Generally speaking, and as for example outlined in the Independent Medical Examiner – IME – Sevices Standards, (in Victoria) a doctor hired to examine a patient/injured worker on behalf of a workcover insurance company ((or employer), does not establish a (standard) doctor-patient relationship. However, we believe that there are times when at the very least, a limited duty to the injured worker (patient) may well exist in some circumstances! And that the IME in question could potentially be sued for liability (i.e. malpractice)!
I recently had the pleasure to make contact with the personal injury lawyer who recently commented on our site under the nickname Paragon (formerly ****88). One of the issues I raised was (and is) that workers comp lawyers aren’t offering much legal input on this forum /blog in response to the plight of injured workers. Paragon explains the reason(s) behind it, and perhaps more importantly has generously offered to contribute to our site as a volunteer, and help offer solutions to those injured workers who need help at the most desperate moments.
We recently received a very insulting message via our tip us off page stating “I think this site is a scandal in itself. If you people were genuine, you’d do everything in your power to help injured workers. I’m still waiting for the class action against workcover nsw. (Seems no one on this site is interested). I think this site is run by workcover….” [extract]. So, let’s address some of these ‘issues’, specifically the issue of class action(s).
Many [Victorian] seriously injured workers, who are eligible for a common law damages claim, ask us how long it will take to settle their [common law damages] workcover claim.
A few weeks ago I stumbled on this interesting NSW legal workers compensation case, whereby the NSW Workers Compensation Commission ordered the employer to pay the worker weekly compensation on the basis of probable earnings rather than actual earnings!
When a case is presented in court it’s assumed that all the relevant evidence is brought forth regardless what that evidence may contain. The employer in this case was so concerned of the full evidence reaching the injured employee, they feared they could be convincingly convicted.
It has come to our attention that numerous Victorian injured workers have experienced most frustrating delays with having their case heard in the Supreme Court.
Despite many promises, the Victorian Supreme Court has not been able to accommodate numerous injured workers’ cases on the day it was due to commence, and the cases have been adjourned over for several months. In one case, the Court adjourned the case for almost one year! (From August 2012 until April 2013).
A workplace relations and safety lawyer warns that employers must make it very clear to injured workers that modified work arrangements are only temporary, or risk breaching contract laws and facing unfair dismissal claims.
Is this just another way to divert attention away from stripping adequate legal representation from injured workers? We think so! We agree with NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge: “the new system would reward lawyers who served the interests of WorkCover because they would be chosen by the government.”
Greg Pearce is obviously worried about what Fred Nile’s amendments to the NSW Workers Compensation legislation have done. So what does he do? Creates a new ‘free’ legal advice centre where you can talk to lawyers of the government’s choice and have the pleasure of still paying legal fees if you don’t agree with them.