Rejected WorkCover claim turns into 130 weeks of weekly payments

Maxiom’s Shane Don and Sach Fernando recently obtained a settlement of 130 weeks of weekly payments and medical and like expenses paid to date and ongoing for a woman who sustained severe psychiatric injuries.

Background:

Our client was a 52 year old National Credit Manager. Throughout the course of her employment, she was bullied, sexually harassed and racially vilified by nine male co-workers. These incidents included but were not limited to co-workers:

  1. Wolf whistling when they walked past her.
  2. Changing their phone ringtones to whistling sounds.
  3. Referring to her as “Mus-slime”.
  4. Excluding her from work events.
  5. Stealing her personal items.
  6. Telling her she should go work in the toilet or a cardboard box.

Injuries:

As a result of the treatment she endured, she sustained psychiatric injuries. Our client was diagnosed with major depressive disorder along with anxiety disorder. She became hypervigilant and particularly sensitised when hearing any whistling.

The Dispute:

In 2018, our client had lodged a WorkCover claim. The WorkCover insurer rejected her claim on the basis that her injuries arose wholly or predominantly by management action taken on reasonable grounds and in a reasonable manner. The insurer alleged that her injuries emanated from the process of investigations performed by the employer subsequent to her complaints.

Our client had sought legal advice from other law firms and was advised that they could not assist her.

Following her consultation with us, we initiated Magistrates’ Court proceedings to dispute the Workcover insurer’s decision.

The Proceedings:

Our client was entitled to compensation if the work-related bullying and harassment was causative of or was a significant contributing factor to her psychiatric injuries.To this extent, medical evidence from both parties was largely unanimous in concluding that this was the case.

We further argued that the Defendant’s defence of ‘reasonable management action’ would fail. We submitted that our client had made multiple complaints to her employer regarding the bullying behavior and that her employer had not adequately enforced the directives that had been implemented following her complaints.

Following negotiations with the Defendant, we were able to obtain a settlement that was important to supporting our client’s psychiatric condition.

If you have been injured at work, we can help. Please call us on 1800 853 085 or 0488 722 444 for an obligation free discussion of your case.

MAXIOM INJURY LAWYERS APPOINTS LEADING PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER, LISA PAUL

Maxiom Injury Lawyers are delighted to welcome Lisa Paul as a Principal Lawyer. With over 20 years of experience and as an Accredited Injury Law Specialist, Lisa will play an integral role in the growth and evolution of Maxiom.

Maxiom’s founding Principal, Sach Fernando, said the appointment of Lisa Paul is an important step for the firm.

“Lisa brings a wealth of experience in workers compensation and public liability matters. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of injured Victorians, and our values of empathy, efficiency and excellence strongly align”.

Through her long-standing memberships of the Australian Lawyers Alliance and the Law Institute of Victoria’s Workers Compensation Committee, Lisa has served on various Court and Government committees. Lisa’s experience as a leader in the personal injury field includes her most recent position as Managing Partner at a leading personal injury law firm.

Commenting on her decision to join Maxiom, Ms Paul said:

“Having known and worked with Sach Fernando for many years, I knew his ideals of fairness, empathy and dedication were aligned with my own. This, combined with the opportunity to work with a dynamic and driven team attracted me to join Maxiom. I look forward to contributing to the Maxiom Injury Lawyers growth and increasing presence in the personal injury jurisdiction.”

“As Maxiom continues to expand, we are committed to ensuring that our lawyers receive exceptional mentoring and leadership and that our clients continue to receive the highest quality of legal advice. I have always respected Lisa and look forward to the valued contribution she will make”, said Mr Fernando.