A recent WorkCover NSW legal case illustrates that further litigation re a workcover claim can arise many years after an incident giving rise to compensation. In the following legal case, the NSW WCC found that an injured worker’s fatal cardiac arrest resulted from a shoulder injury he suffered at work some 19 years earlier.
Injured worker’s fatal cardiac arrest caused by 19 yr old injury
In this interesting, recent (April 2014) WorkCover NSW legal case, an injured worker’s fatal cardiac arrest was blamed on a previous shoulder injury which the deceased injured worker suffered 19 (nineteen) years earlier.
The NSW Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) ruled that a deceased worker’s cardiac arrest resulted from a shoulder injury he suffered at work 19 years earlier.
The NSW Workers Compensation Commission tribunal awarded the deceased injured worker’s his family $465,100 in lump sum death benefits.
The (now deceased) injured worker had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) characterised by symptoms of recurring memories of the injured worker’s traumatic shoulder dislocation, depression, anger as well as impulse control problems such as gambling, alcohol abuse, and womanising.
When evaluating the evidence, the NSW Workers Compensation Commission tribunal found that there was a ‘common sense’ causal chain of events that showed a clear link between the injured worker’s premature death and his 19 year old work injury. The Tribunal concluded that the injured worker was diagnosed with PTSD caused by a combination of his initial traumatic shoulder dislocation, his subsequent recurrent dislocations and his fear of death at the time of his first operation.
In awarding the deceased injured worker’s his family $465,100 in lump sum death benefits, the NSW Workers Compensation Commission tribunal accepted the evidence of a cardiologist that the injured worker’s psychological injury, inactivity, weight and smoking were aggravated by anxiety and depression as a result of a shoulder injury at work.
The employment injury resulted in a psychological injury. It, and its manifestations such as inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and weight gain, resulted in the cardiac disease which resulted in the deceased’s death.
You can read the full text of the legal case here:
Case in point: Many injured workers develop psychological injury, may resourt to alcohol, smoking etc. in an attempt to relieve their anxiety and stress (including that of an adversarial workcover system) and many also become inactive due to their injury, put on weight etc. (See our article ” the first year after a medium to serious work injury “).
As illustrated in this legal case, further litigation re a workcover claim can arise many years after an incident and give rise to compensation.