Appealing a Medical Panel decision in WorkCover

Appealing a Medical Panel decision in WorkCover

The Medical Panel is an independent body created for the purpose of resolving disputes which essentially turn on medical determinations. In WorkCover matters, the Medical Panel can determine a decision which has been made on essentially medical grounds.

The questions which a Medical Panel can be asked and which they can answer are legislated and provided for in the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.

A Medical Panel must, as a general rule, provide its Opinion within 60 days of the examination.

What if you disagree with the Opinion of the Medical Panel?

You have strictly 60 days in which you can file an appeal at the Supreme Court. The 60 days is calculated from the date that the Opinion was signed off by the Medical Panel. It can be very difficult to extend this time period.

There are three main basis for an appeal of a Medical Panel Opinion:

1. Failing to take something into account or taking something into account it should not have (jurisdictional error)

This is the most common basis of appeal.

Another jurisdictional error may be an error in a medical finding.

2. Procedural Fairness

Generally this refers to an instance where one party has provided the Medical Panel with information that the other party has not been made aware of/given the opportunity to make submissions on.

If you are taken by surprise by something said to you at the Medical Panel you should immediately discuss this with your lawyer.

3. Inadequacy of reasons - 'error of law'

In order to succeed on an appeal on the basis of'inadequate reasons' or'ambiguous findings' you must demonstrate that from the reasons it is not possible to understand how the conclusion was reached. In other words, a medical panel is not obligated to show in its reasons why it did not reach a particular conclusion but it must be clearly understood from the reasons why and how it reached the conclusion it did.

If you have received a Medical Panel Opinion which you disagree with, you should urgently obtain legal advice as to whether there is a basis for an appeal.

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