‘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.
Let’s just imagine that we are a doctor or specialist and that we’ve accepted to treat an injured worker.Who is really making the medical/surgical decisions about our injured workers? Shouldn’t the workcover insurers at least share the liability or at least bear the responsibility of their own actions or lack thereof?
The following NT legal workcover case demonstrates (again) to what lengths workcover insurers will go to deny liability for an injury, more so in cases of psychiatric injury. A psychiatrist (IME) hired by the workcover insurer found the injured worker experienced symptoms of depression as a result of his “difficult circumstances”, as opposed to having major depressive disorder. The insurer stated that the injured worker did not have a psychological injury, or that in the case he did, it was not caused by his (primary) low back injury.
A key element in suicidal behaviour or idealisation is the feeling of helplessness, which arises from prolonged periods of [extreme] stress or emotional upset. For many [seriously] or ill injured workers this may include constant abuse from the employer or the workcover insurer [case manager], constant denials for even the most basic of medical and like care/services; …
The Victorian Federal Court has very recently (March 2015) dismissed an injured worker’s claim that his employer took “adverse action” against him by exposing him to a manager’s extremely and outrageously abusive behaviour and by failing to offer/provide him with a return to work plan.
Quite often the lack of a bonding and lasting doctor-patient or doctor-injured worker relationship is a central part…and —often— a central problem…of the workcover system. Quite often the injured worker did not choose to see their doctor or specialist, and the reverse is also true, quite often the doctor did not choose nor want to see this injured worker…
Our co-author “Rescape” found this little ‘gem’ while browsing some news: the Australian Human Rights Commission finds that being disabled is dangerous.
Have you, like us, ever wondered if more ‘notorious’ independent medical examination doctors (IME) are verbally and/or physically threatened with (bodily) harm by injured workers, or perhaps their family or even friends? What if a genuinely injured worker— whose emotions run hot and whose future it at stake—receives a grossly biased, extremely unfair and utterly insulting IME report, resulting in loss (i.e. weekly pay, medical and like etc), damage (i.e. common law claim), hurt, humiliation… and… utter RAGE? Continue Reading…
It’s bad enough to suffer a psychological injury at work, or the ferocious retribution routinely meted out to these workers. But as is well known that, often, if the psychological injured worker tries to obtain compensation or remedy through the ‘justice’ system, they are likely to suffer further psychological injury from the system itself- and, in some cases, more severe than the actual original one. This is such a problem, that quite a few psychiatrists, psychologists and even lawyers advice to psychologically injured workers NOT to try litigation.
The workers compensation system, supposed to serve as a safety net for injured or sick workers, may actually lead to worse health outcomes for some injured workers (aka compensable cases). However, the complexity of the identified reasons makes it rather clear that there is no single, easily isolated cause of poorer health outcomes for injured workers.