In the meantime, Queenslanders await developments to any changes to the common law (negligence) provisions of the Workers’ Compensation & Rehabilitation Act (Qld). The Newman LNP Government had legislated changes to the way in which injured workers in Queensland could claim damages for work injuries. One of the changes was that for and work injury sustained on and from 15 October 2013, an injured worker must have a ‘degree of permanent impairment’ resulting from their work injury of greater than 5% before being able to pursue a common law claim for the negligence of their employer.
This is very significant because workers’ compensation benefits rarely last longer than two years whereas a common law damages claim takes into account an injured worker’s likely loss of earnings to anticipated retirement age. Thousands of Queenslanders thereby became disentitled to pursue a much larger, more encompassing common law (negligence) claim that would adequately compensate them for their loss and injury. The new Palaszczuk Labour Government is said to be considering the repeal of the former LNP Government’s restrictions, thereby restoring the former, more generous workplace damages system.