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Whole Person Impairment Calculator and Claims Guide

If you have been injured at work and have sustained a permanent injury that has stabilised, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation claim for permanent impairment.

In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about making a claim, explain the whole person impairment table and calculator, and answer frequently asked questions.

Key takeaways:

  • Whole Person Impairment (WPI) is the % applied to injury in relation to the “whole body”
  • A physical Injury needs to achieve a threshold of greater than 10% WPI
  • A psychological Injury needs to achieve a threshold of 15% WPI

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Calculate Amount Payable

1. Applies to claims for lump sum compensation - s.66 NSW Workers Compensation Act.

2. For back injuries only (after 2006) - an additional 5% may apply to that part of the impairment only.

What is permanent impairment? What is whole person impairment?

If you have been injured at work and have sustained a permanent injury that has stabilised, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation claim for permanent impairment.

Permanent Impairment is the term used to describe the lasting effect that an injury has on your daily functioning.  This type of injury can be physical and/or psychological.

Whole Person Impairment (WPI) is the measurement used to assess your permanent impairment. It is expressed as a percentage of how much permanent damage the injury has caused to your body.

Making a WPI claim is extremely important. In NSW, without a WPI assessment, an injured worker is only entitled to a maximum of five years’ worth of weekly payments and medical expenses. For example, if your WPI is assessed at 21% or above, you are entitled to payment of weekly payments until one year after your statutory retirement age and payment of medical expenses for life.

How is whole person impairment calculated in NSW?

WPI is calculated in NSW using a percentage system to try and scale injuries according to their seriousness. The rating determines the WPI payout amount, which is a lump sum payment that compensates you for the effect the work injury has had on your life. If your WPI is 11% or higher (15% or higher for a psychological injury), you are entitled to a lump sum amount of compensation. This lump sum claim is in addition to any weekly payments and medical expenses that you are already entitled to.

What is a whole person impairment scale/rating?

Whole Personal Impairment is the method used to assess the permanent impairment. The medical assessor will clinically assess an injured worker to determine the % whole personal impairment that will be applied due to the injury.

Injury Impairment rating
Fusion or Disc Surgery to the Lumbar Spine 21 – 25%
Fusion or Disc Surgery to the Cervical Sine 25 – 28%
Shoulder – loss of range of motion 25 – 8%
Hip Replacement 15 – 30%

 

Whole Person Impairment Table NSW 2022-23

Impairment rating range Whole person impairment payout range
11% to 21% $22,480 to $51,880
22% to 31% $54,820 to $83,040
32% and over $87,880 up to $665,260

What is the process for making a whole person impairment claim?

In order to make a WPI claim in NSW there are several steps that you must follow. Your lawyer will help you along the way, and that is why it is extremely important to get in touch with one if you think you may have a claim. Outlined below are the steps that you will take on your way to a lump sum payment for whole person impairment.

How do I qualify for a whole person impairment claim?

To qualify for a WPI claim, you’ll need a medical assessment from a SIRA certified doctor for two reasons:

  • To assess whether your compensable injury has reached a level of maximum medical improvement. A compensable injury refers to an injury that arises out of or in the course of your employment. Maximum medical improvement means that your injury is unlikely to change within the next 12 months. This usually does not occur until at least one year following the injury once all surgery has been completed, however, each case is different.
  • To assess whether your injury has resulted in a permanent impairment of at least 10%.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to qualify for a whole person impairment claim:

  1. The first, and most crucial, step is to contact a lawyer who is an accredited specialist. All lawyers at Garling and Co are accredited specialists.
  2. Once your injury has stabilised and reached maximum medical improvement, your lawyer will refer you to a medico-legal doctor who assesses your level of permanent impairment. If your injury is not at this stage yet, be patient. The doctor will not be able to assess you until your injury will not heal any further. Learn more about how doctors assess the level of WPI for spinal injury claims here.
  3. The medico-legal doctor will assess your level of impairment based on the AMA permanent impairment assessment guidelines. They will assess whether your condition is stable and if your impairment is permanent.
  4. If the doctor assesses you as above 11% for a physical injury, and 15% for a psychological injury, notify your lawyer. They will assist you in submitting a claim to your workers compensation insurer.

 

How do I make the claim for whole person impairment?

  1. Get in touch with an accredited specialist lawyer to assist you with making the claim. Your level of permanent impairment must have been assessed to be higher than 11% for a physical injury, or 15% for a psychological injury. Your lawyer will assist you with making the claim to your workers compensation insurer.
  2. Your insurer will review your claim and decide whether to accept or reject it. If your claim is accepted, you will be entitled to a lump sum payment based on your level of WPI. If your claim is rejected do not get disheartened. It is very common that WPI claims are rejected by insurers. An accredited specialist is used to disputing and appealing these decisions, and at Garling and Co, all of our lawyers are accredited specialists.
  3. If your claim is rejected, the Personal Injury Commission will appoint an Independent doctor who will assess your level of WPI.

Some additional tips to keep in mind when making a WPI claim. 

  • You can only make one claim for permanent impairment.
  • You must have a WPI of 15% or more to make a negligence claim.
  • You must have a WPI of 21% or more to receive weekly payments for longer than 5 years.

Garling & Co Lawyers’ top tips for making a whole person impairment claim

Here are some tips that may be useful when making a claim for WPI.

  • Keep good records of your injury. This includes medical records, rehabilitation records and any other documentation that supports your claim.
  • Be persistent. The claim process is lengthy. It often takes multiple years to conclude. Do not get discouraged if you feel as though your claim is not being completed.
  • Do not give up. If your claim is denied and you have a good case, you should appeal the decision.
  • Stay patient. Some injuries can take years to stabilise. Most cases you will have to wait at least a year before your injuries can be assessed, as they have not reached maximum medical improvement.

FAQ

What are the differences between the lump sum payment and weekly payments?

A lump sum payment is the amount of money you can claim for a percentage of whole person impairment. Weekly payments are payments that you receive from your insurer, usually from the date of your injury to cover any wage loss. Such payments are made fortnightly into your bank account.

Does the whole person impairment assessment affect any claim for negligence against my employer?

Yes, you will need to reach a WPI of at least 15% to make a work injury damages claim for negligence against your employer.

Can psychologists assess whole person impairment?

No, only SIRA approved psychiatrists can assess permanent impairment for WPI claims.

Thank you for reading our article. We hope it helped your understanding of Whole Person Impairment. Should you have any further questions, please contact our office at (02) 8329 9500 or complete a free case assessment here.

Garling & Co Lawyers

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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