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5.3.2 The duration of the impairment

When considering whether an impairment is likely to continue indefinitely the delegate should give consideration to duration of the impairment.  The use of the word “indefinite” indicates that an impairment does not need to last forever to be considered “permanent”.  Instead, it should be taken to refer to a period of time which, although undetermined, is substantial (McDonald v Director-General of Social Security (1984) 6 ALD 6).  In some cases, such as an amputation, the permanency of the impairment will be obvious.  However, where such as a fracture of the limb, an impairment is known to be of a likely finite duration it should not be considered permanent.  However, if such an impairment fails to resolve for a considerable period of time and the medical evidence suggests that long-term prognosis for resolution is poor, it may be appropriate to review the question of permanence.