Been injured at work?

In South Australia, workers who are injured at work are able to claim workers compensation under the provisions of the Return to Work Act 2014. The Act aims to provide injured workers with rehabilitation services, income maintenance payments, reimbursement of medical expenses and permanent physical impairment.

In most cases, injured workers are entitled to weekly payments of income maintenance for two years only. Your entitlement to claim for reimbursement of medical and like expenses will cease 12 months after your income maintenance payments stop. 

It is important to make sure that you make the most of your entitlement to rehabilitation support and return to work services during this time, so that you maximise your chances of recovery before your entitlements are cut off.

If your injury results in a permanent physical impairment, you may also be entitled to lump sum compensation. The amount of compensation payable depends on the degree of whole person impairment you suffer as a result of your injuries. Your degree of whole person impairment must be at least 5% to qualify for lump sum compensation.

If your degree of whole person impairment is over 35% (or 30% for a psychological injury) you will considered a seriously injured worker and the usual time limits for income maintenance and reimbursement of medical expenses will not apply. This means it is very important to ensure the whole person impairment assessment process is done correctly. It is not easy to obtain a second assessment.  

In addition to providing a scheme of monetary compensation, the Act obliges your employer to provide you with suitable employment if you are able to return to work.

Like most statutory schemes, there are exceptions to every rule and it is not always easy to know whether you are being provided with all of your entitlements. 

If you disagree with a decision made with respect to your claim, the time limit within which to dispute the decision is only a month. 

If your employer or claims agent is not assisting you to return to work, your are not sure that you are being provided with all of your entitlements or you want to dispute a decision made with respect to your claim, SMB Workplace & Employment Law can assist.


Simon Bourne recognised by Doyles as a Leading National Employment Lawyer in 2023.
Leading Employment Law Firm (Employee & Union Representation) – South Australia, 2024.

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