Injured workers who have drawn out workcover cases recover more slowly


According to “new  research”  injured workers  who experience stressful, drawn-out workcover claims have a poorer recovery.

Helloo! Any injured worker who has been on our adversarial workcover system will tell you that… ! Again, we find it rather extraordinary how much money is spent wasted on this kind of “research”! Why don’t they just read real Victorian (and other Australian states) injured workers’ stories and their adverse experiences on the workcover system?

Injured workers who have drawn out workcover cases recover more slowly


Workers’ compensation claimants who have drawn-out cases recover more slowly than those whose experiences are less stressful, according to “new research”.

The study, conducted by Monash University in collaboration with Stanford and Melbourne University, suggests businesses will directly benefit if the claims of injured workers are dealt with quickly and effectively.

Researchers investigated the impact of stress on workers’ compensation claims as well as those involved in transport accidents.

It found those with a less stressful compensation case had more positive outcomes, including a speedier recovery and fewer instances of anxiety or depression.

Lead author of the research, Dr Genevieve Grant from Monash University says there are strong associations between experiencing a stressful compensation claim and a poor recovery.

“Some of the main sources of stress for claimants were understanding what they needed to do for their claim” .“In addition, the amount the time taken to process claims is another source of stress. The number of medical assessments was another factor.”

While Grant says reducing stress for workers’ compensation claimants should be a priority, she also acknowledges that the due processes still need to be followed.

“Employers and insurers have a job to do,” she says. “So the key thing to think about is what we can do to improve these processes but at the same time ensure the necessary information is collected.”

The study followed the experiences of 332 people who were hospitalised in Victoria, New South Wales and Australia between 2004 and 2006. The most frequently reported source of stress for patients was in understanding what they needed to do for their compensation claim.

Grant says the solution to this is clear communication between all parties.

“We need to provide clear expectations of what is involved and what the claimants’ rights are,” she says. “We need to make sure people have the information they need and some clarity around the steps when it comes to paperwork.”

Grant says it’s also important to think about how we deal with people undergoing a workers’ compensation claim not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because there are direct impacts on business.

“If people are able to be dealt with in a way that reduces stress, there is the potential that it will deliver concrete benefits for enterprises. If we are able to facilitate better outcomes for injured workers, then they will be able to return to work sooner.”

Rachel Drew, partner at TressCox Lawyers, told the research is consistent with other reports.

“Workers’ compensation statistics consistently show that a claim with a stress injury component will be open longer, require more treatment and will cost more,” she says. “It would not be surprising if the trend was the same in other types of claims.”

Drew also points that there is generally no recourse for a claimant if their stress arises from the claim process.

“While some may hypothetically consider a negligence claim against the insurer, the standard of care required of an insurer will not be particularly high,” she says. “There would also have to be consideration of what the contribution of the original injury had to the person’s level of stress.”



16 Responses to “Injured workers who have drawn out workcover cases recover more slowly”

  1. @Mary – hi there! I believe you and I are well familiar with each other, indeed – going back a few years ago. I certainly remember the Bastard files, when I was still pretty naive… no more! Hence this website. I have asked our mutual friend, P, about you regularly and know you are very unwell with the need for tube feeding and the complications you suffered with the PEG. I probably would not recognise you considering how much weight you lost!
    I am also in a bad place, still getting worse, after 8 (!) surgeries and a reverse joint replacement a few months ago.At this stage I am just about begging to have this prosthetic removed, that’s how painful this thing is (worse then before replacement, if you can believe it).
    Please send us your letter from SD – simply email (same old email or use ‘’). We have posted several articles(true stories) about SD’s evil tactics, including the illegal downgrade of a serious injury from over 40% to about 20% even though this person was facing imminent paralysis (spinal injury). We referred this poor person to Shine Lawyers (John Typaldos) with great success.

    With re conciliation, speak to workcover assist first as it may be that you have nothing to “conciliate” on paper… as WCV3 said, the best we to address SD is via a letter from your treating doctor(s), explaining the unreasonableness of undergoing a vocational assessment in your condition, followed by a formal complaint to SD, her team leader, Xchanging management AND WorkSafe Victoria.

    The ones who have been so unlucky as to have SD manage them (some of us), have had no success writing to her and management alone, but needed legal input/help to demand a new CM and to put in place a restraining order (no communication with you directly, all communications must go through another person i.e. psychologist (!), GP. This made a big difference in the way those people were treated as there was transparency.

    Note that SD also sent a threatening letter to one of us, atfer an email was sent using a few capital letters (not offensive, just headings and reminders), threatening with POLICE ACTION (really!), and having Xchanging refuse all further communication. SD also wrote things like she was not interested in the phsyical deterioration of an injured worker (whose surgery fell apart) but only in this worker’s “return to work” capacity, even though top specialists certified unfit for all work. She also writes sneaky cover letters to IMEs stating for example “… there is suggesting that there is a psychological overlay…”where this never was the case, never raised by anyone but her to the dismay of even the IME who showed the letter!
    She also tried to force a badly injured worker, walking around with a fully, permanently dislocated shoulder, to undertake volunteer work, and relentlessly harassed the treating psychologist.
    She furthermore is extremely rude to medical specialists and simply fabricates stories.

    Try and get rid of her asap as she is not ethical, nor appropriate and makes many injured workers mentally ill (to brink of suicide). Again the only thing that has worked is letter(s) from treating doctor(s), and/or a lawyer’s letter, which addresses serious offenses, and a formal complaint to Xchanging and WorkSafe Vic.

    Is the RCH part of Melbourne Health? If so it is likely they changed too to Allianz, call them to find out. We only found out accidentally that RMH changed, and RMH did not tell us!

    Keep in touch, email us and I will reply (I don’t have your email address).

    PS T says hi too!

    Workcovervictim March 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm
  2. mary oops i also forgot to add that i have not had a independant medical review for 18 months in which time i have had more than 15 admissions multiple proceedures malnutrition and series life threatening bleeding post pegj tube placement. I have already had 3 admissions this year and have one foot in the door for another one. Yet another reason for incompetence you think?

  3. Hi again just forgot one question would it be worthwhile putting in a conciliation form before I attend the assessment? Just a thought

    • @Mary – oh dear, I feel terribly sorry to read how poorly you are doing and that your case manager is SD, she is evil and well know to us indeed. She will stop at nothing… until she is caught red handed and your lawyer can use something she wrote/did as evidence to request a new CM (see our sample letter).
      The best way I believe to address her totally inappropriate behaviour is to ask your treating doctor to write a letter to her (and cc-d to management) regarding her sick request to make you attend a occup rehab assessment (vocational assessment), stating it is totally inappropriate and unwarranted considering your condition, incl the need to be tube fed!
      If you have a lawyer, they can also help.
      If you still are forced to attend the assessment, rest assured that no ‘rehabber’ will find you in a position to work and state this in their assessment.
      This has happened to one of us, sent to a vocational assessment whilst critically suicidal and with a major surgery breakdown.The assessor simply wrote that this injured worker was unfit for any work.
      You may also want to run your question past the WorkCover Assist team, they are very helpful and may be able to advise you re conciliation.
      Don’t forget to please write a formal complaint to WorkSafe Vic, and attach any letter you may have from a treating doctor re the assessment and certificates of total incapacity.

      On a last note, some major VIC public hospitals have recently changed over insurer, from Xchanging (Cambridge) to Allianz, effective beginning January this year. You may want to check if your hospital (i.e. RMH) did change. If so, problem solved as SD will no longer be you CM.
      Good luck and please keep us posted!

      Workcovervictim3 March 8, 2014 at 9:26 am
      • Mary
        I have decided to run a concilliation form stating that it is harrassment and illegal to send me for assessment. she has already screwed up the case ie not replying to a formal letter asking for an internal review and a concilliation form as requested ,was never forthcoming or acknowledged, on another matter. I believe the review never took place I have only had her a short few months and was alerted via your postings here so thanks for that. I recognised the initials. I think i will also request a new case manager as i believe there is enough incompetence already
        I am very familiar with workcover assist i have always run my own defence at the panel and concilliation and have come out a winner with their help.
        At this time i dont have a lawyer but may consult one. I have a very complex hx but have kept all my notes reports ect a wardrobe full! I see you recommend shine lawyers.
        RCH is the employer have not heard anything about changing to Allianz
        i use made up names ect but i also use a vpn which is fabulous you should try it.
        I would love to send you the previous letter to SD but privately is this possible.
        I believe we are well known to each other!If i Was to say to you my computer file for workcover is referred to as the bastards file, would this remind you?
        thank you very much it is always nice to share this war

  4. Hi there, this is my first post. This is a fabulous site.
    I was severely injured in 1992 working as a nurse. I have been unable to work since then. I am on weekly payments as the independent medical doctors have always found me unfit for week. I have also presented a defence at medical panel and was found unfit for work. I have a new case manager whom I am sure is well known to you it is SD with Cambridge insurance here in victoria. She is causing a great deal of unnecessary stress at present. Even though I have been found medically unfit to work I have been referred for an occupational rehabilitation assessment. What are the motives behind this? Is this legal what are my rights? I have been dealing with Workcover for a very long time I have a file on my computer called “the Bastards”. File where all Workcover things go! Another tip is I am constantly asked if I wish to go back to work and my stock answer to that is “I will take that under legal and medical advisement. I have been very ill in the last year with 15 admissions to hospital wt loss of 35 kilos. I am now tube feeding. Not sure how they think I can work let alone attend the assessment. Any advice welcome

  5. Oh Bron, I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles on top of grieving for your partner.. please seek out assistance, someone to talk to etc.. your daughter needs you to be strong *hugs*

  6. my partner committed suicide on work cover, leaving me with our beautiful daughter, was over 3 years ago, and im still going through the legal system, absolutely does your head in, I don’t know how to go on living sometimes

  7. I am waiting for the Peer Reviewed research on negligent employers and how their pursuit of profits has allowed them to ignore safety requirements and how they are allowed to get away with this because Workcover does not prosecute them. I know I will be waiting a long, long time for this, because the governments we now have believe that workplace injuries and workplace safety are the sole responsibility of the worker. Any academic prepared to research this aspect of contemporary work in Australia? Try to ignore the fact that you will not be able to access any funding for this and your colleagues will ensure that you do not progress up any career ladder because of it. But hey you will be doing something for the greater good of society, now wouldn’t that be a nice change and the best thing would be that history will judge you much better than those whose research is solely for the benefit of employers.

  8. A closed club, only a knob would close a club .

  9. This researcher, Dr Genevieve Grant, also published an interesting paper:

    The Injury Brokers: An Empirical Profile of Medical Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Litigation.

    that is worth a read. It highlights the closed little club of medical experts that operates in Victoria for both plaintiff and defence medico-legal work.

    • Excellent read. As usual another gem you have unearthed Zena you are a bloody star.
      Brunch?????? You’re know what I mean.

      • @Harryrort nice to see you back 🙂

        Regarding the research something that scared me is “businesses will directly benefit if claims of injured workers are dealt with quickly and effectively”
        Again, do Workcover’s insurance companies not already have the power to do that???
        They send 100% unfit for work injured workers to employment agencies, is that the meaning of “quickly and effectively”?
        Why these Professors of life still need to waste tax payers’ money to research something we already know?
        Just come here on workcovervictimsdiary and you find all the information you need Mister big brains, don’t need to waste money!

  10. Another new research project wow and really its not new but it highlights what injured people say and have been saying since our boofheaded politicians and bureaucrats put it in the to hard basket and handed it over to the big end of town with the usual with all the who ha of well do a better job than you, we will get back injured back to work we will get the best medical treatment available em ,And how stupid where we to stand back and let it all happen without a pep
    Years of belting ones head against the wall trying to make sense of what has happened to me and other injured I’ve come to believe we are on our own with no help from any one unless one stands up for themselves then its made harder to get any where they deny,
    delay, ignore ,turn their heads and lie to get every red cent out of the government and the work cover authorities let it all happen and these cowards represent us don’t think so ,
    they justify there jobs with more bull dust which is provided by the insurers .
    And i believe it get worse before it gets better why? well our nation likes to whinge and whine and if it don’t effect you who give”s a stuff.
    A call to arms well hahahahah only when we sell our services and our country to the big multinationals and when are broken and starving then maybe someone will turn a light and say hey hang on
    Im dreaming i think


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