What steps should I take if I suffer an injury leading to total & permanent disability?

Published 12 May 2016

Total and permanent disabilities (TPDs) are ailments that either prevent you from working in a job you were previously skilled enough to perform, or stop you from pursuing a career at all.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with TPDs; serious disabilities can often cause physical, emotional and financial strain. Furthermore, the symptoms and treatments for TPDs can vary dramatically - some conditions are purely physical, while others are psychological, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nevertheless, there are several steps you should take if you've recently developed a disability that could prevent you from re-entering the workplace permanently or, at least, stop you from taking up your previous role.

1. Confirm with a doctor

If you've suffered a serious accident, illness or other traumatic incident, chances are you're receiving treatment from medical practitioners. On the other hand, some people who experience mental health problems may not yet have been diagnosed.

Either way, seeking confirmation from a doctor that you have a TPD is important, as you may want to make a claim against your superannuation fund or insurance. Policies often require proof of your condition from a medical practitioner before accepting a claim.

2. Check your policy

Your superannuation or insurance policy will likely have clauses relating to TPDs, outlining the stipulations for receiving lump sum payments if you develop a career-ending disability. However, every policy is different, so make sure you check what conditions are covered, as well as your compensation entitlements and any requirements you have to meet.

TPD payouts are often considerable, particularly for people at the beginning of their working life, which means it's often in the fund or insurer's best interests to reject your claim. Try to avoid this by checking the small print on your policy and following all the relevant criteria during the claims process.

3. Contact a TPD claims lawyer

Whether your claim has already been rejected or you're looking for advice on how to begin pursuing a TPD payout, you should discuss your needs with an experienced superannuation disputes lawyer.

The best no-win, no-fee firms will examine your policy and gather evidence on your behalf in order to help you access the financial support you need in the aftermath of suffering a disability. Every case is different, so guaranteeing a result is impossible, but qualified lawyers can give you an accurate assessment of your case's chance of success.

For more information on how to file a TPD claim, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners today.

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