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8.4.3 Impairment of speech
An impairment of the power of speech caused by a compensable injury is compensated at a rate determined by the percentage of impairment because of the effect of S39(10) of the 1971 Act which states:
39(10) The compensation payable under this Act in respect of an injury resulting in an impairment of speech of an employee is such percentage of the amount of compensation that would be payable under this section in respect of an injury resulting in total loss of power of speech by the employee as is reasonable having regard to the extent to which the speech of the employee immediately before the injury was impaired by the injury.
In determining what is a reasonable percentage for the loss, the Delegate should have regard to:
- the extent of any speech impairment immediately before the injury, and
- the extent of the speech impairment after the injury.
The percentage for the purposes of this question is the percentage reduction as a result of the injury not the absolute percentage of loss. This means that a member who had a 40% impairment before injury and an 80% impairment after injury would be entitled to two thirds, or 5066.67% of the statutory rate. This is worked out by taking the pre-injury functional capability (100-40=60) and the post-injury functional capability (100-80=20), to find the reduction (60-20=40), which can then be represented as a proportion of the pre-injury functional capability ( [40/60] x 100 = 66.67% ).
The level of impairment of speech accepted by the Delegate should be based on expert medical evidence by a specialist or by a speech therapist who is fully accredited in this field.