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10.7.2 Significance of recognising sequelae ('extending liability')


Previously, an injury and its sequelae were often regarded as a single compensable unit, i.e. similar to the situation where multiple injuries are received in a single vehicle accident. However, this has changed since the High Court decision in Canute v Comcare which indicated that once a condition has been determined as an injury as defined by the Act, it is thereafter treated on its own merits. The importance of a sequelae is in the liability process – to link the sequalae to being service related – requires the delegate to look at a connection between the original accepted condition and the sequelae. If such a connection is established and liability can then be accepted for the sequelae it then essentially becomes a 'stand alone' condition for the purposes of compensation such as permanent impairment.

However, if liability for the original condition were to be revoked, for example there was clearly no evidence to link the original condition with service based on the evidence available to the delegate at the time and the decision was clearly wrong on the face of the record, then any sequalae conditions which had subsequently been decided may also require to be revoked. Care would need to be taken to ensure that the 'sequelae' condition did not on its own merits satisfy a connection to service irrespective of the original condition.