Why are injured workers treated like they did something wrong

If you’ve missed time from work due to a workplace  injury, you may have noticed a strange phenomenon.  Sometimes, no matter how seriously injured you are or even how the accident happened, your employer or colleagues will start to treat you like you are committing insurance fraud.

Why are you being treated like you did something wrong, when you’re the one who was injured while working?

There’s usually a grace period after a work injury, when your colleagues and supervisors are [very] supportive and concerned about your recovery.  Then, as time goes on, you’re treated as though you’re the one who is to blame for your injury and any other problems at the workplace, even if there is no connection to your absence.

It may be human nature, it may be just one person with an axe to grind, but one way or the other, it will cause a great deal of stress for you.

Workers’ Compensation in Australia is a “No Fault” system.  This means it doesn’t matter if an accident is caused by either the employee or employer’s own negligence.  If you are hurt while you are working, you are entitled to benefits, end of story.

Injured workers back at work: our 2 cents worth of tips

If you’re back at work, it’s time to focus on your job and avoid discussing your injury and problems with colleagues.  This may  minimise any of the resentment your co-workers may have because they feel they had more work while you were out or resent the fact you were paid while out of work recuperate.
Resentments from colleagues  can lead to big trouble.   Over time, the perception that an injured worker is on an all expense paid holiday (!) , rather than recovering seems to creep up.   While there is usually no basis for suspicion, be aware thatworkcover insurance carriers and employers are increasingly keeping track of injured workers through video surveillance and other investigative tactics.

Workcover insurance carriers love throwing around the word ‘fraud’, and 99% of the time, it’s just not the case.  What you can do, is follow your doctor’s advice and any restrictions you are placed on.

If you are taken out of work and receiving  benefits in the form of weekly payments, you cannot perform other work.    This means you cannot work at a part-time job or help out a friend or family member with a day’s work because you’re out of work and collect benefits at the same time.  If you are recieving  workcover benefits and working, the insurance carrier will find out, whether through surveillance or even through a disgruntled colleague or former partner/spouse/friend that is upset you are being paid while out for your injury. .


2 Responses to “Why are injured workers treated like they did something wrong”

  1. Its horrible that you are treated like a fraudster… and its not aligned with reality. Its a social phenomenon – create a fear, and use it to justify abusing peoples rights. The fear is that people are ripping off insurers – then they get to invade their privacy as a means to save money on claims. Similar has been done with the ‘terorrism’ threat – create the fear, whip up a moral panic in the media – and then take away peoples rights by body scanning, etc etc.

    This is what the insurance industry is doing. They are justifiably abusing peoples rights (surveillance) in order to defend themselves against a fear that is not substantiated with any facts or logic.

    • We must hold the insurance industry to account — along with the churnalism media we have these days that reports media releases as news without any fact-checking.

      Let’s hold these fools to account.