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 Please state what state you are in

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Number of posts : 5
Registration date : 2007-07-13

PostSubject: Please state what state you are in   Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:40 pm

Hi everyone

My name is Colin, i am on the victorian system.

I am very happy to finally see a forum for injured workers.

One suggestion i have, is that everyone should state which system they are on e:g Victoria, NSW ,South Australia ect, because each state has slightly different laws and it would help to be able to give advice relevant to that state.

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Buce Farter

Number of posts : 2
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: What state   Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:36 pm

Hi Colin.
I am from South Australia. The system here is not all that flash and there seems to be lots of problems..Lots of injured workers are very unhappy and their families often suffer. Some injured workers end up suicidal because of the way in which their claims are treated.
Generally in South Australia a claim goes like this.
You get injured at work, you either return to work at your old job or if you can not you are supposed to be retrained at a different job. Your employer is not supposed to sack you. If you resign from your work without good reason you lose all of your benefits.
Reality is that if you are seriously injured at work there is little chance of returning to your job and your employer can get around the act by making you a casual employee and never calling you in for work.
Workcover are supposed to rehabilitate you but this is often ineffective. Surveillance and investigations are commonplace for injured workers who attempt rehab. They then use the video to force injured workers off the system. Reluctantly not many injured workers trust the system and are suspicious of any attempts to rehabilitate them. Rehabilitation does not work very efficiently because of the way it is used as a tool to reduce claimaints entitlements. ( legitimate surveillance is an effective tool they say but the fact is its privacy intrusive and its often the injured workers that are the ones that suffer mentally from the surveillance and its impact upon their lives)
Workcover in SA in the opinion of many manage claims very poorly. Some claimants are stuck on the system for years before they get a payout and it could be a simple thing as a wrist injury..It can cost up to $300-400,000 for workcover for such a claim in income maintenance. The medical for such a claim may be less than $20,000 and a section 43 for the injury may be less than $20,000 and in contrast to a severe back injury or an amputee there is little difference in the financial cost. This is surely indicative of poor financial and claims management. But if an injured worker is injured he can sit on the system for years getting income maintenance and there is often little done to effectively rehabilitate them back into the community or to get them back to work. Workcover think its a mentality they develop waiting for a payout and so keep them on the system for years and do not offer any practical or reasonable redemptions.

Many claimants are afraid to speak out about Workcover or its actions as they often find they are targeted for speaking out. Their weekly payments are stopped for no reason and sometimes against the act, they are reviewed more strictly and there are then endless problems begin with claim management including long running adversarial contests in the Workers compensation tribunal. Some injured workers are prosecuted because they are still on the workcover system and they find their claims are managed in such a way that they can not take a redemption and then forced to defend themselves in endless tribunal and court disputes about the validity of their claims.
The organisations management itself is fragmented and has little positive long term direction in managing claims.
Workcover South Australia currently has an unfunded liability of about a billion dollars.
It could all be easily solved by a tribunal that oversees and decides what damages could and should be awarded to injured workers when they suffer a workplace injury. Claims could be wrapped up in a short space of time and here would be a lot of satisfaction with the system by injured workers, employers and the like. However there would be big losers if this system were in place. The losers would be Workcover employees, the insurance agents and the workcover lawyers. The money saved could easily reduce the workcover levy to less than 1 %. However its not to be when so many have their hands in the money pie.
How does the system work in your state?
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Number of posts : 5
Registration date : 2007-07-13

PostSubject: Re: Please state what state you are in   Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:15 pm

Hi Bruce

I have read a lot about the South Australian system, and i have to agree it stinks and is worse than the Victorian system

Theres 3 different systems here,its not easy to explain clearly, but i will try a simple explanation.

There is before Jeff Kennet, where everyone had the right to sue(this is being phased out as all the old cases had a time limit imposed to take thier claims to court).

Then when Jeff Kennet was in power (Liberal Party) he changed the laws and everyone lost the right to sue ( i am in this one).

Then Steve Bracks(Labor Party) came along and partially restored the right to sue with very strict conditions such as having to be at least 30% impaired using AMA guides 4th edition, this right to sue was not back dated for those of us who were injured in the Jeff Kennet era.

So, as you can see, i have no right to sue at all.

I had 2 independent impairment assessments using the 3rd AMA guides and was rated 31% and 34%(this would have allowed me to sue the employer for damages and loss of earnings), then i had a Workcover assessment done by a supposedly independent medical examiner, he grudgingly rated me at 10%, that is 5% neck + 5% lower back, no consideration for loss of movement and pain, using the 4th AMA guides, big difference there. if he had put me at say 9%, i would have lost my weekly payments years ago, well i lost them last year when they claimed i had a work capacity and plucked a job out of a hat, and said i could do that sort of job, they paid no heed to my medical restrictions and no heed to the fact i had no experience at all in the job they said i could do.

Also, they say, You have a work capacity or no work capacity, there is no such thing as partial capacity at all, its either you can work or you cannot.this is determined by a Medical Panel, which usualy consists of a physiotherapist, a psychiatrist a neurosurgeon and an occupational therapist, they are all supposed to be truly independent, but from my experience i do not believe it at all.

Once they determine you have a work capacity, they look at your work history and then try to think of what would be a suitable job for you, supposedly taking into account your pass work experience and skills also with consideration to your impairment limitations, from my last experience i truly believe they have been nobbled by the government to get rid of us long term injured.

The 4 previous medical panels did agree that my MRI scans showed spinal damage, then on the 5th panel, they did a back flip and claimed it was just normal wear and tear due to age

As i have mentioned elsewhere, i have no right of appeal at all, the only thing i can do, is take it to the supreme court, but even the supreme court is supposedly not able to revoke the medical panel decision.

where do i stand??

I am now on the disability support pension, but still getting medical treatment paid for by the insurers, of which they are trying to stop too.
Lawyers are reclucant? (my bad spelling) to try your case because if you dont have the $$$ should you lose, they wont get paid.

So as you can see, even in Victoria its not too good

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