1. Mr Schroeder injured his back in the course of his employment on 27 March 2012. This injury was found to be compensable. By way of Determination dated 10 May 2013, weekly payments of compensation were ceased as Mr Schroeder had returned to work.
2. Immediately prior to the designated date (1 July 2015) Mr Schroeder had no entitlement to receive weekly payments. Mr Schroeder underwent surgery on 30 March 2016, for which the respondent paid, as a consequence of his compensable injury. Mr Schroeder subsequently claimed weekly payments of compensation. The compensating authority rejected this claim.
3. DPJ Farrell accepted that between the period of 1 May 2013 and 30 March 2016 Mr Schroeder was partially incapacitated for work as a result of his 27 March 2012 lower back injury. Further, Her Honour accepted that Mr Schroeder was totally incapacitated for work for a period of 6 weeks following surgery, and partially incapacitated for work thereafter.
4. In accordance with Watkins, Her Honour was satisfied that Mr Schroeder should be regarded as having a ‘new Act’ injury due to his lower back condition being attributable partially to a trauma before (injury on 27 March 2012) and partially to trauma after (surgery on 30 March 2016) the designated date.
5. Mr Schroeder was therefore not able to claim weekly payments for any period longer than that which would have been applicable under a 39(3) of the RTWA had his original injury occurred on or after 1 July 2015. Mr Schroeder’s designated entitlement period therefore commenced 27 March 2012 and concluded 26 March 2014.
6. DPJ Farrell considered that if the full bench decision in Watkins is not upheld, then Mr Schroeder should be regarded as having an ‘existing injury’. In this case, Clause 37(6) of the RTWA would apply to deny him any entitlement to weekly payments of compensation for that existing injury unless there was an actual entitlement to weekly payments as at 1 July 2015 (as in Pennington). Mr Schroeder had no entitlement to receive weekly payments of compensation pursuant to the WRCA as he had returned to work despite his partial incapacity.
7. Her Honour did not accept that Mr Schroeder’s surgery on 30 March 2016 was a new injury and did not permit the clock to recommence with respect to his entitlement to weekly payments.
8. The Applications for Review were dismissed.
Disclaimer: This is a case summary only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.