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Overtime not included in calculation of weekly payments for worker made redundant before making a WorkCover claim.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

  

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Provision of a scooter trailer found to be reasonable and necessary in a work injury case – Claims Agent liable to pay

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Provision of a scooter trailer found to be reasonable and necessary in a work injury case – Claims Agent liable to pay

The Magistrates Court recently found that a WorkCover Claims Agent – Xchanging, was liable for the costs associated with the provision of a scooter trailer in a work injury case.

The Worker, Terry Cooper, had sustained a severe back injury in 1991 after falling from a ladder. He had subsequently undergone a lumbar fusion operation at L4/5 and L5/S1 and had significantly reduced mobility as well as a serious psychological injury, including chronic major depression and panic disorder. He had been off work and in receipt of weekly payments since the injury in 1991.

Mr Cooper had moved to Raymond Island as he had been suicidal and had a support network on the island. Xchanging had agreed to pay for a motorised scooter, a Queen-sized bed, toilet frame, hand rail in shower, hand held shower, computer chair and an extra 1.5 hours of home help a fortnight.

X changing then refused a request to pay for a scooter trailer on the grounds that it was not reasonable in the circumstances; the scooter was of no benefit to him; and it would be unlikely to assist in increasing his ability to function or his work capacity. Mr Cooper argued that he needed the scooter trailer as his support network was no longer on the island and he needed to visit friends elsewhere as he was “going mad” and feeling confined.

The Magistrate said that in determining whether the Claims Agent was liable for the scooter trailer he had to look at “whether the scooter trailer is an aid that is reasonably and necessarily required having regard to the nature and extent of the injuries sustained by Mr Cooper and their impact on his activities of daily living.”

In this case, after considering all the evidence, the Magistrate found that because the scooter trailer would be beneficial for Mr Cooper, in so far as his mobility, independence and ability to socially interact was concerned and further, because it may assist in reducing the impact of his psychiatric injury and it was supported on medical grounds by his treating GP and psychiatrist, the Claims Agent should pay for the scooter trailer.

Decision of:Magistrate S Garnett in Terry Cooper v VWA [2016] VMC024

 

 

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Court refuses application to have 130 week termination dealt with by Medical Panel

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Mr Klein, a 53 year old truck driver, injured his knee and was on weekly payments of compensation. These payments were terminated by the Claims Agent, Allianz, on the grounds that he had received 130 weeks of weekly payments and that he had a work capacity, among other reasons.  Vocational assessments obtained by Allainz identified generally a number of jobs that might be suitable for Mr Klein including process worker/product assembler and kitchen hand.  

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Why its a good idea to get legal advice before Conciliation

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I was recently asked to give a presentation to the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service and be part of a Panel discussing the role of lawyers in the Conciliation process. In my presentation I said that it was my opinion, that the sooner someone gets legal advice about their rights and entitlements, the better, and that in my view, the fact that many workers are now getting legal advice before Conciliation, is a good thing, especially for the workers. Generally speaking, this is because it is always better to get advice while the events surrounding an injury are fresh in the mind and while relevant witnesses can be contacted. The particular benefit of getting legal advice before Conciliation, is that people are simply much better equipped to make important decisions about their claim, after they have had a good long discussion with a lawyer about all of their possible rights and entitlements.  

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Magistrate finds Heart Attack while skiing linked to Work Stress - Compensation payable

Sunday, February 14, 2016

  

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Five deaths at work in 9 days - WorkSafe urges employers to protect employees

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One death at work is too many deaths, but in the last nine days WorkSafe has reported that five workers in Victoria have tragically died at the workplace causing devastation and untold pain to their loved ones. These deaths include a 64 year old contractor who was killed in an explosion at a housing development site at Harkaway, a 76 year old man crushed by a tractor at Loch, the electrocution of a a 25 year old electrician in Braeside, a 29 year old killed in Keysborough when a piece of equipment fell off a forklift crushing him and a 76 year old farm worker electrocuted while working on a pump in Anakie. News of so many horrific incidents occuring in so short a time frame, in Victoria alone, is alarming. 
 

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Investigation into WorkSafe following a rise in complaints

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Victorian Ombudsman is investigating WorkSafe following a rise in complaints about WorkSafe and its Agents to 370 in the 2014/15 financial year. According to the Ombudsman, the most common complaints are about claims decisions and procedures and a failure to consider evidence. The Ombudsman will investigate whether claims have been rejected or entitlements for injured workers terminated because of financial incentives offered by WorkSafe. Independant medical examintions performed at the request of the WorkSafe Agents will also be looked at. The investigation also comes after the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service Annual Reports show that the number of Conciliation requests rose from 5.2 per cent to 13.6 per cent in the last 2 financial years.
 

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