The recent announcement by the Victorian Ombudsman -Ms Deborah Glass– to investigate the management of Workcover claims is definitely very worthwhile initiative. For years, injured workers and their representatives have faced workcover Insurer representatives who just say “No”, no matter what!
According to the Latrobe Valley Express,the (new) Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, welcomes ‘good’ whinges, including whinges (complaints) about WorkVover Vic (WorkSafe Vic), and is pushing for changes in legislation, in a bid to encourage more complaints. So guys, let’s bring on the workcover complaints!
About 6 months ago the former (Liberal) Victorian Government announced that it was discarding the well-known (workcover) WorkSafe Vic brand, changing it to its old original brand – Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA). This change made little intelligible meaning at the time, and many perceived it as a decrease of focus to injury prevention. On 23 January 2015, less than 2 months after the election of a new Labor Government, the brand has apparently costly and confusingly been restored.
According to an article in the Age, job-related stress is a growing problem in Victorian workplaces with 58 stress compensation claims for psychological injuries being approved every week. And lets not forget all the countless rejected claims. The annual number of claims for mental disorders has risen by almost 470 in five years while the annual amount paid out in compensation has risen by 45% to $273 million
According to the recent Herald Sun’s – rather over-sensationalised- article titled: Revealed: The WorkCover cheats ripping millions from the workers compensation fund , listing a handful of fraudulent injured workers’ cases, one can easily be mislead (again) that injured workers’ fraud is rampant and extremely costly. But is it?
Even when you have been awarded a serious injury certificate in Victoria (or elsewhere) for both pain and suffering and economic (pecuniary/future earnings) loss for a common law claim, your lawyer may advise you to drop the economic loss part of your claim and to only pursue the pain and suffering claim. This brief article explores the potential reasoning for not pursuing the economic loss part and to stay on workcover (weekly payments) instead.
In most Australian states, firefighters who are diagnosed of suffering with particular types of cancer are automatically “deemed” to have developed the condition by reason of their job. Unfortunately and tragically this legislation is not currently in place in Victoria, even though there is increased community support for such recognition.
According to WorkSafe Victoria (now called the Victorian WorkCover Authority) they take all independent medical examiner (IME) complaints seriously. They claim to review and respond to each complaint received from an injured worker. Outlined in this post is the complaints handling process for IMEs, as well as the IME Service Standards and their “Declaration”…
As we have previously posted, as of 1 July 2014, new WorkCover Victoria legislation (the WIRC Act) will regulate the entitlements of Victorians injured at work to compensation and ‘assistance’.
Further to our article “Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic” and the practice of “dodgy” rehabbers proposing bizarre “suitable/alternative work” to injured workers, here is another legal case have where a court has found the proposed alternative occupation for an injured worker to be unrealistic.