By: Marisha Mees – Senior Solicitor
If you have suffered a serious physical or psychological injury or illness at work, you could be eligible for worker’s compensation. As part of the worker’s compensation claims process, you may be asked to attend a Medical Assessment Tribunal (MAT).
Here, our worker’s compensation experts explain what to expect at the MAT and share tips on what to consider before attending.
What is the Medical Assessment Tribunal?
The MAT performs part of the functions of the Workers’ Compensation Regulator in making independent, expert medical decisions about work-related injuries or impairment.
Why have I been referred to the Medical Assessment Tribunal?
You may be referred to attend the MAT if the Insurer, such as WorkCover, have:
- conflicting medical opinions in regards to whether your injury was caused by your employment
- to decide if you have an ongoing incapacity for work as a result of your work-related injury
- to determine your physical or psychiatric degree of permanent impairment, or
- you disagree with the assessment of permanent impairment.
Please note that all psychiatric injuries must be referred to a Tribunal to determine permanent impairment.
Where is the Medical Assessment Tribunal held?
Generally, MAT hearings are conducted in person in a dedicated Tribunal room located in Brisbane. However, on occasion, an assessment may be conducted remotely via video conference.
Can I request that I be referred to the Tribunal?
Yes, in some circumstances it is open to the injured worker to request for their matter to be referred to a MAT.
Can I bring a support person with me?
Yes, you can bring a support person to the MAT. This can be your partner, a family member, or a friend. However, it’s important to note that your support person will not be able to speak on your behalf.
If you choose to have a legal representative present, be mindful that there may be costs associated with this.
What to expect when I arrive?
If you’re going to the MAT for a psychiatric injury, your hearing will be in an interview-style with a panel of three specialists. You will be asked several questions about how your injury currently impacts you.
If you have a physical injury, again this will be before a panel of three doctors, however, you will be required to undergo a physical examination. Your support person will not be able to attend your physical examination.
How long will it take?
The examination will take approximately one hour and all hearings are audio recorded, subject to the consent of all participants.
How long after my assessment before I receive a medical assessment tribunal decision?
Usually, the decision of the MAT will be completed and sent out to you within two weeks of your hearing (by email or hard copy via post). If you have legal representation attending with you and if you consent, they will also receive a copy of the findings.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
If it’s a physical injury you may be asked to bring any radiology films with you. Or, you may be asked to sign an authority that will allow the Tribunal doctors to obtain a copy of your radiology findings electronically.
Can I provide additional information to the MAT?
You will receive advice from the MAT when your matter has been allocated a hearing date. You will also be allowed to provide any additional information which must be received ten days before your hearing. You must also provide a copy of any additional information to the Insurer, whether this be WorkCover or a self-insurer.
Can I appeal a medical assessment tribunal decision?
MAT decisions are final. However, you may be able to dispute a decision of the Tribunal if one of the following applies:-
- You have obtained new medical evidence within twelve months after your hearing; or
- You make an application for judicial review with the Supreme Court.