Further to the recent article by ABC Investigative Journalist, Pat McGrath about an injured worker who has taken the unusual step of prosecuting her case manager (EML) for its failure to determine her claim for compensation as and when required under the WIMA, it has come to our attention that the New South Wales Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) has published on their website that they “bring to your attention that on 29 November 2018, the Supreme Court of NSW (per McCallum J) declined to grant prohibition to Employers Mutual Limited (EML) in respect of a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) that was issued by the Local Court of NSW upon an application by an injured worker : Employers Mutual Limited v Julie Ann Heise and the Local Court of New South Wales – 2018/356687. Her Honour’s judgment has not yet been published, but her decision provides authority for the proposition that SIRA does not hold a monopoly regarding the prosecution of offences under the WIMA.
We are delighted that Pat McGarth – the ABC Investigative Journalist – published the following story! A traumatised police officer who suffered physical and mental injuries follwowing a police car accident has launched a private criminal prosecution against workplace injury claims manager Employers Mutual Limited (EML) – an Agent for Workcover NSW, after having been forced to wait efor over a year for a rightful workcover payout. Under New South Wales workers’ compensation laws, failure to decide on a claim within two months is a criminal offence and attracts a fine of $5,500. We are in true admiration of the brave police officer, and so hope she will win the case, and in doing so, set a much needed precedent. Workcover insurers including those in Victoria are still manipulating claims data in order to attract higher financial rewards.
For many injured workers, many medical professionals and even personal injury lawyers, there is quite a bit of scepticism about the workcover system’s use (or abuse) of “expert witnesses” including the (over)use of Independent Medical Assessors. It has been alleged that workcover expert witnesses and the like are not always there to share informed, evidence-based insights or opinions, but rather to “spin” evidence as required (by the insurer).
Here is an interesting legal case which may be useful for people who suffer from an underlying or pre-existing psychiatric or psychological (mental) injury, which is aggravated at work! In this fairly recent (Feb 19) case an injured worker successfully appealed against a decision NOT to compensate him. The court found that his employment had significantly contributed towards aggravation of his underlying/pre-existing psychiatric disorder.This case shows the meaning of “significant contribution” of work-related factors in relation to a worker’s mental injury/ disease. Work-related stressors can still be “significant contributing factors” even if the worker has a genetic/hereditary predisposition to the mental injury/disease or has even suffered from it in the past.
In August 2015 the NSW Court of Appeal decided that NSW injured workers could not make more than one lump-sum insurance claim. In other words that injured workers could not top up their lump-sum compensation payment if their condition deteriorated. However, yesterday (Monday 26 Oct 15), the state government will make a new regulation to override that court decision in that case, known as Cram Fluid Power v Green.
In the following 2015 NSW legal case, a workcover insurer (and its client, the employer) tried very hard ( but failed) to appeal a decision which required to compensate an injured worker who resigned from his job. The NSW Court of Appeal found that the injured worker’s duties as prescribed by the worker’s injury management plan were not suitable.
We have lately been reading heaps of legal cases and recently came across a pretty disturbing one: The NSW Workers Compensation Commission (NSW WCC) ruled in a Jan 2015 case that it does NOT have the power to order a workcover insurer to(re) pay weekly payments to a seriously injured worker for a 2-year period even though the injured worker had a “no work capacity” status. WTF!?
Having liability accepted for a psychological work-related injury can be very difficult, even more so because the connection or relationship to work can be (and is often) less obvious than in workcover claims involving only physical injuries. However in the following recent legal cases, the courts accepted that there was a psychological work-related injury present.
Thousands of New South Wales workers could be stopped from accessing lump sum workers compensation payments they need for financial stability. A recent decision in the NSW Court of Appeal, in Cram Fluid Power V Green, means seriously injured workers can no longer top up their initial lump sum payments if their condition deteriorates.
You may remember the case of former PM Julia Gillard’s house keeper’s workcover claim for an injury she sustained to her back while straining to fit a sheet on Julia Gillard’s king-size mattress in 2012. The house keeper had initially some issues with her claim, also re-injured herself and now it turns out that she was accused of “fraud” by means of surveillance. However recently the AAT overturned the decision of Comcare to cease her claim for compensation. The article gives some worthy tips re surveillance.