We have yet to come across any injured worker that doesn’t want to return to work in some capacity, yet the underlying assumption of the O’Farrell Government (misinformed by WorkCover and their actuaries) is that most injured workers are looking for ‘easy money’. We agree with Tim Concannon “It is the systems in place or the injuries themselves that prevent them from returning to work, not some intent on their part to remain in the system and wait for the lump sum to materialise”
NSW Workers compensation ‘lump sum culture’ is pure myth
Australia: OHS Alert: Inquiry into the NSW workers’ compensation scheme
A personal injury lawyer with 23 years’ experience virtually lampooned claims that WorkCover’s $4.1 billion deficit is linked to an “explosion” in damages claims and a lump-sum culture.
Tim Concannon, a NSW Law Society injury compensation committee member and a Carroll and O’Dea partner, told the inquiry that the vast majority of injured workers “express an abhorrence” at the idea of obtaining a lump sum instead of returning to work.
He said actuarial assessments that found there was a lump-sum culture appeared to be based on decade-old projections that ignored 2001 amendments to workers’ compensation laws that “significantly” removed access to such payouts.
“One of the assumptions the actuaries make is that over the last 18 months there has been an alleged explosion in the number of work injury damages claims,” Concannon said.
“We find it impossible, based on our own experience of cases that have developed over the last 12 to 18 months, to believe that such an explosion has occurred.
“On my limited ability as a lawyer to understand how actuaries have come to their assessment, it seems to me it may well be that these are based on projections of what may have happened before the [legislation changed] in 2001.”
… But Concannon told the inquiry that in his experience some 99 per cent of injured workers were “very enthusiastic about returning to work”.
“It is the systems in place or the injuries themselves that prevent them from returning to work, not some intent on their part to remain in the system and wait for the lump sum to materialise,” he said.
The maximum lump sums available – $100,000 for permanent impairment and $50,000 for pain and suffering – were “paltry”, Concannon noted.
“They would not attract anyone to remain in this system for an extended period of time.”
Added by workcovervictim:
I just received an email from an injured worker:
“Please find a picture of $200 worth of cards I had to ask a local charity for in order for me to buy food and petrol.
I will provide the name of the charity and the support worker upon request
Hand outs and Centrelink”
I would actually add to that, that this is the life on workers compensation for many genuinely medium to severely injured workers, in many states… a life of poverty. Nobody in their right mind would want to be on workcover, or want to stay a second longer than needed on workers compensation. It is a nightmare.