I am glad I stuck to my guns – an injured workers stress-full story

never-give-up-injured-workers

In December, injured worker “C” shared his/her terrifyingly stressful story with us, and was kind enough to provide us (and our readers) with some damn good tips. Here is C’s long overdue workcover story.

I am glad I stuck to my guns – an injured workers stress-full story

My workcover story

Written by injured worker “C”

Early in 2008 a new manager started at work. At first she seemed ok but within weeks of her arrival she and a staff member ended up in mediation and he quite work.

Shortly after this another staff member left citing that he didn’t get on with her.

The warnings were there from the start.

I felt very wary of the manager but alarm bells were not ringing just yet that was – until late 2009 when my life at work started to became hell.

It started with the new tasks I agreed to take on at my performance review. I didn’t have the skills and experience to do the new tasks but I figured I would learn along the way and develop new skills – and that my manager would understand I was learning

But that’s where I got it wrong, my manager expected me to hit the ground running with those new tasks and be the office expert.

Usually people doing this task had either been to uni or mentored and supervised by more senior staff.

We also moved offices away from the people that I had been going to for advice and support.

I made mistakes, I wasn’t able to answer my managers questions, there was so much I didn’t know and my workload was becoming increasingly difficult to manage

I began staying back late to try and catch up.

But it seemed no matter what I did my manager wasn’t impressed and she showed it by regularly speaking to me in a sharp tone of voice

“You haven’t done so and so, why not, when are you going to do it, when are you going to learn it, you need to be across everything in your job description”.

The two or three hour performance reviews we had with the reprimands didn’t help either

Physically and mentally my health suffered and so did my marriage

I had very low self esteem and I felt deeply depressed. I felt despair. It got to the stage where I contemplated suicide

I watched helplessly while she bullied my colleagues. I felt so intimidated and afraid of her.

One day she came and stood at my desk in my personal space and lectured me twice within a few minutes.

I went to a private space and was shaky and cried. Next day I went to see the doctor and had two weeks off.

Once back at work I knew things weren’t going to change so I lodged a report on my manager with HR

Work denied it and I lasted another 6 weeks. I went on two weeks annual leave (mid 2011) and never returned

I went down the legal path and after my claim was rejected by WorkCover and again at conciliation – the matter was (thankfully for C) sorted out at court Dec 2012

I had three IME’s that were stressful but each supported my case

As per standard practice all my counselling, medical records and superannuation were subpoenaed

At court I supplied records of my income

I read the report my manager wrote about me – what a crock!

I tried to anticipate how the opposition may try to find my vulnerabilities but I didn’t succeed

(relayed by my barrister) – Some of the things they picked on were:

I contacted my superannuation co. a couple of years ago and got an estimate of my super balance as I was contemplating leaving work

I started a personal development course early last year and the opposition decided that the course and the super query meant that I was plotting to leave before I lodged the claim

I said, two years ago I was completely miserable and wanted to leave work and that the course helped me not to suicide

Apparently in the counselling notes it said I was struggling at work but I didn’t tell the counsellor I wanted to leave.

I said the counsellor knew I was miserable at work and we talked extensively about me leaving but I’m glad she didn’t write it down because it would have been misconstrued anyway

It’s a case of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

I cleaned up my twitter and facebook but they found and my old defunct business website and knew I had an expired registered a business name

I’m sure you get the gist, clean up and remove whatever you don’t want them to know as much as you can.

Despite it being really tough going in the end they made me an offer

Not what I had hoped for but something and I accepted. I didn’t want to go to court and I knew I needed be flexible.

Opposition knew I had a case so the two barristers worked it out, eventually it was settled in the court meeting room so I avoided going before the judge

Despite some of the naysayers I came across in the early days i.e. my previous doctor and counsellor at work who both declared I wasn’t going to win.

stick-to-your-guns

I’m glad I stuck to my guns

It was the principle as much as the money

I feel like I’ve been through the wringer. I feel relieved but not properly healed. I’m not sure if the scars will heal or maybe I need more time

 

Some things I learned for anyone starting out

  • You will need a good supportive doctor and solicitorgood-to-kwow
  • I asked my solicitor if I had a case before I went the next step
  • My solicitor filled out my Workcover claim
  • Follow the advice of your solicitor
  • You will probably go through a roller coaster of emotions and doubt yourself. It’s normal to feel this way
  • Workcover play games and totally suck
  • Be strong if you can and hang in there
  • Try to be flexible when you go to court about settlement as opposition will find all sorts of reasons not to pay you
  • If you can find ways to deal with your stress
  • Stay away from the naysayers and surround yourself with positive people e.g. people on here

C

Thank you so much for sharing your story, C and, most of all for your invaluable tips when lodging a stress claim and undertaking legal proceedings. Thank you for sharing your immense courage – as you say it so well “sticking to your guns” is probably – of not the most- important lesson of it all!

 

[Post dictated and manually inserted on behalf of workcovervictim]

 



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4 Responses to “I am glad I stuck to my guns – an injured workers stress-full story”

  1. Thanks for sharing this story, it again shows that Workcover always adopt the same tactics (how poor minded dudes), they wait wait wait until you push them to the Court then they make an offer, what a piggy beggars!

    From my understanding the new Manager had clear instructions to increase production by reducing costs, he/she most probably didn’t have the right skills to achieve such “impossible” goal so the only feasible way was to bully and harass employees because that was his/her main skill.

    This real story again shows that workplaces have a great responsibility to treat people fairly and honestly and that when things go wrong, what the bosses achieved (they think) is lost within a 30 minutes before a Judge meeting!

    I like and agree that “it is much more about principle than money” but guys we still need money for living and the fraudulent insurances know that and so they just cut our finances. Never never never relay on Doctor’s advice that you have no case, tell Doctors to do their jobs as taking care of health and to leave legal matters to the right people. My Doctor said to me that workcover would have killed my case, he saw too many people struggling with workcover, it was a lost battle since the beginning! I didn’t listen because I knew my full story, I witnessed it and I can see it like I watch a movie, I knew I was right and I knew I did nothing wrong!

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    Xchangingvictim March 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm
  2. Thanks for sharing your story and advice. This is really helpful for me as I am about to head to court soon. What gets me is the waste of time and money these insurance companies seem to not care about. I mean if they just accept the claim in the first place people can get the help they need and possibly get back to work which would be a hell of a lot less money than what they are doing now. It just seems senseless on their part, but then they are insurance companies.

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    • You’re right if they pay in the first instance instead of telling lies and denying/rejecting they would “apparently” save money and lives! But you know insurance companies are there for money and so if they pay and keep everything tidy and clean, then there wouldn’t be anymore business for them and all the biased corrupted entities who station all around the system.

      Just imagine a world without sick people then there wouldn’t be any need for hospitals, Doctors etc. etc. and no money to anyone!

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      Xchangingvictim April 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm
  3. Thanks for sharing yr story,yr lucky they made a offer..I was granted serious injury certificate 1 day before court,they love to drag the case as long as possible..

    Now no offer made,so have to wait for court again..

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