Reconsiderations and Appeals
The claims decision making processes, as well as the review and appeals processes, under the SRC Act are significantly different to those under most of the state and territory-based workers' compensation schemes.
Strict time limits apply to all review and appeal processes. It is important that you seek legal advice as quickly as possible so that you can protect your interests.
After lodging your initial claim for compensation, your employer or their insurer will make a decision about whether the injury you have sustained is a work-related injury that you are entitled to receive compensation for. This decision is often made under section 14 of the SRC Act.
Your employer will usually also make a decision about whether you are entitled to compensation for loss of income (usually under section 19 of the SRC Act) and/or compensation for medical expenses (under section 16). Your employer or their insurer is likely to issue a new decision every time you make a further claim for loss of income or for medical expenses.
If you lodge a claim for compensation for permanent impairment, your employer or their insurer will make a new decision accepting or rejecting your claim.
Requests for Reconsideration
If you receive an adverse initial decision from your employer or their insurer, you can request a reconsideration of that decision.
A reconsideration is conducted 'on the papers' through a review of all material on your claim file and any additional evidence or submissions you provide during the reconsideration process.
Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
If you receive an adverse reconsideration decision, you can appeal that decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
An appeal to the AAT is ultimately conducted through a hearing before a AAT Member, which is in some ways similar to a trial (for example, witnesses are usually called to give evidence in person and are cross-examined).
Prior to hearing, an appeal to the AAT progresses through a series of pre-hearing conferences and processes, often including a conciliation before the AAT.
Appeals to the Federal Court of Australia
If you receive an adverse decision from the AAT, you can appeal to the Federal Court of Australia.
An appeal to the Federal Court can only be brought on the basis of an error of law and will be heard by a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia.