TPD claimant fails to win superannuation dispute appeal

Published 30 Apr 2015

Not all total and permanent disability (TPD) claims are successful, which is why seeking the advice of an experienced superannuation disputes lawyer should always be at the top of your mind.

An expert legal team should be able to assess your case and inform you whether or not your claim is likely to succeed if you choose to go ahead.

Unfortunately, a man who recently pursued a TPD claim at the NSW Supreme Court found out just how tricky securing compensation can be in complex cases. The original trial judge rejected his claim, so he lodged an appeal to overturn the decision.

The automotive worker seriously injured his right wrist when he hyperextended a ligament while lifting a heavy gearbox. Through his superannuation fund, the man was entitled to compensation if the injury was classified as a TPD under the terms of the contract.

Specifically, the policy read that an individual would be considered permanently disabled if they were "incapacitated to such an extent as to render the insured person unlikely ever to engage in or work for reward in any occupation or work which the insured person is reasonably capable of performing by reason of education, training or experience".

Superannuation appeal rejected

Despite his appeal, the man failed to convince the appellate judges that he was totally and permanently disabled in accordance with the superannuation policy.

The fund that provided coverage claimed the plaintiff's education and experience enabled him to instead work as motor vehicle parts interpreter or as a sales assistant. Roles in customer services and consulting were also a possibility.

According to the original judge, as there were reasonable jobs open to the claimant, he did not qualify for a TPD payout. The man argued that these positions would require him to undertake considerable further training.

However, the judge said the training was not outside the scope of what should be expected from an individual looking to secure employment and disagreed that it would require substantial effort.

The appellate judges reiterated this position, stating that no errors had been made in handing down the original ruling. Therefore, the man's TPD claim, which would have resulted in a $93,000 lump sum if successful, was again rejected.

If you would like to learn more about superannuation disputes, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners. We can provide a free consultation to evaluate whether or not you're eligible to make a claim against your insurance policy.

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