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4.4.3 Effect of a reassessment

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The amount of compensation payable following a reassessment is based on the percentage increase in impairment combined WPI (at current rates) with the delegate being required to state what the previous WPI amounts were for each impairment. Any increase in WPI for hearing loss is included in the combined calculation however, as mentioned below, impairment are only combined in specific situations.    

In Comcare v Mihajlovic (2000) FCA285, the Federal Court held that an overall whole person increase of 10% was required to attract further compensation (excepting the impairments specified in S24(8) – fingers, toes, sense of taste and sense of smell, and loss of hearing which is covered by S24(7A) and S25(5)). In that case, one of the applicant's impairments had increased by 10%, however her WPI had increased by only 1% due to changes in her other reassessed impairments. However following the Canute decision, separate injuries and injuries which arise from, occur subsequent to, or are caused by the initial injury or associated treatment (often referred to as sequela conditions) are assessed separately and not combined with other injuries. They must therefore meet the definition for an injury, be investigated fully with liability accepted, and, by themselves, satisfy the 10% WPI threshold in order to be compensable (with the exception of claims for hearing loss).

Note: Should the reassessment result in entitlement to a lesser sum than has already been paid no overpayment exists, unless there was some error at law in the original assessment.

References
  • Comcare v Mihajlovic (FC 00/0285, 16 March 2000) : 10% increase in overall degree of permanent impairment
  • Dimitriou and Comcare (1997) 26 AAR 278 : Interim payments – possible improvement after surgery