Settlement of a workcover claim can liberate the injured worker

free-from-workcover-prison

While any workcover settlement (or closure of claim) does NOT take an injured worker’s pain and/or disability away; once the injured worker feels that s/he is no longer imprisoned and under constant scrutiny by the work-over system, there is then room for “living”. There is nothing like experiencing freedom from being surveilled, judged, made accountable, having to comply with directives from insurance vultures and…from being treated like vermin.

Settlement of a workcover claim can liberate the injured worker

Have you ever thought of this: When, for example, we watch a friend or relative die a slow and agonising death, we often think or say that we (I/you) would never want go through that. And that we would simply refuse the care (such as chemotherapy) and just accept that this is the end. Some of us vow to ‘end it’ instead of dying a painful and slow death.

Arguably we often have the same feelings when we watch a more seriously injured worker go through prolonged (and delayed) and agonising care – care that needs to be fought for over and over again – all the while being treated like ‘vermin’ by the workcover insurance company.

The question is: is there any sense in suffering or prolonging your suffering when you already know the probable outcome. Death in the worst case scenario, or crippled and in pain for the rest of our life?

While most of us would like to believe that we would not want through a slow, painful death, or live a very painful, crippled, or even paralysed life; this believe is (most often) erroneous.

Recently my elderly neighbour was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. When he first received the dreadful news, he vowed he would never ever have chemotherapy and just let nature take it’s course, preferably fast. He had watched 2 of his relatives die a slow, agonising cancer death and refused to die that way.

Even the most seemingly resolved patient, or injured worker for that matter, will make desperate attempts to defy the odds, and will elect to suffer enormously, and be hopeful that some fragment of life can be experienced before the end.

Our fear of the end of life far exceeds our fear of suffering

For those (seriously) injured workers from whom aworkcovervictimsdiary has received follow-up, their life after injury…or in this case `life after workcover insurance settlement’ is not as they would have anticipated. Most injured workers expected to physically and psychologically suffer after settlement or closure of their claim . Most also believed that this suffering would be to intolerable and unavoidable. At the end of the day, no amount of settlement monies (compensation) can bring back your life as you once knew it.

Many seriously injured workers believe that there is nothing after a workcover settlement with which they can create a life that allows for their pain and permanent limitations. There is no job, no return to any work, there is no (or not much) social existence that accommodates for their suffering.

However, regardless of pain and functional/mental limitations, fact is the seriously injured worker will ultimately find some capacity to find “meaning” in their existence or life. They will find ways of ‘keeping busy’, feeling a degree of productivity and most will re-establish relationships or find new friends.

Once the injured worker or workcovervictim feels that s/he is no longer under constant scrutiny, there is then room for ‘breathing’ and living

This former entrapped workcovervictim may now experience freedom from being observed, surveilled, judged, made accountable, being told what to do and what not etc. They are now free to live outside the extremely constricted world of the injured worker where there are so few options, and where there is no freedom.

Settlement does not resolve pain or disability, but it can liberate the injured worker



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20 Responses to “Settlement of a workcover claim can liberate the injured worker”

  1. Settlement of my claim certainly didn’t liberate me. What would liberate me? A fair and proper system for injured workers to be treated with respect and dignity and those in the workcover system, insurers, employers, P.Is etc would be held accountable for deliberate and bad management of injured workers. But I know that will never happen. We live in a world where half the population are psychopaths and the rest of us have to learn to deal with them – The workers compensation system is full of these psychopaths.

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  2. Settlement of my claim only liberated me to become homeless for two and a half years and to spend my life in the poverty trap offered by the disability pension. I’d really like to hear from those who have been genuinely liberated.

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    • Well, I FEEL I can now BREATHE. That’s is not to say I am no longer suffering (in fact I did get worse physically after settlement), but I feel a re-gained sense of ‘freedom’. Not having to deal with the work-over, not having to look over my shoulder, feeling on edge 24/7, scared of phone calls, dreading the next IME and so forth. However I fully agree with the above comments, hence my quest to try and make life for imprisoned work-over victims a little easier by contributing to this site. The other thing is that I will never get over the trauma of my workcover-terror journey, that in itself certainly caused permanent psych/mental damage to anyone stuck on this evil system for some time!

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      • Looking back at the article I wrote “the role of an injured worker is similar to someone in prison“:
        The principal issue is that humans live by finding purpose to their lives. Despair arises from our failure to find a specific meaning to life, and purposeful activities to fill our days. Yet, the injured worker is released back into a world in which there may be no meaningful role.Yet no service is provided to equip and help or support the injured worker with the decisions that follow administrative claim closure.. It is very common to suffer from what is called a second wave (major) depression after settlement…
        But, I must say that I very much like to be OUT OF THE WORK-OVER PRISON! It does give a sense of renewed (and long lost) ‘freedom’, and it even takes a while to get used to the fact that you’re no longer ‘chained’ (I was imprisoned in the work-over system for almost 10 years!) Admittedly it also does take (a long) time to find some meaning in your injured/disabled and seemingly ‘void’ life, but eventually – by our very resilient human natures – that ‘some’ meaning does eventually come.
        Saying that, I agree that true ‘liberation’ probably never comes – the damages inflicted by the system will remain like deep and big scars for many people who have been on the system for a prolonged period of time. How can you ever forget your workcover terror journey? That’s the very reason I plan on continuing with my mission – to make life a tiny bit easier for the next workcovervictims.

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  3. I have been in this system since 2008 and amazingly I am still in it but probably not for much longer as I have a case manager who has dollar signs motivating her and is a consummate liar. I have seen them all over the years, from the nasty to the sickeningly condescending. I have not suffered as much as many on this site as I had a solid backing of legal expertise at my disposal (thanks dear friends and hubby), but nothing will take away the physical pain I suffer everyday or the dreadful phobias I now have thanks to the way I have been treated. Fear of going to the doctor, fear of the phone, fear of e mails, fear of being watched, fear of political parties which passed legislation which took away my rights and of course fear of IMEs and IMCs. I look forward to being free mentally for the first time in years and that is the way I will look at it when they throw me off. I have every intention of applying for the job of a case manager when the thing harassing me now cuts me off. As I have an obvious disability, it will be interesting to see if I get the job, I have more experience with Workcover than any of their hacks and I know the legislation quite well, so they better come up with a good reason to deny me the job which I know they will. I do not have an employer and fighting insurance companies has been my occupation for five years, just ignore my injury, nearly everyone in the system does. So wish me luck when I am released from this purgatory, hopefully the rage and anger will die down eventually, but somehow I don’t think so, the sad stories I read on this site will not allow me to give up the fight.

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    • @Bunny – as you said :

      Fear of going to the doctor, fear of the phone, fear of e mails, fear of being watched, fear of political parties which passed legislation which took away my rights and of course fear of IMEs and IMCs. I look forward to being free mentally for the first time in years…

      is exactly what so many of us fear and it really causes great stress and even paranoia to most of us, even the most resilient ones amongst us. You couldn’t have summed it up better and it is exactly that – no more FEAR / STRESS that becomes so liberating.

      I was stuck in the work-over prison for almost 10 (TEN) years, and God does it feel exhilarating to be able to ‘breathe’, not to fear phone calls, no more feeling sick when opening insurers’ letters, no longer feeling ‘invaded’ and so forth. For me personally this has been a true liberation mentally.

      However the pain, anguish and mental injuries inflicted over that period of time by the insurer won’t ‘heal’, I’ll wear the scars for the rest of my life, and that is why I really don’t want anybody else to go through this work-over terror journey alone, and ‘un-educated’. Hence my mission to continue to support any injured worker as best I can, through this site, by sharing knowledge, by showing that you’re definitely not alone, that the system takes it out on every single injured worker, in the same manner, using the same tactics to break you.

      It is very interesting that we, injured workers, never ever get offered an alternative job in the field of workcover insurer case manager, I have never come across a single vocational assessment suggesting this role may be very suitable even though many of us would be well qualified for the job. The reason, well you can guess it, you would need to be a greedy, money-focused, uncaring psychopath to succeed in your application.The few decent, ethical and human case managers I have come across never lasted long (they left!).

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      • Hahaha an injured worker as a case manager, it just wouldn’t work. Our brains would be corrupted when they tried to load the case manager training / information into us. How long would one of us last when asked to treat people the way we’ve been treated? Not very long!
        One of my rehab/employment case managers only lasted 4 months in their position and left because of what the insurer was dictating/ expecting them to do when they knew it was wrong. Over the years I’ve had two genuine, non desperate rehab case managers who have left within six months of the job because of pressure to do what the insurer directed them to do; in their last days they quite openly confessed this.

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      • WCV, I forgot to mention one of the overwhelming fears, the fear of the letter box. When you go to get the mail and see that pre paid sticker, the anxiety that engulfs you is almost unbearable. (I hate council letters because they use the same sticker). It takes me ages to go to the letter box and if I get a letter from them, I worry that I will fall over on the way back to my front door as my legs go to jelly. Is it fair to inflict that on anyone? And the other thing is the guilt, the guilt that you have on good days that you may not be injured and that you are actually a rorter. What a dreadful disgusting system.

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        • @Bunny – you’re so right – as I wrote in m comment above “…no more feeling sick when opening insurers’ letters…”I was also deeply affected by any mail (letters) – as well as calls and emails. I had a direction in place against the insurer (X and Ahh) to not ever communicate with me directly – all letters were to go to my treating psych, who then opened the letter(s) and verbally told me if I had to do anything or not. Of course every new CM pretended not to be aware of said directions and I would receive letters in the mail. Like you I felt physically sick just seeing one in the letter box, and had to make an appt with my doctor or psych to have it read. It’s just terrible that the abusive tactics used by insurers make injured workers feel sick, stressed out and worse. I have no doubt it is all part of the game, the goal to BREAK you (so you 1) give up or 2) settle for less than peanuts to make ‘it’ go away).
          Only an injured worker who has been trapped in this sick system understands the above (the FEAR/STRESS) of reading or seeing an insurance letter in their mailbox. And as I said it causes the same reaction to the most resilient amongst us!

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        • The mail box with a letters in it actually makes me feel sick, so I get my partner to check the mail box. Anything from the insurers or workcover is put aside until I feel ready to open it

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    • @ Bunny. I thought just the same thing- what great case managers we would make!. I reckon we would have an outstanding record of actually helping people promptly, that this would save WC millions. Imagine having a CM that is actually HUMAN- someone that genuinely wanted to help!. But like you said, I doubt it. Reckon they would be too scared of us Blowing the Whistle on them. Imagine WC being truly exposed. That will be a day worth waiting for! Cheers, MadChef

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      • Mad Chef, I think we owe it to all injured workers to try. They want us to work even though we are injured and they have not cured us, so apply to all the insurance companies. Let us see how genuine they are. If all of your resumes are rejected by all of them, then we can really show that discrimination in action.

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        • @Bunny. I’d love to have Allianz hire me- especially with all the physical restrictions I have. I’m sure they won’t mind having a bed available for me at work so I can lie down, maybe for an hour, maybe for half the day. I am quite sure they wouldn’t mind paying for my unproductive work output coz I’m so medicated or just couldn’t cope with moving so I fail to show up for that day. I’m sure they won’t mind me having time off for yet another round of surgery and rehab.And I am sure they wouldn’t mind me driving to work even though my meds say do not drive under the influence of these drugs. This, unfortunately, is exactly what WC expect of employers if they are prepared to give us a go. As an ex- employer I would not hire me- period! Why would I, there are plenty of people in the labour market that pose no risk to your business.
          I am quite sure that Allianz would be happy to cop the Liability of hiring me with an ongoing and deteriorating lower limb injury and waste wages on all the times I won’t be there!” Its in their charter to get “injured workers back to employment as soon as possible”
          Would you hire me Allianz? Would you cover me if I re-injured myself at your work place Allianz?

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  4. Hey everyone, I have a question is it true that when you finish your case that they still watch you with a PI and that some people go through a second wave of depression.

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    • @Tony – I am not sure if injured workers are surveilled post settlement – I don’t believe so unless if you’re claiming for example TPD (they may resourt to the same PI tactics workcover insurers use).
      With re to second wave depression after settlement, it is quite common. many seriously injured workers believe that a workcover settlement is a windfall, a welcome piece of good fortune or personal gain, and that it will compensate them for all that they feel they have lost and endured (and still will lose and endure in many cases); and will somehow offset the limitations they will have in the future.
      what many seriously injured workers don’t understand or realise is that -of course- it does not and that later realisation is quite devastating, and can bring about what is called a second wave depression. Read more>>

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      • Well my case was settled 7 months ago and I was still being survielled – workcover, insurer, employer, centrelink? not sure who or maybe all. I decided to assert my rights to obtain F.O.I. from workcover this week, so it will be interesting to see. Will keep you all informed.

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    • Yes, it’s true. They sure have a lot of money to waste.

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  5. I went thru hell to get to where I am now and that’s at settlement! I would not recommend this journey to anyone and the Insurers are only interested in creating more heartache along with grief.
    But to pursue me it cost the company over $500000 and they paid me for two years to sit at home, the $500,000 is made up of psychiatrists (insurers) medical boards, psychologists, doctors, my lawyers fee’s (no win, no fee is a misnomer)
    They also now are in the process of sending me to “INDEPENDENT” (yeah right) Occupational Physician, and after that they have to make a decision, according to whom I spoke to at the INSURER it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks before they call me to tell me that I will no longer be on weekly benefits, and after that they pay me for 13 more weeks.
    The 130 week cut off date then becomes over 140 weeks, so the amount I got paid out plus the 2 and a bit years that they paid me for over that time amounts to now amounts to a extra bonus on top of payout.
    Would have been cheaper and easier for insurer to just say we will give you x amount at the start and saved y amount over 5 years, but I guess it kept people employed!
    Social Networking sites are a trap that the Insurer will use to minimise or circumvent payment as they troll thru them and search for anything that can mitigate the claim against you.
    Also never believe it when a INSURER says a “INDEPENDENT” doctor or psychiatrist or any one that they say is “INDEPENDENT” try telling them that if this person is “INDEPENDENT” then why cannot I choose who to see and why should I see someone who is working for you?
    The INSURER sends them questions that they want the doctor, psychiatrist or whomever to ask at the meeting and the questions ARE loaded against you.
    I said to my WORKCOVER INSURER that I want to see some one away from there selection and they were not overly impressed, but it proved my point.

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    • And the INSURER is still obligated to put me thru training to get me back in workforce, so I think I might utilize that and get a few more qualifications.
      Wonder how much it costs for pilots licence, never know there might lots of jobs for pilots!

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      • Sorry bill,
        but that is a misunderstanding you have there. they don’t actually have to put you through re-training, not unless you don’t speak english well and can’t count or use a computer, if you can’t do either of those two things they will get you a quick course. Otherwise if you can count well enough to work at a checkout at Coles then you have sufficient job skill as far as they are concerned. Also if you know how to use Microsoft word they consider you qualified to be a junior receptionist and will ask you to apply for jobs like that or they threaten to cut off your benefits/compensation, in your case (because you say you are at the end of your compensation) they will likely just tell you that you have skills so see you later.

        I too thought that they were actually obligated to retrain you, but the truth is you just need the knowledge to do Something, Anything. Then there is no obligation. It’s really messed up. Good luck man

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