Injured worker lives in dark box, relies on salvos for food, let down by own GP

A day or two ago, injured worker “R” shared his gut-wrenching story with us. R, who suffers a severe back injury, is now living in a dark boarding room [a box] and relies on the Salvos for food parcels. He can’t walk to the bathroom down the hall without soiling , he sleeps rarely and he can’t fill a script from the chemist cos he can’t walk there. And, worst of all, he was let down by his very own GP, who – undoubtedly after being pressurised by the insurer, suddenly certified him “fit” as a fiddle.

Injured worker lives in dark box, relies on salvos for food, let down by own GP


Injured worker’s story – in his own words

My insurer accepted my claim for injuries with full liability from day one.

But they are used some sort of tactic, with paying my weekly entitlements. It started about a month after the injury, computer problems was the first delayed excuse,…

Pre injury I had just moved into a lovely cottage as my job was doing well and I could afford it, then the injury then the constant lateness with my pays and new excuses and apologies, my landlord got fed up with my (lies) he didn’t believe me each week and month when I didn’t pay him rent that I was waiting for weekly pay, so he evicted me, its hard to pack up and move with a broken back and half a workable arm, that was 3 evictions ago.

Now I live in a guest house when I get paid I pay up to a month in advance so I don’t get evicted, make it worse my doctor always said on my medical certificate that I am unfit to (walk more than 100 meters, do any prolonged standing/sitting with no bending), HE WAS ON MY SIDE.

But last month when I was due for the final sign off, I was  in my doctors surgery with the insurer and they tell me I am totally fit and able to work a full week, so I told them to their faces that they’re full of S##T to F$$K off and walked out.

Now I am sitting in a boarding room, I cant walk to the bathroom down the hall without soiling , I sleep only rarely I cant fill a script from the chemist cos I cant walk there, I cant see a new doctor to get a second opinion cos I cant walk there, I cant shop, and get salvos to bring me food parcels, I live in a box in the F####NG DARK and have done for the last 4 weeks.

After the second eviction I told them and a psychologist told them of my state, but it is not the cause of my injury, my anxiety and depression and the rest, so I’m not covered.

I can’t even get see a new doctor to help me to support me, there is no questions on the MRI  and X-ray. Matter of fact my first case manager at insurer told me one day that she has seen a lot of MRIs but mine is the worse shes seen.

There is NO f*cking support, maybe for the ones who live in north shore where the money is, but I am a westie, they can all f*ck off.

“If I see my case manager or rehab provider in the flesh again ill knock her stupid smiley white nicely cleaned teeth down her throat.”


Thank you so much, “R” for having the guts to share your story and, most importantly for reaching out! It is stories like these that desperately need to be heard by the public and our politicians, as your story, like so many others, uncover the real hell of the workers compensation system.


Assuming that you reside in NSW, may we please urge you to contact our buddies at the Injured Workers Support Network as a matter of urgency. You can make contact with John McPhilbin (our co-author and kick-butter) on 02) 9749 7566 for support and guidance. The IWSN also holds regular, informal and wonderful injured workers meetings throughout NSW, where injured workers can find support and meet like-minded people. They are also able to refer you to a wonderful rehab service provider (who does not crack under the pressure of workcover insurances!) and also refer you to other services as needed.

Also, you may want to join our popular forum, where you can interact with like-minded people and seek (and offer) support. A great place to vent, cry and… laugh!

Legal representation – advice

How about legal representation, “R”?

You write that “After the second eviction I told them and a psychologist told them of my state, but it is not the cause of my injury, my anxiety and depression and the rest, so I’m not covered.” S

Somehow this doesn’t make sense as the AFTEREFFECTS of a workplace injury should all fall under your claim, this should include the – all too common- secondary psychological injuries suffered.

If you are incapacitated because you now suffer depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, what-not as a consequence of your physical workplace injury, then you should be entitled to compensation.

It is normal practice that, if you start suffering form psychological injuries because of a physical injury, your GP refers you on to a Psychologist in the first place. The psychologist then makes a diagnosis and reports back to the insurer and, if there is a direct link between your psychological condition(s) and your injury, then the psychologist claims the accounts under workers compensation for you (for your visits and treatment).

If your condition is bad enough, you may need to be referred on to a Psychiatrist, who will further assess you and perhaps commence treatment with medication, such as anti-depressants, anxiolytics etc. Again, the psychiatrist will report back to the insurer (and GP) and claim the accounts under workers compensation.

Usually the insurer will then send you to an independent psychiatrist (or psychologist) to”validate” your claim. If the IME believes you psychological injuries are directly related to your primary physical injury, and are as such after-effects of that injury or sequelae, then the insurer will accept liability for your psychological injuries (aka secondary psych injury).

Should they refuse liability, then you have options to appeal the decision, just the same was as you are able to appeal decisions about physical injuries (medical and like services etc etc). I.e. in Victoria you do this via Conciliation in the first instance.

It would be a good idea for you to get decent legal advice and representation. If you do not know where to start, consider Shine Lawyers, as they really do stand up for little guys like us. (see right hand side bar for details of lawyer in Vic you can talk to ).

Hope this helps a little bit. Know that you are not alone and we’re here to support you in any way we can!

If anyone has any other suggestions or advice, please holler! R needs support!