What role does the Independent Review Office (IRO) play in a workers compensation claim?

Quick answer

In NSW, the Independent Review Office (IRO) is the government agency that funds all workers compensation claims. This means we can help you free of charge.

After an initial phone consultation, your lawyer will apply for IRO funding on your behalf. This covers all our legal fees and additional costs, leaving you with absolutely nothing to pay.

For free assistance with your workers compensation claim, speak to one of our expert lawyers today.

In depth answer

All workers compensation claims in NSW are funded through the Independent Review Office (IRO).

What is the IRO?

The IRO is a government agency that provides free legal representation for people injured at work or in a motor vehicle accident. In workers compensation cases, they handle disputes between injured workers and insurance companies, ensuring workers receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses.

What role does the IRO play in my workers compensation claim?

The IRO covers both lawyers fees and disbursements, which are any other costs related to your claim. Disbursements can include medical records, interpreters, administration costs and expert reports.

You can seek the IRO’s help with:

  • Investigating a potential claim.
  • Making a claim.
  • Resolving an insurer dispute.
  • Challenging a denied claim.
  • Death benefits.
  • Disputes or appeals before the Personal Injury Commission (PIC).

How do I get funding for my workers compensation claim?

Speak to one of our expert lawyers and let them handle the rest. Once we have the details of your claim, we will apply to the IRO for funding on your behalf. At the same time, we’ll also issue you with a costs agreement to confirm no legal fees are payable.

The IRO will then review your application and approve or decline it within 5 days. Since the IRO has a presumption in favour of funding, it’s likely your application will be approved. Upon their approval, the IRO will outline the stage of funding you’ve received. There are 4 separate stages of funding:

Stage 1 – Preliminary Legal Advice

This is funding for early legal advice only, including advice on whether you have a potential claim or dispute. At this stage, we can also complete your work injury claim form and make preliminary enquiries into your case.

Stage 2 – Investigations and Claims

At this stage, we will conduct further investigations and attempt to resolve the claim as quickly as possible for you. We’ll also obtain medical and other expert evidence.

Stage 3 – Proceedings in the Personal Injury Commission

If we’re unable to resolve your claim early, this funding allows the matter to proceed to the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC).

In the case of a dispute, the IRO will only grant Stage 3 funding if:

  • The matter concerns more than $3,000, or
  • The worker is experiencing financial hardship, or
  • It is in the public interest to grant funding.

Stage 4 – Appeals and Reconsiderations

The IRO will grant Stage 4 funding if there are reasonable grounds to appeal a decision. This includes legal representation by a barrister.

What happens once my funding is approved?

After your funding is approved, we’ll process your claim based on the stage of funding received. Your lawyer will continue to handle all communication with the IRO and keep you updated on the progress of your claim. You will not need to deal with the IRO, nor will you have to pay any legal costs.

What happens if my funding is not approved?

In the unlikely event it’s not approved, your lawyer will outline your next steps. Importantly, you will never be liable for legal costs or disbursements even if funding isn’t approved.

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