What is a Medical Assessment Tribunal (MAT)?
MAT’s are set up to provide independent expert medical opinions about a worker’s injuries and any permanent impairment. The MAT is made up of a panel of specialist doctors. Doctors can apply to sit on the panel, but are only appointed if they can demonstrate a very high level of expertise and experience. The MAT is utilised specifically for referring injured workers who are in the process of claiming compensation.
Only WorkCover can make a referral to the MAT. WorkCover must advise you that the issue for determination is being referred to the MAT before sending any paperwork to the Regulator for processing.
When Does an Injured Person Attend a Medical Assessment Tribunal?
Referrals to the MAT are made when there are conflicting medical opinions about the nature of the injury or whether the injury was caused by the work. This dispute may be a disagreement on whether the worker’s employment was a significant contributing factor to their injury, but also whether or not the injury is going to cause ongoing incapacity to work.
The majority of appointments with the MAT are made six to eight weeks from the date of the referral. As these appointments are made in advance, extra information or documentation that comes to light will need to be provided to the Medical Assessment Tribunal no later than 10 days prior to their appointment.
The MAT sits at 347 Ann Street, Brisbane, close to Central train station. It is located within the Office of Industrial Relations.
What to Expect from a Medical Assessment
A worker attending the MAT will usually be examined by three specialists, depending on the nature of the injury. They usually last somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes, where the parties visiting will be examined by the tribunal members. This will include a discussion about the medical aspects of the injury sustained in the line of work. A physical examination may also take place in cases of physical injury.
The Tribunal Members will be provided with medical information regarding your workers’ compensation claim from the insurer. As the worker, you can also provide medical evidence you have obtained which the MAT may consider in their final verdict.
If you choose to do so, you can ask for a legal or union representative to accompany you to the Medical Assessment Tribunal. The potential cost of this will fall to the worker. Workers may also ask for a support person to attend the hearing, which is allowed too. This may include a spouse, friend or colleague. However, they do not have the same level of access to the process as a legal or union representative does.
The Tribunal members are specialists in their relevant fields. Attempts are made to ensure the doctors on the MAT have had no prior association with the injured worker.
Medical Assessment Tribunal Decisions
The decision handed down from the Medical Assessment Tribunal will usually take around 10 days to be finalised. If there are delays, you will be notified. Delays may come about as a result of more information being required.
The injured worker, the insurer and any legal representative will all receive the verdict at the same time and will be communicated formally in writing.
Decisions from the Medical Assessment Tribunal are final and cannot be changed after they have been handed down.
If you’re attending an appointment before the MAT and are unsure about what to expect, feel free to contact us at GC Law for free no obligation advice.