Meet the Work-Over system
Don’t be embarrassed if you thought our workcover system was your insurance against loss of wages, payment of your medical bills etc. when you are unfortunate enough to have been injured at work. This is sadly what we were all are led to believe. Even some of our (nicer) employers, who are paying the premium feels that their injured workers should be better cared for. But it’s just not the case. As long as the workcover insurance companies hold the purse strings of not only the political election process (eg. by ‘donations’), but of the whole ‘compensation system’, the injured workers will remain in trouble.
The only way to protect yourself is know your rights and learn how to exercise them.
Have you ever noticed that 99 % of information about the workcover system is generated by those who actually profit most from it. Workcover insurance carriers, some dodgy rehabbers, some lawyers and bureaucrats working for the system, all profit one way or another from the misery of the injured worker. Ever looked at the glossy brochures printed by workcover? Most workcover insurance carriers give employers brochures for their (injured) workers. Turn it over and you will see that it’s published by the insurance carriers, worse, sometimes by a non-profit organisation supported solely by contributions from insurance companies and their friends. And solely designed to give you, the injured worker, a totally false sense of security!
Yep, that’s right, very little in the workcover system is what it appears to be, especially when it comes to workcover insurance carriers.
Most of the information provided by your state or the workcover insurance company is of no help to injured workers unless they can read between the lines!
I. The Players
We have compiled the list of the “major” role players in the workcover system, and ranked each group by its level of indifference to the welfare and the plight of the injured worker. Ironically, you’ll soon learn that the ranking is also in direct proportion to the amount of money each makes from the pain and misery of injured folks.
Workcover insurance companies and their evil (defense) lawyers
Workcover insurance companies are your number one enemy. Think of them as terrorists.
In the workcover world the workcover insurance company is king. Yep. With years and years of contributions to the right politicians and legislation-makers, the workcover system is actually seen by the insurance companies as their private bank. All they do to make another deposit is squash anther injured worker. They use all sorts of real intimidation tactics in order to get the injured worker so discouraged, even working seriously injured and in agony, is better than dealing with the workcover system. They have evil lawyers trained in all aspects of harassment and legaleze. One of their favourite tactics is to stop your weekly payments or any other “benefit” such as medical treatment, for no apparent nor good reason. They will routinely drag out your case until your bills are months behind, there’s no food in the house, savings are gone and then they’ll call asking if you’re ready to settle your claim. We call their modus operandi “SSS” – Stall, Starve and Settle. Fair settlement huh?
And what about the workcover lawyers (aka defense lawyers)… ever wondered why anybody would want to be a lawyer for a sick and greedy insurance company? Making money out of injured workers’ pain? Finding whatever loophole to deny injured people a legitimate meagre benefit? Gotta be fully sick, and a failure! Sorry!
Oh and by the way we’ve sat in on workcover case hearings where the insurance company had 3 or 4 evil lawyers present. So this means if you are representing your case by yourself, you truly are a fool!
If you are not represented by a decent lawyer, specialised in workcover injuries, shame on you!
Insurance company doctors, including most so called “independent” medical doctors (IMEs)
Your whole injured future after a workplace injury or illness is determined by the so called medical “reports” provided by your treating doctors, the insurance doctors, including the so called “independent” doctors, and anyone else who “treats” you (rehabber, physio, vocational, psychologist etc).
If your employer (or the workcover insurer) sends you to a doctor other that your personal treating doctor, chances are that this person receives the majority of his or her business from insurance companies. If and when your insurance company sends you to yet another “independent” medical assessment, again chances are that this “doctor” receives the bulk of his lucrative business from insurance companies. Don’t be fooled.
Do you really think these doctors would give you an unbiased report regarding the status – even cause- of your injury knowing other referrals would stop if they did? We certainly didn’t think so! Neither should you! After all, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, huh!
Permanent Impairment Assessors/doctors
Oh dear, oh dear. Every injured worker sooner or later has to be “assessed” by a doctor other than the worker’s doctor or – at times- even the insurance company’s (i.e. Medical Panel). These include the above mentioned “independent” doctors, but these also include the “permanent impairment assessors”. Although quite a few “independent” medical doctors hold a ‘certificate’ to allow them to undertake permanent impairment assessments as well. Read between the lines.
These IMEs and IME impairment assessment doctors see as many as 6-8 injured workers an hour. From this simple, hastily “exam” the injured worker is usually sent a 5 to 10 page diagnosis- “report” and often from a doctor who has no expertise nor experience in the field of your injury!
We call those “Xerox reports”, which means that all these reports look very much alike for any given injury and injured person – copy/paste stuff.
Be realistic…. and not surprised if some of your injuries are missing, grossly understated, and the report totally falsified (especially when compared to what actually took place during that assessment). You will come to learn that there are massive discrepancies between the “impairment assessments” conducted by the “doctors” the insurance company sends you to, compared to, for example, a Medical Panel assessment. It is not the first time that we have seen psychiatric assessments vary from 5% to a whopping 25%; or physical injuries massively increase magically by at least 5%.
Rehabbers (including Vocational rehabbers)
Again, one would believe these are the people that are supposed to really help us, injured workers. Not so! Unfortunately, like the other 3 groups, their wallets are also tied to the workcover insurance companies. Of course, you’re not ever told this, but it’s something you will find out the first time you don’t agree with something re the rehab plan and the rehabber says something along the lines of: “mmmh, I guess I’ll have to ask the insurance company / case manager what to do”. So, to avoid further delays and extreme frustrations, please do not give way to the rehabber that you may have a brain!
Some workcover (appeal) judges and arbitrators (sorry!)
It is well known that some Judges, Arbitrators and Referees etc are really not chosen for their abilities or in the injured worker’s best interest. Again, don’t be fooled. Some will be there because of close relationships within the workcover system, oh yes!
Many of the judges, arbitrators etc in place are from some sort of insurance company background across the country. “What! I hear you say, “hiring the wolves to guard the chicken house?” That’s right! As long as insurance money talks, injured workers walk. You can do nothing about this, so deal with it as best you can.
Bureaucrats and others working for workcover authorities (i.e. Advisory Service)
Many of those working for “workcover Authorities” (and those working for insurance companies) are underpaid, under-trained and always blamed. Go to any “office” that (pretends to) deal with injured workers, it’s hard not to see the attitude that prevails …total disinterest, indifference, one that certainly screams you’re wasting their time and that you are a terribly noisy pain in their butt(s). They probably spend way too much time protecting their own little a*ses in the workcover “system”.
Isn’t there a saying “Nothing corrupts like absolute corruption”….?