Permanent impairment

If a worker is left with a permanent impairment as a result of a work related injury or illness, there is a provision under the Return to Work Act 1986 for a lump sum payment to be paid in respect of that permanent impairment.

Payment to the worker may be made to compensate for the permanent impairment once the injury or illness has reached maximum medical improvement. This payment does not affect the workers’ rights to weekly compensation benefits, medical or rehabilitation expenses.

Assessment procedure

If a worker believes that they have a permanent impairment, they may apply to their employer's insurance company or their own doctor for an assessment of that impairment. If the worker arranges his or her own assessment, the assessment must be sent to the employer's insurer.

Permanent impairment means an impairment or impairments assessed, in accordance with the guides approved and published by the Authority, as being an impairment, or combination of impairments, of not less than 5% of the whole person.

The 'American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (fourth edition)' was used for all assessments conducted up to and including 31 August 2017.  For assessments conducted from and including 1 September 2017 the approved guides are the NT WorkSafe Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.  These guides adopt the 'American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (fifth edition)'.

If a worker or the insurer is dissatisfied with the assessed level of permanent impairment, either may apply to NT WorkSafe for a reassessment. Such applications must be in writing. NT WorkSafe must receive an application for reassessment within 28 days of the insurer or worker being notified of the initial assessment.

Video Resources

The below video has been developed to give helpful information about workers compensation:

Related Forms and Resources

Medical practitioners guide to permanent impairment assessment
Permanent impairment entitlement
Permanent impairment assessment checklist for medical practitioners
Application for permanent impairment reassessment
NT WorkSafe guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment