May 18, 2012

Your Stories

At any one time there are 120,000 people recovering from a workplace injury in NSW. These are the stories of some of those 120,000 people.

Feel free to add your own story  or ask a question.

If you need assistance please contact us on:
(02) 9749 7566 or
email: help@injuredworkerssuport.org.au
If you are in immediate distress 
Before you post please read our comments policy.

Please do not use your real name or include any specific personal details for your own safety. If you wish to ask a specific question you can email us at: help@iwsn.org.au

  • Cole Barnes

    Sadly you cannot trust anyone, I worked in aged care in NSW from 2006- late 2009
    I then moved to be near my family in QLD in Oct 2009, in November I started working again in aged care but low care instead of the extremely high care nursing I done in Sydney, In April 2008 I was attacked by a Dementia patient with my back slammed into a wall, I was on work cover and at the same time my Treating doctor was unwell and would eventually be diagnosed with terminal cancer, he filled out WC paperwork stating Back and Neck injury, he sent me to physio for my cervical spine, he took X-rays of my cervical and Thoracic region and sent me to a vascular surgeon for my sciatica symptoms, I was eventually to return to work doing light duties then back to normal duties, eventually my Doctor passed away.
    In December 2010 my back and Neck injury flared up to where I had to cease work, In 2012 I had my first spinal fusion to my L4,L5,S1 through my stomach and again in 2013 same disc through my back, I hired a lawyer to act for me in Jan 2011, 7 years later my lawyer took my case to arbitration
    My Doctors medical files went missing so I had no medical notes, my physio who done heat treatment to my lower back only documents work he done to my cervical
    My X-ray was to the cervical and Thoracic
    So Arbitration made NSW liable for my cervical and thoracic only
    Even though my whole back was slammed into a concrete wall and my back deteriorated at the same time means nothing to the system, I have documentation with the same symptoms the vascular surgeon documented on other Documents, I have reports by independent medical examiners agreeing my back in due to my work, I have doctors reports also agreeing that my whole back injury is due to my work, but the missing medical notes from my treating doctor has made my situation hard for my lumber as his notes would states my lower back pain, but it’s now my work without my medical file.
    WC aims to push u back to work then when you go back and work till you can’t no more they use that against you, trust no one, I have been failed by lawyers, work cover, my Doctor who left his wife in charge, so she ended up sending my file off to my next doctor who requested them without keeping copies and without registering the post, so all I have been told is that my medical notes was lost in the post.
    Surprisingly everything has worked against me for a claim for a frank injury, although I have documentation stated the heavy workload of aged care was a contributing factor my lawyer closed my case and told me to try my luck in QLD, the problem there is my lawyer practiced in both NSW and QLD and knew because they spent 7 years on my case all limitation periods has expired, my next problem was all my evidence lays in NSW, I had a QLD lawyer go over everything free of charge as she was trying to help and was happy to take my case on if there was a case, but she said all my evidence lays in NSW, I have been thrown from one state to another thanks to jurisdiction and dividing Australia into sections.
    So tell me where is it that the injured workers is protected, and how is it right for us injured workers to seek legal help when most the time you cannot trust or rely on your lawyer, I was failed by the justice system, the medical system and WC.
    I cannot work but have no choice but to find someone who would hire an injured worker
    As I cannot afford to pay for my medical cost on unemployment, and my travel cost as I live 4-5 hours away from my surgeon/specialist as there is no orthopaedic surgeons where I live, the closest orthopaedic surgeons is Brisbane.
    So please explain how injured workers can rely on the whole system, when a physiotherapist doesn’t Document everything he does because the doctor sent you for cervical and he done extra work to the lower back as I complained about lower back pain, but surprisingly nothing was documented, I don’t lie, I worked in nursing and know how important documentation is, I still have my incident form and all my paperwork but even through my whole back was slammed into the concrete wall, WC and the system finds ways out of it.
    I was assessed at having a percentage of incapacitation of 26% for my lumber spine, I paid for all my medical treatment.
    I know have my cervical spine worse and will eventually require surgery
    And my T10-T11 is contacting the spinal cord.
    Why unable to work and unemployed I’m left paying for all my medical treatments for my back injury.

  • Aurelia Destiny

    Hi, Im from Canberra. I lost my job in February of this year due to a bad car accident which injured my back and neck in August of last year. I developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), Major Depression and Agoraphobia (A fear of leaving my home and being around people) due to the car accident and I also have a Gynaecological disability called Endometriosis. I am unable to work due to these reasons and I am in a great deal of pain and suffering. Although I am on Newstart Allowance with Centrelink, on an exemption so that I don’t have to work, the entire pay goes to the rent, leaving me nothing to buy food, medication or bills. I have two rescue cats to feed who don’t understand why I have to cut down their food and why I can’t even change their cat litter often. I’m all on my own and I can’t even cook to feed myself, or clean.

    The insurance company, starts with a Q (I won’t mention the whole name in case I get in trouble) refused to give me any help regarding my former wages. They said that I was fired due to performance, which was caused my pain, heavy painkillers, and my aforementioned disabilities as a result. I got a Lawyer but the insurer and their Lawyer are trying to prove that I’m not injured or in psychological hell. I got sent to a Medico-Legal Doctor who said that I was faking everything. Who would be faking living in such hell?? I can’t leave my house without having anxiety attacks, I get them all day along with the flashbacks, I don’t want to sleep because of the nightmare and only only sleep every 4-6 days because I’m afraid to fall asleep, I’m scared all the time and pain never goes. I spend all day and night in bed staring at the wall. I have two Doctors, a Psychologist, a Psychiatrist and a Pain Clinic who all believe my pain and mental issues. I can’t believe that doesn’t count for anything.

    I’m taking the insurer to the High Court because they wanted to settle on an amount that wouldn’t even last me a year of bills and food and rent and also paying for all of my medical people and a specialist to help my neck and back injury. It took them A YEAR to send me to a Specialist! My lawyer had to order it. I’ve been to one session at CIMC and now I’m told that the insurer hasn’t even approved more sessions. I have been told by my medical people that I can’t work for 2-3 years at the minimum.

    I applied for the Disability Allowance and am over 30 points on the Mental Disability table, but Centrelink rejected my claim and said that I didn’t have enough points. I objected and it got escalated but I’ve heard nothing in 9 weeks.

    I really don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t work. I’m barely surviving. I’m not coping at all and my Psychologist says I’m getting worse. My pain is worse and the Pain Clinic can confirm. As of tomorrow, Saint Vincent De Paul stops helping me with food and medication. I now can’t get either. I’m out of options.

    It all comes down to this; nobody cares that you’re suffering and they don’t even want to try. In the end you’re all alone.

  • aussiemike

    I am an Australian injured worker who has been abandoned by the new Workers Compensation regulations. Because I live in the United Kingdom I get no support when they cut my weekly payments in 2018. If I want to appeal against their decision to cut my weekly payments granted under a court award I must return to Australia AT MY OWN EXPENSE. I am on Workers Compensation payments! How am I supposed to pay to return to Australia?

    I was injured in 1994 when I damaged 2 discs in my lower back when a truck wheel fell on me. I was assessed in 2003 as having a WPI of 16% and have not improved and continue to decline in condition, but the insurance company had me assessed even though my condition has not reached a stable condition. The most recent assessment in 2017 deemed me to have a WPI of 5%. I cannot see how that is possible? How does a PERMANENT IMPAIRMENT improve by 11% in 14 years?

    When they cut my payments I do not know what I am going to do. I have children to support and although I have genuinely tried for the whole time I have been injured I have not been able to get to a stage where I can be gainfully employed or earn enough to live on. Now at 53 years of age I am almost unemployable with my injury.

    Does anyone care? Not while I live in the UK apparently. My family is here and it is not possible for me to return to Australia. The system here is not willing to support me because this is an Australian matter that should be dealt with and paid for by the NSW system, the same system that is throwing me and thousands like me on the scrapheap.

    I wish the people of NSW and Australia would wake up to what is happening to us, and what could happen to them and their loved ones if they are ever injured at work.

    I live in hope that SOMETHING or SOMEONE might have some common decency towards the injured workers and change the act or repeal the draconian measures now in place, and for what? For the financial benefit of those that do not need the support.

    Regards
    Mike

  • Craig Beaumen

    I was becoming well prepared for further study and a newer work and when I packed to leave Victoria after a family reunion, I had just a week of looking around Sydney and visiting friends before I managed a ride to Wisemans ferry. Here there was an old officer whom had served as a British Officer during World War Two and after retiring has written many books about the Buddha and the Eastern Religion. It was a remote place and I was very pleased to gain some knowledge here while doing volunteer duty with an understanding of being looked after in return with some study concepts and learning plus board.

  • Lenny Burger

    I had been on here for a work injury before, the result of which was my GP got tricked into signing me off as 100% fit to return to work even though I wasn’t. I was carrying my elbow injury only a few months into my new job, taking Nurofen daily, until my lower back started hurting. I pushed on with the lower back pain, sciatic pain, leg pain and nerve symptoms in my foot with all the maximum amounts of over the counter drugs but eventually had to see a neuro. Turns out I had a bulging disc in my spine [L5-S1]. More pain killers and bit of time off, but I had to keep working to pay the mortgage. Eventually they ended up firing me because of all the time off and the risk of working construction whilst on opiates [Was getting tired and dizzy while up on ladders and stuff].
    For a while I was stuck on Centerlink until I decided to get it claimed by worker’s comp. Up till that point I wasn’t keen to go back on it after the previous 18 months experience with my elbow, but we couldn’t survive on the dole. They accepted the claim and I started the long path of scans, injections, specialist visits, more scans, pain clinics, the impossible public waiting list, physical therapy, different pain killers and not getting anywhere with any of it. My neurosurgeon, a medico-legal second opinion and even the insurer’s own specialist said if nothing else worked that surgery was warranted. Yet, after the last round of PT and no improvement, the insurer refused to cover the cost of surgery. I was aghast. They can refuse treatment, for no apparent reason and neither myself or my solicitors can do anything to force them to pay. The only option was to pay for it myself and claim for reimbursement. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare $54k lying around, as I’d been on 60% wages for the last year and barely survived week to week. I almost gave up till I found out I could get my superannuation released under compassionate grounds, for chronic pain. Well, thankfully I now had an understanding GP and both he and the specialist signed the paperwork and I got the money released just days before the big operation.
    I am now 2 weeks post op and the pain relief is amazing. No more leg pain, foot pain and my spine though tender from the procedure, looks to be a lot better too. I am hoping for a full recovery, but it will take some time to heal and build up my strength. Now we are going to pursue the insurer to reimburse my costs, which I really hope they cough up the cash for. My super nest egg has all but disappeared and I can’t get back a good portion which went to the tax man.
    Due to the fusion and my continuing elbow issues, I am not even going to consider returning to being a sparky. The next vertebrae up is also looking a bit susceptible so I don’t want to go through this again. It’ll be interesting to see what the insurer expects of me, if they are going to force me back to the tools. That would be very risky, so I am hoping they either re-train me for something else or at least give me a decent settlement so I can reinvent myself at 46 years of age. What that change will be I have no idea yet, but it is unlikely to be anything related to my previous 25 years of work, due to the poor job prospects in anything around the electrical industry that doesn’t involve using tools. Good luck to everyone, I hope we all get some fairness from this corrupt and self-serving system. We deserve much more than what we’ve been getting. The passion I feel about this issue may even sway my future aspirations towards being an advocate for the injured workers, maybe even a politician [Oh dear!], but how else are we going to get this abortion of a system fixed up? I want to make a difference, but posting on forums and writing to members of parliament just isn’t going to do enough.

    • sam

      can i go directly for councliation in court without my lawyer ? because i lost all hopes on people i thought they help me as a injured worker.
      do i need to pay all the lawyers fee before i come out of my case with them and get all the medical reports and paper works ?

  • Josse Hoddgie

    Insurance company sent a friend of mind to an assessment she got a 4% WPI from the orthopedic Dr ,
    She chose to be assessed by her independent neurologist he have her 63% as it’s nerve related pain
    As far as I know her lawyer sent that report to challenge the insurer
    It’s now a waiting game for her
    She’s had 23 proceduress to date and none have been successful
    I dare say her insurer will disagree and then she will have to go to the compensation commission what she dreds is having to be subjected to another painful examination
    Does anyone have any thing similar happen to them how does this work will the commission send her for another axamination or will they see by the reports and past treatment its nerve and just grant her the 63%
    She is terribly worried about her future
    I wish I could do more for her

    • Josse Hoddgie

      Any help at all??

    • Tell your friend to read our Workers Comp Handbook for further information which may be useful. There isn’t much to ad on the technical front. It seems a significant difference between the two assessments which, yes, will probably lead down the track of an court appointed assessment. 63% is a significantly high rate of disability.

      • Josse Hoddgie

        She was told her pain stems from crps 1 … with irriversable effects does anyone know much about this condition

    • My older bros’ youngest bro

      Hi Josse,
      I’m not sure where you are but in NSW the is a document call Guidelines for Claiming Workers Compensation download able from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) this will spell out the way the Workers Comp system works in NSW. The insurer does have the right to send the claimant to a number of differentSK THEM TO. Which you may request because you thought that Independent Medical Examiner (IME) did not report fairly the circumstances as they actually are. Its a tough system to navigate, Don’t settle for any poor treatment from anyone it your (your friends) life at stake and the court does tend to lean toward the injured work if the fact’s are there keep ever record copy all reports, write done dates of appointments, good days and bad days as that is how pain works.

      Good luck
      Signed
      My older brothers younger brother.

  • Gav

    Anyone have any contacts for a lawyer that can handle an international workers comp case . I am in Australia but was injured overseas and would now like to see what options I have to take further action

    • What country is your claim in?
      It might be advisable to talk to an international firm as they are more likely to have access to lawyers with standing in those countries (what the lawyers call jurisdictions) or have offices there which could take the action you need while you interact with the Aust based office. If you were working for an Australian Company overseas you may still be eligible under an Australian WC legislation, some further detail might assist that.

  • Debbie

    hi everyone my husband crushed his foot 2000 pounds of iron rolled over it at work they did not take him to get care they only waited for the argent care center to open so they could drug test him after that they sent him back to work with in 4 days gangrene had started to set in I took him to are family doctor who sent him to a wound care center they did surgery DE compartmental syndrome made him go back to work light duty then fired him we have been fighting for 2 and a half yrs on this because the company was self insured and that means the company them self determines what they pay for and it has been nothing but the doctor that did the evaluation on his foot no med no shoe no nothing the doctor that did his surgery told us they will take the leg down the road but the company said he is faking so I would like to know if anyone in ohio or Kentucky has ever had to deal with self insured company’s and how to get the help he needs thank you Debbie from ky

  • Michelle

    Hi, i am currently being victimised & bullied within the volunteer emergency services sector in Queensland. Its been going on for 13mths now & involves the district & regional managements. I have tried to follow the CoC & follow all the procedures outlined in our doctrine but there is no resolve. These people come preaching these things to us, threatening us with them-but when we need them they aren’t followed! I’m at my wits end. This all started with a workplace injury. I had no communication from management for a whole week, when i did it was a quick phone call that i initiated. 3 weeks later, injured & alone i didn’t even know if my workcover had been granted or even initiated or any information from here on with my recovery. The night before my surgery-4 weeks later, in desperation i put a facebook post up on my organisation’s “solutions” page. This was picked up by the WH&S at our state office. They rang me 15 minutes before my surgery & apologised & wished me well & said they would follow up. They did, they were shocked to learn that not only was i ex communicated after i was injured, but that i had no idea of the process to come back etc. I can only presume the involvement of state office didn’t go down well with my regional office. I worked my butt off to return & was absent for just 2.5mths total. upon my return i went from being any normal member to trouble with a capital T. I was abused & condescended to by my district office, which was turned a bling eye to by my regional one. After i involved state office i had what i thought was a positive resolve. Boy was i wrong. Regional office’s answer to states second involvement-at my request was to hold a meeting, to which i was not privy with all of the rank officers (my peers) in the district-14 people + 2 regional heads & 2 district heads. Where the regional office proceeded to sell me out to them all. They were told things that were utter lies. Told that they needn’t worry as regional office was going to have (me) done with vexatious complaints-even though they were not even part of the investigation done by head office at all. (the one i requested!) A person at this meeting informed me of all of this & they were then sent a letter giving 14 days to explain or they would loose their position. i was mentioned in this letter 6 TIMES. After i spoke to state office the letter was mysteriously squashed. I have since challenged regional office as to what was said & in their own words it was confirmed. So to date, i have missed out on courses i was a priority for, pretty much the whole region personal are wary of me-i’m trouble & if you associate with me there will be negative repercussions, I’ve had to see the counsellor been on anti-depressants, had copious fights with my husband & my children because i refuse to just leave, had many sleepless nights & watch on saddened as many people have left because of this. I will quote something i said to my boss & then i will quote the reply.
    (me) “if i leave now, i will have archived nothing. They will just find another me & do it all over again that’s what they’ve been doing for years. If anything i hope to have shown everyone that you can stand up for your rights & you can make sure that the code & the doctrine are followed.”
    (reply) “all you have archived is to show everyone what lengths they are willing to go to too get away with what they do. Everyone has seen the cost to you, to your health. There’s nobody that will speak up now.” p.s i have found the recently appointed HR woman no help what so ever. She was hand picked by regional office straight out of the text book & they have her schooled already. For anyone that wonders what i base that on….Never go to a meeting to record it only-then turn around in that meeting & refer to yourself as the support person for the meeting facilitator. I’m up to seeking legal representation as i’m out of options with no end in sight. I’ve had warnings about severe ramifications of doing that also. I’d love to hear from anybody that understands. Thanks

  • Jade

    Bullied at work by the MD, finally cracked and asked HR for help saying it was affecting my health, anxiety, cold sores etc. Got dismissed two days later, putting it through Fairwork, now they are saying I was a poor performer, which is of course rubbish. Anyone with advice on this?

    • Anthony J Merritt

      Get a law firm to hear your case like Slater &Gordon

  • Debbie

    Hi everyone

    Here is another source that will help you find out more about those listed as IME’s. Read the reviews based on other injured workers experience. Its called ‘aworkcovervictimsdiary.com’. Some of the postings are shocking and should be taken as a red flag warning.

    So go to the website of A WorkCover Victims Diary and see for yourselves. The only way to change the system of practitioners behaving badly is to expose them so long as its true.

  • Pete777

    My issue is I was cut of medical and Workcover payments in 2014!
    Since then changes had taken place and my medical benefits reinstated as of December 2015
    I find this out by emails sent to me by the injured workers support group!
    When I contacted the insurer about these changes they said I would have to send in reimbursement request and see if they would pay them!
    It took me 2 months of fighting with the insurer and having to get Wiro and Siro involved.
    I received the the payments but I did not receive and notices stating that my benefits had been back dated or when they would stop!
    I recently had also submitted further documents to be reimbursed in November but I still haven’t been payed for yet!
    I contacted the insurer without any response by email or phone so I got Siro involved again, once Siro was involved I received a letter stating that I would need a Work capacity certificate to have my Benefits payed!
    That’s fine, but my issues with this is why wasn’t I advised of this earlier this year.. as you could see I had all medical benefits cut in 2014 and did not require any medical certificates after that date..
    Isn’t the insurers job to contact me and advise me of what I need to do to receive the Benefits I’m entitled to..
    I did contact the insurer by phone and lets say it wasn’t good conversation as the case manager is such an arrogant pig and wouldn’t let me talk.. all he said was you know what a injured worker has to do and that’s have updated certificates you haven’t had one since 2014. I tried to say that the only reason that is due to my benefits being cut off, but he didn’t want to listen!
    Pig Pig bloody Pig

    • Workers Compensation King

      Unfortunately, this is due to the government implementing Section 59A of the 1987 act, there has been many changes due to government reforms. You should speak to your local MP.

      The only reason your medical benefits were reinstated was due to amendments which passed through parliament.