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.

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733 thoughts on “Your Stories

  • I wish I had been given advice in relation to avoiding my impairment claim going to an Approved Medical Specialist (AMS) at the Workers Compensation Commission. My psychiatrist, who has treated me for years, gave me a high impairment percentage after a thorough and fair assessment. EML insurance sent me to their doctor for an assessment which I felt was very incomplete and short with a comment ‘I have read your file’ as I was walked out the door. The EML ‘hired gun’ gave me a low impairment percentage. I communicated with my solicitor who agreed that EML’s doctor’s report was very inadequate and incorrect. I was told that EML was entitled to choose the lesser of the two reports. I had no idea that I could have complained to Work Cover to investigate how both psychiatrists carried out their assessments and avoided being sent to an AMS. Reading the above article by Gaylord has riddled me with anxiety and worry because I was assessed by an AMS and therefore become imbedded into the Workers Compensation Commission system. I felt like the assessment was incomplete. When I got the report I felt so depressed. The comments in the impairment rating scale were ridiculous and a statement I provided prior to the assessment seemed to not have even been read. I can’t express how distressed and depressed I felt. I felt sickened by the report as it felt like yet again I am against the enemy. I have since been told that AMS doctor’s are biased and not only that, they all know each other. My solicitor lodged an appeal which was part accepted. The AMS lodged a ‘notice of opposition’. It goes before an arbitrator and two AMS’. I am worried sick because I was told the AMS know each other. Even though they would be required to agree to abide by the usual code of conduct and ethics, it would be an uncomfortable environment for an AMS to criticise a fellow AMS’ report. There is a definite conflict of interest here because these people all work in the same environment and probably go to the same Christmas parties and other functions in the year. Who knows, they may even be friends and spend time together outside work. Maybe we should be setting up an investigative group to carry out surveillance and audits as well on them, and let’s include the case managers of the insurance companies. Deliberately downgrading impairments is fraud but it obviously goes on every day. Having fellow AMS re-assess each other’s work is being susceptible to corruption, fraud and other criminal acts. I feel very uncomfortable by the current WCC system.

    • Hi Julie, my name is Mary,

      I read your experiences and felt for you and sincerely wish you the best ..

      Whilst reading about the violence -based incidences, which you were explaining that you have been exposed to and involved in, within the workplace,
      along with the psychological and physical effects these experiences have had on you as a result of what has occurred to you,
      i felt deeply saddened; by the deep degree of trauma; which you have been exposed to,.

      As i read through your experiences, i felt that you had been failed by the healthcare system you were working under, which
      insists that this type of behaviour is normal and part of the job.

      Julie,
      believe me its not and steps should have been taken early on , even before you got injured, to ensure that your well- being was looked after;
      and not just expected to suck-it up ( as i think you mentioned, was what had been expected of you to do at the time).

      Julie,
      , instead of management moving you to another area that was just as volitile in nature, why did,nt anyone check to see, that you were truely okay to go back to work?
      also
      ,why did,nt they let you read the file of client you were expected to care for ( before you began work that day,;
      when realistically, how can you be expected to carry out good care, if you are unaware of the facts surrounding; a clients behavioural needs/ trigger points. ( that is deffinately not a fair expectation, i don,t care who expected you; to do that)

      The Workplace is supposed to be a safe one and these days, there is supposed to be a no-violence policy in place; at all work environments that healthcare workers are employed in.

      Julie,
      I just feel that more caring and appropriate steps should have been put in place,
      before you went back to work to ensure that you were truely okay.

      No wander things got difficult for you and i really feel for you, because i believe that at some level; the system has let you down.

      I commend your desire to return to work and yes, you do have a lot to offer and your experiences in the area in which you worked are invaluable;
      but
      not to get punched and kicked again. ( by a different client- thats not right.)

      Have any of the professionals that you,ve seen, since you became unwell, ever raised the issue with you,
      that not only are you and have you suffered from:
      a Reactive Depression, but from Post traumatic Stress as well?
      and together
      the two are classified as an Adjustment Disorder.

      P.T.S.D, is the result of being exposed to trauma in the workplace:
      Symptoms such as: relieving the experiences,
      having flashbacks related to the events that occurred, nightmares and an inability to return to the place of employment and feeling trapped; to name but a few .

      Re-active Depression :is depression which sets in, but its in response to what you have experienced; in the work-place. ( i.e the violent incidences ongoingly)

      Julie
      I sincerely wish you the best in all of your future endevours and commend you on your courage to face the issues; which you have been confronted by;
      as a result of the work you loved doing for so long.

      All the very best.

      Mary

  • Can anyone tell me where I can obtain an Application for review form ??????? There was one alledgedly attached to my section 74 notice …. It’s not there though.

    Help anyone

  • My name is Julie, I am 53 years old. I live in rented accommodation and take care of my disabled son.
    I have worked within the welfare industry working with marginalised young people and women for a period of 24 years. I have worked across multiple sectors within the industry such as, women and girls in custody, domestic violence, sexual assault, ritual abuse, mental health, self harm, AOD, trauma torture and complex trauma. I enjoyed and was passionate about my work. My work as with most people defined who I was, and was rewarding and enriching.
    I made a choice in August 2009 to place myself in a position through which I could work full time and attend Uni, it was my intention to complete a psyche degree and to eventually work in a clinical capacity with complex trauma clients in therapeutic environments (my area of speciality).
    I began working with Therapeutic care service in Western Sydney after a three month sojourn from the industry in September 2010.
    I began my journey as the team leader for in a one to one placement setting, working with a young woman who was a chronic self harmer, complex trauma and AOD abuser. In or around November the client, whilst in what appeared to be a dissociative state e.g. none responsive, fixed unfocused gaze etc, began lighting the curtains in the house. Starting in the TV room the client lit the curtains which were net. She went through to the dining room then the front room lighting the curtains as she went. Her counsellor was standing in the front room; I grabbed the fire extinguisher to put out the curtain in the front room which was at that time smouldering. The fire extinguisher didn’t work. I grabbed the garbage bin and emptied it, filled it with water and doused the curtains which were now alight. I noted the counsellor appeared frozen and the client was close to the flames, I approached her, taking her arm I removed her from the house. In doing so a large piece of net curtain fell into my hand causing burns, , this was the first occasion in which it was noted that my blood pressure was high, the cause sighted as a physical response to shock (Blacktown Hospital).
    I was absent from work for a period of one week after this incident. After which I returned to work performing full duties.
    I continued to work with this client until August 2011 I was asked to leave my shift at my work place and assist with a new client aged 10 years who had challenging behaviours. I did not feel comfortable working with this client; I did not have access to a Client profile from which I could glean information regarding behaviours / triggers etc, I voiced my concern and was told I could read the young person’s file once I arrived at head office. Upon arriving, I was told that the client had arrived early and needed to go to a medical review and was therefore unable to read his file. After meeting this young person, I and another worker took the young person to his medical review; the young person refused initially to leave the vehicle and only attended the last 10mins of his review. After which we went to a park and played for half an hour before returning to head office. Upon returning to head office, the young person spoke with his case manager, after which we left to return to the unit. The young person came running behind me when we were exiting the office and attempted to push me down the stairs. The young person then refused to get into the car and ran off, I followed one way around the building and the second worker went around the other way. I managed to get the client to return to the vehicle at which time he escalated and began punching me across my chest and kicked me. I managed to remove myself from the environment and went upstairs to the sanctuary of the office. The young person had followed me up the stairs and had walked in to the office. I turned around and the young person grabbed my top and ripped it and began plummeting my chest with his fists.
    I do not remember much from that point other than pushing down the overwhelming feeling to strike out at this young person to defend myself and being lead into the adjoining office, crying, shaking. Of the Police attending and leaving as they could do nothing due to the Childs age. I remember going to the doctor and again being of work for a week and again returning to work in September. I don’t remember how I felt during this period.
    Upon my return to work I was afforded the grace of setting a house which was eventually to receive two clients. I spent four weeks completing this at which time I was buffered from the chaos in other houses. The first client arrived in the November and settled in quickly, whilst she was 13 years old high need, a self harmer, who communicated with ghosts who prompted and taunted her to self harm, she developed a positive rapport with staff. The second client a complex high need client aged 9 years arrived rather haphazardly one evening in November. The relationship between the two young people deteriorated rapidly with both young people assaulting each other, using items as weapons against each other, the female client had begun isolating in her room, drawing pictures which depicted her hurting herself, she then began self harming, by cutting herself with pieces of broken CD’s. Both young people were telling staff that they were afraid and did not feel safe. The younger child often stated he wished he was dead; he at that time began demonstrating sexualized behaviours, eg. Grabbing staff breasts, asking to feed from a staff member’s breast, touching himself in front of staff etc.
    The young people’s behaviour continued to escalate throughout November and December. Staff and myself as Coordinator, raised concerns as to the interaction between clients, the in ability of staff to protect the young people from each other and the increasing violence e.g. the only means available to staff was to tell young people to lock themselves in their rooms as a means of deescalating the situation. The placement was rapidly breaking down and both young people were at risk of serious harm, the young people were highly escalated and both young people appeared to be in a permanent heightened state. Neither responded to program and the relationship between the young people and staff broke down. This and multiple other concerns were raised again by me to upper management at which time I was told to suck it up.
    I did not cope with the feelings I was feeling at this time, I vocalised that I believed that what we were doing and allowing too take place without intervention was “abuse in care” and we were “passive abusers”. I found this extremely difficult to live with and continued to raise my concerns to management. On call at this time had been told not to listen to me as I was losing the plot and my RPM had called me raising concerns as to my well being and stating that she believed that I had not recovered from the assault and she was again moving me. I struggled with this and believed that they (management) were covering up what was happening .I contacted DOCS Help Line in an attempt for intervention to occur, and to appease my conscious. I was them moved from that house and concerns were raised as to my recovery from the assault.
    I returned again to the initial house I worked within in early January after a meeting with my RPM and HR manager. I was again working with the original client I began with. This period was uneventful in terms of incident, the client was mostly absconded and when returned, was recuperating from chronic AOD misuse. It was during this period that I began drinking at home when not at work, I did not notice this shift in my behaviour at the time and didn’t until the beginning of March when I one day noticed how much I was drinking. I immediately ceased to drink. I noted that I felt ill and went to the Dr and discovered my blood pressure was high, I was given medication had a week of work and went back to work my blood pressure normal. I noted upon my return to work that I was experiencing anxiety which began on my way to work. I recall taking my client to a Police interview on a Wednesday and sitting with her for eight hours whilst she gave details of being packed raped. I remember being on suicide watch with her throughout the night. I remember going home exhausted and sleeping the sleep of the dead. I remember being called the next day and asked to work on Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday day shifts to set up house for two new clients who were coming in, I remember not wanting to. I was cajoled in to taking the shifts. I found myself in a state of high anxiety every day I was at work, I recall emailing my RPM and suggesting that we meet that I needed to talk. Everything spirals out of control at that point. I recall being on shift and the young person was chroming, of being sprayed in the face, of being in the office and the young person kicking and pulling at the screen door, screaming at me, this continued throughout the day. I remember my heart pounding in my chest and feeling sick. I remember the worker coming in for change over and my running out – running away, that was on March 16th.
    I went to my GP on march 17th at which time my blood pressure was 180/ 120. I felt unwell shut myself in home, after two weeks I returned to my doctor after finding myself sitting on my lounge room floor against the wall in the dark, other times pacing through my house, talking to no one, effectively shutting myself off from the rest of the world. My rational mind knew something was wrong and I asked to be referred to a Psychologist and that in truth was the beginning of this my journey of healing.
    Upon entering psychologists ooms, I remember a dam burst forth from deep within me and everything spewed out a jumble of words and feelings, I remember feeling the sensation of fear and the vision of myself standing before a deep dark pit. What I remember most is that I exhaled. It was like I had held my breath for ever and then exhaled, this left me with a feeling that I had taken a step back.
    I later met with my Psychiatrist who along with my psychologist have walked with me trough the labyrinth of events, the upheaval of the work cover process, the trauma humiliation, dehumanisation, derogation this process brings and ultimately to this; my journey of healing of recognising and accepting that I have in truth lost my nerve, the ability to bounce back, the ability to implement and even bring forth strategies, in its place is anxious chaos . The education, information I have gained from 24 years of working in and training in therapeutic care in to practice has ended. To reach the point in one’s life aged 53 and face that you can no longer do your life’s work. To explore possible futures only to find that the fear that I live with the anxiety that lays in wait within me prevents me from going back. Is so very disheartening and brings an end to that that was my passion.
    With the support of my Doctors, my family I have propelled myself forward, I have taught myself methods that I use to promote a sense of calm. I’m I changed by this experience, Yes, I am changed. I am but a shadow of who I was. I am still an articulate and educated woman and I still retain all the information I have learnt over the years, I still care, I am still a nurturer. I was encouraged by my psychologist to initially look back and see what would need to be different for me to go back to my work. I couldn’t do this; all attempts resulted in headaches, anxiety, nausea and high blood pressure. I instead choose to audit my skills and find my strengths. This process was healing and whilst it brought me to understand and eventually accept the profound changes in me the loss of skills I had taken for granted my ability to multi task, My crisis intervention skills, my behavioural response skills and the fear that now replaced them. The understanding that I would forever live with anxiety and trying to find a space in which I could operate and feel safe, left me struggling with feelings of grief and loss and eventual acceptance that I was now in a new phase of my life, the Autumn as I call it. My world has become smaller and I cannot go into spaces that are filled / crowded with people that are closed spaces. All my senses burst to life and there is forever a knot in the pit of my stomach which as I begin to feel anxiety, spreads throughout my body and I feel a vice like grip on the back of my neck and I can’t breathe. When in these situations or when I’m faced with change and have little or no perceived control over the situation my blood pressure rises the last rise was 170 / 110. I have now being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension as a result of acute anxiety and which will affect me for the rest of my life.
    I know I need to move away from crowded environments, from pressure, to a smaller community, I want to continue to heal and nurture and have explored possible futures in the healing realm of welfare. It fits my calling, my gift and one in which my training in therapeutic & holistic care comes into play and is I hope a possible future for me.
    And then the wheels fell off. I was issued a section 74 regarding my insurer accepting liability for malignant hypertension…. The journey begins and it is a lonely one.

  • Firstly I would like to point out that in ” our ” country the culture regarding workplace injuries is that should an employee have time off that employee WILL be critisiced, however should said employee be injured at work and unable too continue with duties employee WILL be crucisfied. Think very carefully about ramifications regarding your future or lack of it. The “system” as it stands now is designed to destroy you and any prospects one may have had for the future! Should one ” live ” for want of a better word thru the process, without commiting suicide, witch is exactly what insurance companies want, that is you drop dead. You will be left with absolutely nothing, dumped on the scrap heap like garbage! In my case, I drove semi trailers in the bush. Due to defective equipement I tore my right bicep tendon in right shoulder, c5 crushing nerve onto c6 in neck, damaged left shoulder, carpule tunnell and tennis elbow left arm, bursitis in right and left shoulders, arthritis in neck,nerve pinching in left leg groin, god what else. Lost my property, house, pride, marraige,etc etc etc. Insurance company would not even provide transport to Doctors, Pyshio etc as they said you live too far out of town and would cost to much. My now ex wife said she had not taken out morgage insurance nor sickness and accident insurance which I had had for many years as apparently I was expert at what I did in my chosen field of some 30 years. Then said she was no bodies nurse! My employer admitted full neg from day one, but that meant nothing as insurance company goes off first visite to Doctor, who ended up doing her 18 months in country area then back to the city, this happened with two Doctors I had. I apparently attempted suicide and end up in mental hospital, but don’t really remember much of that. I do remember Doctor telling me you are destroyed because of what has happened to your life, nurse then rang taxi and sent me to train station. Three months later I was living in old homested on isolated farm about one hour from town with no transport nor funds, relying on community transport to get to town and insurance company appointments, I started having fits, cost $1044 for ambulance to hospital it was found that I have a inoperable tumour in brain and have epilepsy. A blow to the head will apparently kill me, I can only hope it will be quick!Because I am still on workers comp after nearly 4 years, I can only receive low income health card from Centerlink for 6 months at a time as cpi increase each year puts me just over disability limit, meds costs are not cheap but ” computor says NO ” ! Well that took quite a while to type, but hey I had the rest of my life to do it!? I look forward to the day I meet our politicons in HELL!!!

  • Always send copies of any referrals form your treating doctor to the insurer and get approval before undertaking any treatment. If you do get treatment under Medicare keep sending the doctor’s reports to the insure and tell you case manager that as you are in dispute, you want any new medical evidence to be placed on you flle and listed as supporting your request for reasonably necessary treatment. That way if you don’t yet have a Section 74 Notice they will have to use your new evidence to assess your claim.

  • The insurer cannot deny your claim without having evidence to do so. They then have to provide you with a Section 74 notice stating why they are refusing your claim with a list of the medical evidence they think supports them. They also must include all the evidence they hold that supports you!!!! If you get a section 74 Notice without the list of evidence they hold supporting you then email your case manager and tell them they have not complied with the Legislation that states all evidence including evidence supporting you must legally be included. If you have further supporting medical evidence from your treating doctors you can send them to the insurer. The section 74 Notice must have provision for you to ask them to review the decision so you need to gather up all factual evidence and medical evidence you can get your hands on and write to the insurer telling them your reasons for still needing treatment plus your evidence. The insurer is not legally meant to dispute your claim if it is apparent they don’t have enough evidence to support their decision.

    Most people do the review without getting more supporting medical evidence and then the insurer can deny because the evidence provided by both parties is the only evidence you can use if you go to the Commission.

    You can ask for as many reviews as you want from the insurer. I would suggest anyone who gets a Section 74 Notice gets more medical evidence before asking for a review then if they still dispute get more specialist reports. Get another referral through Medicare to see a specialist in your injury to confirm your diagnosis and treatment recommendations, Ask the specialist for a copy of the report, any new imaging studies etc. If the insurer has stopped treatment or payments you should still send a WorkCover certificate to the insurer as this is evidence you are still injured and getting treatment.

    Remember , you can ask for as many reviews as you want just keep sending back each time they deny but you need medical evidence to go with it. Ring WorkCover claims assistance if it looks as though the insurer has no medical evidence to deny your claim or if they have not listed the supporting evidence. Make a complaint to WorkCover if you are sent to a bad assessor.

    Workers are better off fighting through the review system and by making complaints to both the insurer and WorkCover. As we all know there is no legal cost support to take your matter to the Commission so if you do need to go you want to be sure you will win. Even if you win back your treatment you are obliged to pay your own costs so keep getting more evidence for review and keep sending it in.

    This is the same with the lump sum assessments. If you have a high assessment from one assessor and a low one from another assessor do not go to the Commission. Once you go to the Commission because the insurer has disputed your claim you will be sent to an AMS and what ever they come up with is the one and only percentage you can ever have. Rather than go to the Commission send a copy of both differing reports to WorkCover with a complaint that two approved doctors who are supposed to come up with similar results and ask WorkCover to investigate why there is a variation. Any huge variation means one of the doctors, or both are either incompetent or corrupt. When you complain with both reports describe exactly what happened in each assessment, what and how the tests were carried out and how long the examination took and tell WorkCover to investigate why the two doctors did the tests differently. WorkCover have no means of knowing what went on or which doctors are crook unless they can compare different doctors doing the same testing which is why you give both reports with your description of what was done for each. WorkCover will then need to investigate.

    I have recently seen some pretty bad reports and I now know of two doctors who took ten minutes to do the assessment. If this happens then complain to the insurer as they are usually paying for an hour’s assessment. Tell the insurer in writing if the doctor was abusive, rude, didn’t make you do any tests or measure anything or if you think they ignored the medical evidence or biased the report. Insist the insurer provide a new assessor if you were bullied or upset or if there is false evidence in the report ask the insurer to have the factual errors corrected and tell them the doctor had breached the Workers Compensation Legislation by providing false and misleading evidence.

    Don’t go to the Commission until you have exhausted all other means of getting evidence as once you are sent to the AMS you will be basically stuffed if they don’t assess you properly and this is for the rest of you time on workers comp. The Work Capacity assessment will also use any percentage from and AMS as well.
    Remember it is only one assessment from and AMS that is allowed. You can have as many other assessments as you want.

    Don’t let your solicitor tell you to go to the Commission until you have exhausted all the normal medical channels to get the medical evidence. Don’t accept a lump sum percentage if it is too low for your injury just keep disputing by providing medical evidence in continual reviews to the insurer till they send you to an assessor who is competent or till they accept your evidence.
    This sounds horrific and it is but it is what we must do as it is the only way to fight it now. WorkCover is also against bad assessors but they have to rely on proof not opinion and it is pretty hard to prove a bad assessor unless you have good medical evidence.
    WorkCover claims assistance is also there to support you so ring 131050 and complain about any bad insurer behaviour.
    There are also some good specialist Workers compensation solicitors who do know the new laws and who will tell you about the fees. Ring around and ask for the facts on fees and if you can meet with the solicitor to discuss your case.

    Hope this helps!! Good luck!

    • Cannot agree more except one thing.

      Para v last line, you said, “Even if you win back your treatment you are obliged to pay your own costs so keep getting more evidence for review and keep sending it in.”

      The applicable date for legal cost is not finalised yet, so there is no cost towards your legal cost as yet.

      Please keep visiting here. We need more people like you.

      Regards

  • @ Pania: By saying your claim denied, are you referring a dispute notice issued? Or just medical treatment denied?

    Once accepted, insurer cannot deny your claim. If they are delaying your medical treatment, go back to your GP and ask what treatment do you require?

    If insurer still deny, call claims assistance service immediately. If your claim is disputed, you need to go to workers compensation commission.

    Whatever your solicitor has said is completely wrong. Due to the little amount they could make for such settled claims, they ignore people like you and give false advice which are disastrous in some cases.

    Look after yourself.

    • I Phil, i am waiting to hear from new Solicitors now and am going through Medicare for my treatment, iactually better, believe it or not because i am getting all the medical i need now, I have just had Spinal Epidurals and injections which has helped and am being operated on this month to replace all the lower discs in my spine and the Specialist says that there is a 70%chance of improvement ant 30% of none, so its a chance im happy to take. I was definately rorted by my solicitor, but maybe with the new one he will help more.

  • Hi,
    I am 42 years of age and had a back injury in 2000, i slipped and fell at work and ended up with 2 herniated discs. It went to court NSW in 2003 and i was awarded $9,000 and ongoing medical treatment. During this time It has been a battle to get any help form my Solicitor (Union Solicitor) or from the Insurance company QBE.
    Late last year I sent off more Invoices from my specialists for QBE to reimburse and as of March 2012 QBE have now denied my claim and I am going through MEdicare to get treatment as I can not afford to pay for my own treatment.
    I can and still want to work but my working capacity is severly limited. I am on perminant pain medication and am waiting to see if i am a candidate for a new back surgery.
    My Solicitor says that this is the way it works, Can you please tell me if I need to get different Legal advice and if I have been given the bum steer ?
    Any advice would be great as i am at a stage that i just cant deal with the crap any more.
    Regards
    Pania

  • I have been struggling for years to get justifiable compensation for my avoidable workplace injuries. I have a completely stuffed cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine (6 herniated discs). I have constant sciatica, valsalva and pins and needles in my feet. My groin and genitals have not stopped aching. I have soft tissue damage in just about every joint in my body. I have carpal tunnel syndrome, with constant pins and needles in my hands. I have severe arthritis throughout my body. I don’t sleep very well. I have gout. My neck and shoulders burn continually. I have headaches. I don’t have a choice when it comes to the amounts of necessary pills. My kids think I’m an embarrassment. (Not a man) My wife and I co-habitate. I have lesions all over my legs that will not heal. I sweat profusely. These symptoms all started between the 21 November 2001 and 15 January 2002.

    My treating specialists and G.P. all say that I have suffered enough. My doctors have also said the workers compensation system prior to Jan 2002 is the system that I should have been assessed under with a permanent impairment of between 80-90%. The commission on 6 June 2012 said 12%. What the ___!

    QBE Case managers and The Commission determined that my children will suffer more on-going poverty. This is Australia and this adversarial system has to care more and rectify injustices. My former employer XXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXX have destroyed my families life, and got away with it. How is that justice?

    My losses are very huge, I have already sold most of our assets (including the family home in Sydney) to keep the banks happy. If I don’t get the correct compensation in the next couple of years, the 3 other members of my young family and I will probably be living on the street. We already are missing meals.

    What happened to the FAIR GO!

    I did nothing wrong. I am an honest man. I need enough money to cover my costs. That has not happened since this mess started. By the time I’m 68 (if I make it), my family will have lost $11,000,000 in pre-injury income.

    I use to have alot of money, but because my old employer did not heed my OHS warnings for 5 years, I am now in No Mans Land.

    My mental health is holding for now, but who knows?

    NSW Government shame on you all.

  • I agree with you ,I have been on work cover for 12 mths from a neck injury at work, I have been stuffed around by work cover and belittled the whole time,Not only can I do the job I love but I cant even have my family life the way it was as there are so many things I can no longer do at home ,I have gone from an independent women to now relying on others to do things for me , Work cover has granted me home care once a mth,even after their own doctor requested 3-4 hrs per week so I have to rely on my family to do it for me,Not only does the injury affect you but your whole family suffers,I would love to pick up my grandkids but I cant lift anymore then 4 kilos,that is so hard as they dont understand .These laws are so unfair , Mental health is going to go through the roof .

  • @Martin:
    You are not obliged to participate in any survey unless it is for the Census (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Even they don’t do any survey by phone generally.

    Unless you have been given something in writing, such as a summon from a court – tell them Good Bye and hang up the phone.

  • Hi John
    Thanks for the support.I am a long time court ordered weekly payment. I was terminated from my employment 9 years ago, luckily I have a part time job now not earning anywhere what I used to. Work Cover and my insurance company have been very busy with me the last few weeks I know why, I am expecting to lose all that was awarded to me through the courts.
    Off course I am not coping well with the stress of it all and suffering through depression but I am sure there are many others out there who will and are going through the same. One thing that really hurts that I should warn people about is that I had received several calls from N.S.W. Health asking me to do a survey regarding my health I thought I would as I had come out of hospital emergency because of my injury and felt obliged to help. I won’t go into it here but I do now know what was there intention. So now I am being hounded by letters,phone calls and appointments after 9 years they are telling me they want to help me with my injury.HaHa.
    I foresee many a person suffering mentally from these actions and changes and predict some suffers to suicide as the impact is enormous to people’s lives.

    • Hi Martin

      Please feel free to call me (02) 9749 7566 or you can’t get through (which is sometimes the case when I’m talking with other injured workers) email me with you contact details at john.mcphilbin@injuredworkerssupport.org.au

      There are a number of issues to consider before assuming anything – also, we may be able to point you in the right direction legally.

      • September 7, 2012 (reintroduced November 11, 2014)
        I have been struggling for years to get justifiable compensation for my avoidable workplace injuries. I have a completely stuffed cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine (several herniated discs). I have constant sciatica, fibromyalgia, CRPS and pins and needles in my feet. My groin and genitals have not stopped aching since 2001. I have soft tissue damage in just about every joint in my body. I have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, bilateral ulnar/median neuritis, with constant pins and needles in my hands, wrists and arms and I also have bilateral shoulder bursitis. I have severe widespread imobility throughout my body. I don’t sleep very well. I have nerve pain. My neck and shoulders burn continually. I have headaches. I don’t have a much of a choice when it comes to the amounts of necessary pills. My kids think I’m an embarrassment. (Not a man) My wife and I co-habitate. I have lesions all over my legs that will not heal. I sweat profusely. These symptoms all arose as a consequence of injuries sustained by working very hard for 11 years for an employer that disregarded OHS over those 11 years between 1990 and 2001.
        Specialists and my G.P. all say that I have suffered enough from the impairments of my multiple injuries. I should have been assessed under the old legislation prior to January 2002 with a permanent impairment of between 70-90%WPI or 23 separate body parts injured and listed, but this did not happen. The Workers Compensation Commission on 6 June 2012 said 12%WPI and arbitrarily closed my file. What the ___ is wrong with the NSW system?
        A 2010 WorkCover NSW appointed insurer’s case manager (QBE clerk) and The WC Commission determined that my children will suffer more on-going poverty. This is Australia and this adversarial system has to care more and rectify delayed injustices. My former employer MSR Ferlan Pty Ltd, have destroyed my family’s life and potential future, and got away with it. How is that justice?
        My losses are very huge, I have already sold most of our assets (including the family home in Sydney) to keep the banks happy. If I don’t get the correct and adequate compensation in the next couple of years, the 3 other members of my young family and I will probably be living on the street. Over the last 10 years, we have already missed out on lifestyle choices and opportunities that we were accustomed to.
        What happened to the FAIR GO!
        I did nothing wrong. I am an honest man. I need enough money to cover my costs. That has not happened since this mess started. By the time I’m 68 (if I make it), my family will have lost an 8 figure sum in dollars, in pre-injury income, directly due to my former employer and their combined staff’s negligence.
        I use to have plentiful amounts of income, with which to secure my family’s future, but because my old employer did not heed my OHS warnings for 5 years, I am now in No Mans Land in an untenable situation.
        The current NSW Government; shame on you all.
        David

  • Hi John.
    Thanks for your support with what I posted I wish a lot more people could see it and agree with us so we could do some thing about the system we have.

    I was injured in early 2009 in an air drill accident at work, I received about 3 or 4 physiotherapy sessions and 2 visits with a Specialist before I my claim was terminated by Work Cover QLD and they offered me a Settlement.
    My employer left a message on my answering machine saying they didn’t have any work for me any more, HOW GUTLESS IS THAT. The thing that pisses me off the most is that Work Cover never let my Specialist do any Investigation into my injuries they just Terminated me. Since this happened it was found that I had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in both my left and right hands plus Ulner Nerve damage in both my Elbows only found all this out through my G.P. sending me of for tests. Now I have just found out that I have damage to both my shoulders which I new was there from the original accident but no would listen to me. After all Work Cover have a Dutie of Care to all people who are Injured at Work to get them Treatment and Rehab so they can return to work as soon as possible it even states this on there Web site. I would have given any ting for this to happen as I would much prefer to be working than in the state that I’m in now, and after all no amount of money can ever make up for Disability that you are left with and not being able to work again.

    • Hi Robert

      I am with you!!!!
      This is what I have been saying to anyone who would listen, people power is the ONLY way foward.

      Maz

    • Hi Robert I have pushed my issue to the point were I now have been offered a meeting with the qld atourny general I have been through hell warmed up.would you like to come to this meeting.This is confirmed in an email to me post your ph number ill call you ill post mine but I will go an get a prepaid card first so I don’t get harrassed further mate money talks that’s got to stop.I have been billed over 6000 dollars for speaking up about threats of being bashed at work by Qld industrial commission this has to stop what a joke.

  • I to have Suffered and am still suffering from dealings with Work Covers Inadequate System, the way they deal with the people who have been Injured is nothing short of Negligent and you are treated like you are lying about your Injuries and only trying to rip them off well I have had enough. It’s about time all of us took some action and do a Erin Brockovich on them, we should all band together and take out a Civil Law Suit against Work Cover’s miss treatment of people there Discrimination against injured workers. IT’S TIME WE SHOULD TAKE A STAND AND SHOW THEM WE MEAN BUSINESS AND WE WONT STAND FOR TACTICS ANY MORE. Please let me know if you agree.

    • Agreed Robert , that’s th direction we need to head in. Here’s an intersting article by the NSW Law Society

      Workers compensation changes a breach of faith by government

      22 June 2012

      The NSW Law Society says that major reforms to compensation passed by State Parliament’s Upper House last night will hit the most vulnerable workers the hardest with reduced medical benefits and entitlements.

      President of the Law Society of NSW, Justin Dowd said the reforms are an unnecessary attack on workers’ rights and have been enacted in a poorly considered and rushed fashion without consultation.

      “These reforms are bad for injured workers and bad for their families”, Mr Dowd said.

      “In terms of weekly payments of compensation for injured workers with an existing claim, these claims can now be reviewed in a manner where an injured worker can have their benefits discontinued without the opportunity for review or appeal.

      “Under the changes, an injured worker who previously was entitled to medical expenses paid for life may now have this support removed.

      Mr Dowd said that the new legislation will have a huge negative impact on people living in regional NSW.

      “With the ability to assess claims based on regional considerations removed, someone injured in Burke will be assessed on the same basis as someone injured in Sydney, resulting in massive social and economic upheaval and true hardship,” Mr Dowd said.

      “These changes will lead to reduced work and jobs within the legal profession and support services, the medical profession and allied health professionals, the insurance industry and government.

      “Support for this reform demonstrates a lack of understanding of how workers compensation works, the social utility it represents and its economic importance to the State.

      “In addition, amendments to the Act moved last night by the Christian Democrats may result in injured workers having to bear their own costs even if their claim is successful. This may remove the incentive for insurance companies to support legitimate claims.

      “The Law Society’s position is that this legislation should be abolished and we should go back to the drawing board to develop a fair system based on consultation that achieves the aims that the Government said they wanted to achieve.

      “The Law Society is currently requesting an urgent meeting with the Premier to discuss our opposition to the reforms,” he said.

  • Hi Robin, the question is what do and how do, people set a precedent.

    I have so far contacted:

    Fair Work Australia – (was not their area)
    Workcover, initial complaint, investigation of complaint, complaint about biased investigation and intimidation by inspector, complaint to and review by inspectors’ supervisor, complaint and review by Workcover, Ombudsman complaint, review by Ombudsman (still not complete but likely nothing they can do).
    A Compensation Solicitor – I have a case but it would be very hard to prove, very costly and limited by WComp laws.
    A Private Solicitor – He said “what did you want to get from this?” I said “I want justice”, He said “sometimes you have to put economics before justice” and didn’t want to touch it at his 380 dollars per hour rate without a 60 thousand dollar trust fund.

    Ironically even though the insurance company has accepted liability for my injuries, Workcover refuses to acknowledge anything wrong with my worksite other than fatigue.

    There will never be a precedent because we’re too well off to qualify for legal aid, too poor to pay ourselves, and the companies (SNP in my case, a 200 million dollar a year turnover and Railcorp) are too powerful and too well connected to and with Workcover to ever go up against.

  • What they are scared about?

    They know if there is a precedent created about the unfair treatment , bulying and discrimination linked with the causation and worsening of an employees injuries it will open a whole new avenue…………..and they will have to change the system, which is exactly what they dont want to do.
    That is why you dont hear on the news much about the reall cost and causes of a broken workers compensation system, it is heart broken the treatment some people have, not even real criminals are treated ike that.
    The Productivity Commission estimates workplace bullying costs the Australian economy up to $15 billion a year. This figure does not include the hidden costs of recruiting and training employees to replace those who left as a result of continued harassment

  • Dear All,

    Bellow is a much better method of tackling the problem which it coud save 3 times more than Mr Ofarrel says he is going to save.
    Everybody knows that Bullying, dsicrimination harassment happens to those who are fighting for justice and for their rights(Mostly), wistle blowers and honest people who refuses to lose their values and stand for their rights and for the benifit of al society instead of their onw.
    I have seen many people who unfortunally says that there is nothing they can do and all their malpractices and acceptance of this evil system is because they have a familiy to support, we all have a choice in life and close our eyes and comply when we see something is very wrong and people are being hurt is not the way to go for our society, we all have a responsibility and a choice!!!!!.
    All emplyeers, insurance and government wants is to stop people like us who defies corruption and misleading employeers.
    The system(government) is there to empower people, the insurers since 2001 have had record profits as workers rights have been gradually slashed, corporations shares are on a huge expectation of this changes as their shares will hit a year high but the real problem of a corrupt and a failed system hasnt been tackled ad employeers, govt, insurers will keep getting away with murdering people, if you kill someones souls and dreams using of criminal methods it is considered murder as tha person is powerless to do anything and becomes a robot.
    There had been tests of a psycopath brain done and it was found that most of those with a psycopath brain end it up working for big organisations and politics, they are people who can talk and look good but have a complete lack of integrety and feelings for their fellow human beens.
    This problem needs to be talked until everybody is aware and we all need to unite towards a better system for ALL, and not for only a few who think that they can rely forever in a barbaric system.
    When the first pioneers and setlers who arrived in this country they did beleived that the aborigines were backwards and in need of help but i think there are many people in the world is in need of help because they are backwards and have a complete lack of vision and common sense.

    The Productivity Commission estimates workplace bullying costs the Australian economy up to $15 billion a year. This figure does not include the hidden costs of recruiting and training employees to replace those who left as a result of continued harassment.

    kind regards,

    Robin Fletcher

  • Yeah its quite disgusting Robin and it just got much much worse than it was with the amendments they rammed through parliament.

  • do have an extreme case of misconceived conduct practiced by the insurers, lawyers and employers TNT.
    I do have a serios case of racial discrimination and serious vlification which is deemed criminal.
    I have suffered an injury back in 2000 and since them the insurer spent around $1.000.000.00 dollars of wasted money and my problem only got worsen, I have told the insurer about the harassment and discrimination but the insurer wasnt interested.
    I have the right of worker compensation that have been continuously denies any benefits and I have over 22% loss on my foot and I have been waiting now for around one year to be rightly examined by a doctor sice my treating doctor refused to redo his report since the MRI done by Pitwater radilogy was falsely reported and I had to do a proper one overseas which was given the right diagnostic due the seriousness of my injuries.
    I do have all papaers to suport my statements and all the facts going back to 2000.
    The scheme is a fraud and ,lawyers, doctors ,agencies are all making huge amounts of money but in reality they are not doing any work due to their lack of care and serious negligence.
    They are using taxpayers money and not doing the work they say they are doing.
    I am a proof that the sytem is broken, but not because of the injured workers but because of the corrupt system and criminal employeers who will use of any means to hide this ugly truth.
    I came to Australia as a free man and I have been treated worst than criminal but the real criminals are not only impune but making it look that they are the good guys and cutting beenfit and not tackling the problem the right way is a criminal act itself and have to be talked.
    Kind Regards,

    Robin Fletcher
    2012/43283 workers comp at request

  • I made a typo in my story, it should read “Workcover refutes your claim that workers are being put at risk”.

    This was sent to me in a letter by Workcover after I complained about the investigation they did. I had sent them a medical certificate along which showed my doctor had indicated that my injury resulted from my duties (walking / standing constantly for 11:30 each shift).

    It boggles the mind how they can say allowing workers to be forced to work under the exact conditions that led to my injury does not put them at risk.

  • Hi,

    In 2011 I started work as a Security Dog Handler working on Railcorp premises. My job was to patrol for up to 12 hours with a 20 minute break after 5 hours and a 10 minute break after 8 hours. I was to “patrol continuously” and was “prohibited from sitting or standing still for more than 2 minutes”. My dog was allowed a rest for 15 minutes every two hours but I was required to stand during this time. The ground I patrolled over was ballast, sharp jagged rocks which stabilize the train tracks. I worked from approximately 6pm to 6am and up to 75 hours a week.

    After a few months of patrolling and experiencing severe pain in my legs and feet as well as severe fatigue, I was almost struck by a train and being told by supervisors I would be sacked if I reported it and so I complained to Workcover NSW. Workcover ignored my complaint for 2 months and when they did investigate they intimidated me by bringing my boss and a Railcorp manager to my work, who watched me be interviewed. Workcover refused to accept documentary evidence from me including rosters, photographs and witnesses which could prove our allegations. They told me it was all just a misunderstanding and communication problem and that the company and Railcorp would fix it up and no penalties would be imposed.

    I was then intimidated and threatened by my employer, had my hours reduced and nothing had changed in terms of safety or conditions.

    Approximately 3 months after the investigation was concluded the pain in my feet became so bad that I had to relieve myself of duty. After tests and scans it was found that I had sustained a fractured bone (stress fracture) in my foot, plantar facistis in both feet, arthritis in my left ankle joint and a as yet undiagnosed (I just an an MRI today) problem which my left ankle.

    To date I think my treatment, doctors, podiatrist, scans and compensation payments for wages have probably cost Workcover 20-30 thousand dollars, for an injury that could have been avoided had Workcover done its job and forced Railcorp, and the company I worked for to comply with OHS / WHS legislation.

    As it is, there are hundreds more people working under the same conditions I was today who are going to be injured and cost Workcover more money and I have no idea why.

    I have complained to Workcover since that time, advising them of my injury and that allowing this to continue is placing more people at risk. Workcover’s response “Worker refutes your claims that workers are being put at risk.”.

    If Mr O’Farrel wants to save money, I think his first and foremost priority might be to have Workcover do its job to prevent injuries rather than dole out money post accident or injury.

    • Hi everyone,

      Att: Daniel,

      I am within a month to start work with as dog handler with the same company, I believe that you might have been employed at. My previous dog handler employer has told me not to take up the position. My question is: Is it a good career move or will i regret it?

      thanks
      El

  • I opposed O’Farrell heartless decision to attack on injured worker compensation entitlements. Peoople will be afraid to go on worker compensation because they will lose their entitlements.

  • I would like to oppose O’Farrell heartless attack on injured workers. I feel people get injured wiil be afraid to go on to workers compensation because of losing their entitlements.

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