Archive | April, 2013

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Judge criticises law firm about rejection of more generous settlement offer

The law firm, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, that was blasted by a Federal Court judge over its conduct in the Peter Slipper sexual harassment case has come in for more criticism over a claim that a client rejected a settlement offer nearly five times more generous than she ultimately received.

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NSW Court rules workcover amendments affecting lumpsums do not apply retrospectively

A really very  important decision has been handed down by the NSW court of appeal today. The Court has held that the amendments affecting lump sum compensation that came into effect on 19 June 2012 do not apply to any worker who had made a lump sum claim before 19 June 2012.

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Deeds of release often used in settling workcover cases- what are they?

Deeds of release are often used in settling workcover cases  and common law claims between employers (or their representing insurance companies and defense lawyers) and injured workers — but what are they really? In this article, we try to discuss what deed are, how they’re written and provide very important tips on their use for injured workers.

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Workcover compensation schemes impede recovery from injury

Further to our recent article “Being on workcover leads to serious negative side effects”, we stumbled on one of the largest Australian studies -undertaken at Monash (VIC)- which found that workers compensation schemes basically impede recovery from injury.

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Recoveries of money under workcover

We recently received the following inquiry and the following horror story from two separate injured workers, both cases basically revolve around the fact that -yes- Workcover can recover compensation paid to a worker from a third party, where the third party has caused or contributed to the injury occurring. As Carol kindly explained,if you already have an accepted workcover claim and/or common law settlement there is absolutely no point bringing a separate civil damages claim against a third party for negligence/damages born out of the same incident as your workcover claim as  you can’t double dip and be compensated twice for the same injury/damage/loss.

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Employers incl RTW Coordinators are not allowed to attend doctors appointments

aworkcovervictimsdiary received a shocking email from an injured worker last night, whose employer (a large public hospital) insisted that the injured worker’s “return to work coordinator” be allowed to attend the injured worker’s medical appointment with his specialist orthopedic surgeon, in order “to clarify” the injured worker’s “current fitness for work” status with the surgeon!

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Victoria safest for young workers: twisted workcover stats!

Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips, Vic’s workcover Minister revealed on 19 April that recent WorkCover statistics show Victoria is the safest state in Australia for young workers when comparing the work health and safety schemes of each state and territory. Now, now, isn’t this a rather misleading way of hiding the truth of  SafeWork Australia’s newly released  report “Work-related injuries experienced by young workers in Australia, 2009–10″, which shows that workplace health and safety basically is not working for young workers, that under 25′s account for most work injuries, and… hang on, that almost two thirds (75%!) of injured young workers did not apply for workers’ compensation?

Victoria safest for young workers: WorkCover stats

 Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips today revealed recent WorkCover statistics that show Victoria is the safest state in Australia for young workers when comparing the work health and safety schemes of each state and territory.

The report ‘Work related injuries experienced by young workers in Australia 2009-2010,’ is the latest national data available that compiles the number of work injury claims, for workers under 25, per 1,000 employees across the states and territories. The national results are:

  • Victoria – 10.2 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • ACT – 14.9 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • Tasmania – 15.8 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • Queensland – 18.7 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • Northern Territory – 28.8 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • New South Wales – 29.6 claims for every 1,000 employees;
  • South Australia – 30.6 claims for every 1,000 employees; and
  • Western Australia – 30.7 claims for every 1,000 employees.

“These results confirm Victoria as the nation’s leader in workplace safety,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“Victoria already has the lowest rate of workplace injuries of any state in Australia, and this data clearly demonstrates that we also take the lead in safety among young workers in particular.

“Victoria has the safest and most effective scheme, the lowest rate of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths, and the lowest workers’ compensation premiums in the country and the Coalition Government is committed to continuing the current workplace safety scheme.”

WorkCover Chief Executive Denise Cosgrove said the fight to ensure every worker made it home safely every night would go on.

“I am determined we remain the safest state for every worker – from the youngest to the oldest – and that will drive our strategic thinking over the next five years,” Ms Cosgrove said.

“We know that young workers are less likely to speak up about safety and seek assistance – they may fear looking stupid or incapable, or even fear losing their job.

“If they are not sure about what to do, they are more likely to just ’have a go’, and therefore can put themselves, and others, at risk.

“Employers and supervisors play an important role in reducing risk for young workers and also in supporting young workers with appropriate training and supervision, and encouraging them to speak up about safety,” Ms Cosgrove said.

To view the full Safe Work Australia report, go to www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

pdfDownload PDF197.6 KB

Source: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/6538-victoria-safest-for-young-workers-workcover-stats.html

The truth, as posted on 28 March 2013

75% of young injured workers do not apply for workcover

SafeWork Australia’s newly released  report “Work-related injuries experienced by young workers in Australia, 2009–10″ shows that workplace health and safety basically is not working for young workers, that under 25′s account for most work injuries, and… hang on, that almost two thirds of injured young workers did not apply for workers’ compensation.

A fifth of all work-related injuries experienced by Australian workers were incurred by workers aged 25 and under, according to new data released by Safe Work Australia.
The report, Work-related injuries experienced by young workers 2009-2010, found the injury rate of young workers (the rate of injuries per 1,000 workers) was 18 per cent higher than for those aged over 25.
The injury rate of 66.1 work-related injuries per 1,000 young workers was considerably high compared to 56.2 injuries per 1,000 workers aged over 25.

Under 25’s account for most injuries

The report also found the difference between the injury rates of young and older workers was greatest in the manufacturing, accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance and construction industries.

Other findings showed that almost two thirds of injured young workers did not apply for workers’ compensation, with half of them feeling their injury was too minor to warrant lodging a claim; a quarter of all their compensated injuries involved the hand, fingers and thumb, with young males at particular risk; and two thirds of young worker fatalities involved a vehicle.

Chair of Safe Work Australia, Ann Sherry said young people needed to understand the different safety issues in their workplaces and learn the value of following safety procedures to protect them while they were working.
“Often in their first jobs, young workers can get caught up with the excitement of entering the workforce,” Ms Sherry said.
“They may overlook the need to be familiar with the potential workplace hazards and safety procedures in place.”
She said the statistics in the report showed why it was necessary for young people to learn safe workplace practices and who they should go to for help.
“The safety habits and behaviours they learn now will set them up for positive safe work practices for the remainder of their working lives,” she said.

Tsk, tsk, tssk…. wouldn’t you agree that Mr Gordon Rich Phillips may have misrepresented some fundamental facts?

It may be interesting to see if “young workers” in other states actually report their injuries! And if they claim workers compensation for their injuries?So that apples can be compared with apples and not with pears, eh.

 

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Barry’s reform adds insult to the injured

The United Service Union says Injured  are ‘starting to pay’. This was recently highlighted in a documentary on ABC entitled “Workcover NSW insurance reforms upset victims”. We couldn’t agree more, as we too hear everyday from NSW injured workers, and how they have been extremely adversely affected by the Barry’s reforms.

Injured workers (and their families) are ‘starting to pay’ about nine months after the NSW Parliament passed workers compensation reforms to arrest a deficit in the state’s WorkCover scheme of more than $4 billion, according to the United Services Union (USU).

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Wake up call for medical report writers

In this legal NSW case, the Court of Appeal has given a ‘wake up call’ to those who practice in the personal injury area. In jurisdictions such as the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC), where the usual practice is to tender medical reports without calling oral evidence from the author of the reports – including not so independent medical doctors well paid for by the workcover insurance company- it is important to ensure that those reports are clearly expressed and supported by complete reasoning. Even if a supplementary medical report is necessary, the cost of obtaining such reports or applying to admit such reports as “fresh evidence” ‘pales into insignificance’ when compared with the cost of an appeal. If gaps and frankly nonsense in any such medical reports are not filled or clarified in a logical manner a party runs the risk of an adverse outcome based upon an arguable construction of the report.

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