‘With all the obvious and sometimes deadly symptoms, there has to be some kind of disease [within workcover]’ said an injured worker recently. Everyday we hear from injured workers and at times dread reading their stories. Sometimes we receive 10 emails from badly treated injured workers a day. in the same or more serious situations. Did I say 10? Sometimes it’s 20. And the sheer number of badly treated injured workers means not only is that there something clearly wrong with the workcover system, but that it is systemic.
Workcover is a disease – injured workers are dying from it
Not only do we read many stories from badly treated workers, but we also scan social media and pick up even more evidence that the workcover system, or being on workcover is sick(ening). One Tweet read ” WorkCover kills people”; another aimed at workcover states “Take out the ear plugs u might c & hear ppl crying for help.”
Recently an injured worker described herself as a “crucified injured worker” and that “insurance companies treat injured workers like criminals.”
Another spouse of an injured worker told us that her husband killed himself and added that “If injured workers don’t go into (the workcover claims process) with a mental disorder, they are definitely coming out of it with a mental disorder.”
Countless injured workers have contemplated suicide whilst on the ‘system’.
Many injured workers write to us that the workcover system (in just about all states) needs to be reviewed, preferably by means of a Royal Commission.
A Victorian doctor calls WorkerCover Agent’s policies “appallingly disturbing,” saying it orders injured workers to accept particular treatments or lose their benefits”.
An injured worker told us he is finally scheduled for his recommended ankle surgery 3 years after his workplace injury, and only after he engaged a lawyer “It’s been a horrible mess even trying to get basic medical care, let alone benefits“, he wrote.
Earlier this month a seriously injured worker asked us if he could sue WorkCover (insurer) for at least $1 million. He wanted compensation for what he called a “journey of terror,” where the workcover insurer repeatedly denied treatment and surgery that his doctors had recommended. He is adamant that the workcover insurer “inflicted far more damage than the injury suffered in the workplace accident” and wants to be compensated for this “evil treatment.” Unfortunately, in Australia, WorkCover has no legal duty for how an injured worker is treated (by its agent / insurer) and workcover insurers conveniently are exempt from acting in ‘good faith’. Needless to say that if there was some duty of care, workcover authorities and their agents would be subjected to a deluge of lawsuits alleging negligence in the investigation, adjudication as well as the administration of claims.
Surely, the reason why our workcover insurer’s are exempt from bad faith implies fear that there would be an immediate avalanche of legal actions, and is an admission that there’s a serious problem in the workcover system, or?
Injured workers are under tremendous stress and living in pain. That alone does not explain just how compensation situations explode so drastically. And always with the same message: Time and time again, workcover insurance companies and workcover authorities are described as aloof, uncaring, bullying and arbitrary.
[dictated by WCV and manually transcribed on her behalf]