“How much is my workcover case worth?” Is a question we receive very often from seriously injured workers. It is a very difficult question to answer because the “commercial value” of your case depends of many factors, and each case is unique.
Any workcover issue can lead to disputes and/or litigation, and many do. If you have a particularly aggressive workcover insurer that loves nothing else but deny cases, benefits and settlements, it will often lead to legal hearings over adversarial decisions the workcover case manager made on the claim. Some workcover claims/cases which are in litigation are more complex than others, but all have one thing in common: they (generally) drag on forever. Let’s look at some of the factors involved that (may) lead to protracted litigation/settlement.
As we have discussed in a previous article, many seriously injured workers believe that a workcover settlement is a windfall, a welcome piece of good fortune or personal gain, and that it will compensate them for all that they feel they have lost and endured (and still will lose and endure in many cases); and will somehow offset the limitations they will have in the future.
what many seriously injured workers don’t understand or realise is that -of course- it does not and that later realisation is quite devastating, and can bring about what is called a second wave depression.
Do you, like Judy, read legal cases or stories involving considerable sums of compensation payouts to injured workers and wonder why it is that you did not receive any such compensation (payout) from workcover, even though you are badly injured and may never work again? If you do, read on as we’ll explain how this “compensation” works in Victoria and hope it all makes some sense.
If (or better yet, when) you hire/engage a workers’ compensation lawyer, help them help you obtain full treatment and benefits for your injuries. In order to fully maximise the amount of benefits the injured worker ultimately receives, lawyers depend on their clients (YOU) to provide them with the information they need to fully represent your case. There are several things you can do to help your lawyer in this effort, including watching what you do and say!
As we’ve mentioned yesterday, many lawyers (and law firms) enter into ‘no win‐no fee’ costs agreements with their clients, undertaking legal work on their behalf on what is sometimes called a ‘speculative’ basis ( because the lawyer agrees to take the risk that the case might lose)
The idea behind a ‘no win ‐ no fee’ cost agreement is that it gives people with limited finances access to justice…
In order to establish liability for a workcover claim, it is usually sufficient to demonstrate that an injury occurred at work. However in order to prove negligence and as such access common law damages, a seriously injured worker has also to be able to prove exactly how his/her injury occurred at his/her workplace. The following interesting District Court of WA judgement shows that workers in supervisory roles cannot place themselves in harm’s way or exceed their physical limitations and then claim negligence on the part of their employer if they subsequently become injured.
Further to some questions posted regarding action for damages in respect of injuries in Victoria, we thought it worthwhile to resummarise the process and restrictions on the ability of an injured worker to recover common law damages in Victoria.
Further to our articles about Common Law Damages Claims, e.g how they are calculated ; we thought it very important to highlight that, when it comes to awarding injured workers damages for economic loss, Courts tend to look unfavourably upon injured workers -even those with the tiniest bit of work capacity- who do not, or did not attempt to move on with their life in terms of returning to work. Needless to say that the defendants (workcover insurer lawyers and barristers) will also use any argument possible to demonstrate that you, the injured worker, did “nothing”, or not enough to mitigate your own losses, for example by refusing medical treatment (to some degree) rehabilitation, counseling, vocational assessment(s), seeking employment within your restriction(s), re-training, etc.
Employers are NOT interested in finding injured workers (suitable) placements in SA. There is no dignity in being humiliated at work by an employer who has no problem telling the entire workplace that you are not wanted and worthless. So why not dump them in a place where they can’t get Centre link payments and they sit just below the poverty line.
According to our SA based co-author “Trinny”: “These people have no intention of making Workcover in SA dignified. They just want to fall into line with the likes of NSW and trash people“.