client’s insurer had posited that the indexing was applicable only after the amendments came into force in October 2012.
Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers said that the client had made a previous application to the Workers Compensation Commission and an appeal to the deputy president of the commission before taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.
The court ruled that the indexing should apply from the date of entitlement; thus. the client’s weekly compensation benefits should be indexed to the date of first entitlement in 2003, even if the date was well before the amendments were implemented.
“In this case, the correct indexing of weekly payments back to the date of entitlement in 2003 means our client will receive hundreds of dollars in additional payments each week, recognising she is unable to work as a result of her injury,” said Scott Dougall, partner at Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers.
He said that the win was “a profoundly significant decision not only for our client but also for injured workers across New South Wales.”
“The decision opens the door to injured workers across New South Wales who may have claims for additional indexing as a result of this outcome,” Dougall said.
The court victory marks a strong start to 2021 for the firm, which welcomed a new managing partner last year.