Medical Assessment Tribunal must consider ALL the evidence

Medical Assessment Tribunal must consider ALL the evidence

If you are injured in a workplace incident, and lodge a Workers Compensation claim, you may ultimately have to present before the Medical Assessment Tribunal (MAT). The MAT is a panel of medical specialists who are empanelled to determine a person’s ‘degree of permanent impairment’ (DPI) expressed as a percentage. This is significant for a several reasons, including the level of compensation you may be entitled to receive. Section 515(1) of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) provides that a decision by the MAT on medical matters is final, and is not subject to legal challenge. That does not, however, prohibit review under the Judicial Review Act 1991.

The Supreme Court of Qld reminded those that sit on the Medical Assessment Tribunal of their obligation to properly consider all relevant evidence regarding an injured worker’s condition. In Wills v State of Queensland [2016] QSC 80 the MAT had assessed an injured worker as having a 5% DPI, and as required provided written reasons as to how it came to its decision. The assessment was challenged on a number of grounds, the main thrust of those was the failure of the MAT to properly follow the ‘Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment’ (GEPI) and consider all relevant evidence in the evaluation of a psychiatric injury. It appeared to the Court, at least with respect to some of the assessment, that there was no ‘…active intellectual engagement with the decision between class 1 and class 2 of PIRS category, in light of the complete absence of any discussion of the evidence relevant to the decision’, and that ‘…one cannot discern from its decision the actual path or reasoning by which the tribunal arrived at the classification decision in relation to PIRS category 1’. [PIRS stands for the Psychiatric Impairment Rating Scale]. The Court found the same lack of reasoning with respect to other PIRS ratings.

It may be in your best interest to seek legal advice about a DPI you receive in a Notice of Assessment issued by Workcover.

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