Tag Archives: Frustration

angry-at-workcover

Angry at the workcover system

I recently asked an orthopaedic surgeon why he recently decided to cease accepting workcover patients; the surgeon gave an interesting but perhaps wretched answer, saying that workcover patients are much more difficult o engage and treat than general patients because “these injured workers are so angry at the [workcover] system”.

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IME-threat

Independent Medical Examination doctors – is their job 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…

injured-workers-and-anger mental-helath-toll losing-control-workers-comp

Being on workcover means losing control & with lack of control comes desperation

The harsh reality few understand -and even fewer are willingly to express openly- is that when an injured worker is on the “system”, they start to lose control, and lack of control can often lead to desperation – and a desperate injured worker, “fed up” with the workcover system act out in different ways. Many desperate injured workers, like us, will vent their anger , rage and frustration on blogs and forums like workcovervictimsdiary.com; others send letters and/or emails documenting their horror stories, desperate situation and their frustration to politicians; a few – tragically- are so fed up with the system they choose to commit suicide because they feel hopeless; and another very few become so enraged they will commit acts of violence, including homicide in a desperation to get better.

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colin-dunstan-comcare-art

Workcover insurance bad faith negotiation tactics

Bad faith insurance practices occur when an insurance company knowingly and intentionally denies payment of a legitimate claim by using several different tactics. These tactics include failure to investigate claims promptly and thoroughly, delaying and underpaying claims, misinterpreting policy language, and failing to communicate honestly with the insurer regarding claims. A key word in bad faith practices is “unreasonable“. If this is not enough, insurance companies and their representatives and lawyers will also use disturbing bad faith negotiation tactics, be it at conciliations or settlement mediations. Here we list common tactics.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies will continue to practice bad faith in hopes the insured will just “go away” and drop the claims. They will also do anything to stonewall negotiations in the hope to delay, stall and minimise settlements.

Workcover insurance bad faith negotiation tactics

Individual Responses regarding Bad Faith Negotiation Tactics

A list of any other ways in which a party acts in “bad faith” (i.e., unfairly) in a negotiation:

  1. ‘stonewalling’ or frustrating the process unnecessarily
  2. If party is primarily motivated by punishing the other, or by vindicating herself
  3. The mediator doesn’t help the parties overcome these obstacles
  4. Party uses the process for ‘discovery.’  Party has no intention to explore opportunities for settlement
  5. Comes with no intent in even considering settlement except for some number decided by someone else who isn’t present. Then the negotiation usually is a total waste of everyone’s time, money, and effort.
  6. Takes advantage of a power imbalance which mediator does not address and ameliorate; consciously takes advantage of mediator’s bias or close link to such party; is simply unreasonable and intractable; is unwilling  to listen to the other side
  7. A party gets off topic so much they run the time out and both sides aren’t given enough time (even if they are given “equal” time but one party isn’t permitted to address things important to their position b/c of having to address the side issues (“distractions”))
  8. A party uses hardball tactics meant to corner or trick the other party into submission
  9. If a party knows or should know the value of the case but refuses to acknowledge it
  10. Threats relating to future unfair behaviour
  11. Not willing to go through whole process
  12. I don’t equate “unfair” with “bad faith” Unfair could simply mean having a better lawyer, more experience, etc.
  13. Asserting and maintaining an unreasonable position; being unprepared; not having decision-makers present
  14. Fails to show up
  15. They don’t listen
  16. By refusing to listen to the other side’s position(s)/need(s)
  17. Refuses to listen to the other party. Refuses to provide necessary documents
  18. Parties can lie/withhold information/refuse to compromise (with or without good reason). None of that is “unfair.” I can’t think of anything a party can do that would be “unfair.”
  19. Unequal disparity of dispute resolution resources between (among) the parties
  20. Person doesn’t have settlement authority [how often have you experienced this at Conciliation for example? Some cocky insurance representative stating “sorry I can only offer you a maximum of 1 hour per fortnight home help…”
  21. A party shows up without the authority/will/information to settle
  22. Misrepresentation or characterization of the case to their own client
  23. Is unwilling to listen to the other party.  Can’t get off positions and into interests and needs
  24. Trying to “bully the mediator or other party – how familiar!
  25. A party is not a decision maker but represents him/herself as one having authority
  26. The more powerful party (like a big corporation or an insurance company!) overwhelms the little guy with nomenclature, laws, etc.
  27. Comes to mediation for other ulterior, reason, i.e., determine opponent’s bottom line, conduct discovery… Etc
  28. Because “good” is a relative term #6 is tough. A party who does not give the other party a chance at understanding the reason for their actions or lack of action hinders a fair/helpful/just process.
  29.  Keeping information from a party that will directly effect a decision just because the other party didn’t directly ask for it when the ramification is known and obvious if the information were shared. Unknown ramifications for information withheld probably would not constitute “bad faith.” Unknown because communication is hindered by being stuck in a position, that is.
  30. It is only form to get to court–let the judge decide, they say
  31. Negative communication patterns continue; there is no self-analysis of what one contributes to the conflict
  32. A party declares that he/she has authority to settle when such authority does not exist
  33. Aggressive behaviour. More comprehensively – a party that does not do as it would be done by
  34. They take advantage of a power differential (i.e., the other party is emotionally weak, afraid, a victim of some kind of discrimination, etc.)
  35. Makes selfish, hurtful or threatening comments
  36. A Party acts unfairly when it refuses to settle because it wants to outspend its opponent in litigation or its lawyers want to keep billing their client, therefore they steer the case away from a fair settlement
  37. Manipulation of information, power, or communication process (verbal and non-verbal) – how TYPICAL!

[Source: http://settlenow.org/BadFaithNegotiations.html]

 

You can read more about shocking  bad faith claim practices by workcover insurers here

 

 

 

 

 

despair-injured-worker

The first year after a medium to severe workplace injury

Further to John McPhilbin’s article about the Cycle of Despair, the model that we  all believe offers a fairly accurate representation of what many injured workers are forced to endure in the dysfunctional workers compensation system, I’d like to briefly resummarise an article we posted on our forum about what a medium to severe injured worker typically undergoes and how they are affected within the first year(s) after a workplace injury.

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Cycle of despair: Many injured workers become trapped in a never ending cycle of neglect and abuse

We have been working on a model that we believe offers a fairly accurate representation of what many injured workers are forced to endure in dysfunctional workers compensation systems.  This model titled ‘Cycle of Despair’ is based on our survey results and many hours of of in-depth interviews with injured workers along with reviews of relevant mental health literature (Refer IWSN submission to the NSW Workers Compensation Inquiry in June 2012.)

Cycle of despair

Many injured workers become trapped in a never ending cycle of neglect and abuse that works against their ability to recover.

The model consists of four major components that when taken together offer a bleak picture of  mental health of seriously injured or ill workers trapped in dysfunctional workers compensation systems.  Hence the reason the model is titled ‘Cycle of Despair’ since many workers become trapped in a never ending cycle of neglect and abuse that works against their ability to recover.

1. Coping with trauma. Injured workers are forced to cope with the impact of injury and illness on their life which is often accompanied by loss and grief associated with loss of previous functioning (physical and or/ psychological and social).

2. Trapped in adversarial system.They are then exposed to often sustained poor treatment by employers, insurers and the workers compensation in general.

3.  Hopelessness and despair. Injury and /or illness are made worse and hope for a normal future often fades.

4. De-motivation. The ability to remain motivated and optimistic is reduced as the destructive cycle continues to be reinforced.

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