Injured People

Robotic Recovery

A TGB injury client has utilised his workers compensation entitlements in an incredible way – by being fitted with an advanced robotic hand.

A TGB injury client has utilised his workers compensation entitlements in an incredible way – by being fitted with an advanced robotic hand.

Tom Henderson’s story was featured on SBS’ Insight show. Watch the episode or read the transcript here.  


His story is an amazing example of the recovery a person can make with the assistance of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.

Under this legislation a person injured at work can access:

1.Income payments, whilst not able to work

2.Reasonable medical treatment costs

3.Rehabilitation assistance

4.Lump sum payment for a permanent injury

Some workers that are seriously injured are never able to return back to work. This takes a significant emotional toll on the injured person and their family, which can be more challenging than the physical injury itself. Dealing with the chronic pain, permanent restrictions and the realisation that you can never return back to your previous preferred form of employment is a lot to deal with psychologically.

With such significant developments occurring in medicine and technology, some of these seriously injured workers are finding ways to return to their previous job or other modified forms of employment. Increasingly we are seeing people who have lost a limb through amputation, or lost significant vision in work injuries, able to return to the workforce in some capacity.

The medical costs (eg for a high tech device) can be significant but can be covered in most circumstances when a work injury has been accepted by WorkCover. The legislation currently provides for reasonable medical expenses to be payable in relation to an accepted work injury. Currently, the payment of medical costs is not limited to any period of time either. So provided the costs are deemed reasonable and related to an accepted work injury, the expenses should be covered through the workers compensation scheme.

Tom Henderson with his robotic hand, achieved through workers compensation

The ability to access paid rehabilitation assistance also means that retraining is available to Tom, and is a vital step for enabling a seriously injured worker return to some meaningful work. Again, the costs of retraining, re-education and an extensive number of other rehabilitation options relating to the injury are likely to be covered by the scheme.

However, with the introduction of new workers compensation legislation in South Australia from July 2015, presently before Parliament, a new restriction on the period of time that medical costs will be covered may be introduced. This may mean that injured workers will no longer have this protection of many of these the medical costs being covered. Under the new proposed scheme, medical costs will only be paid for a period of two years. After that, in most cases, the injured worker will have to cover their own medical costs. This is a significant change.

But for Tom, with a very supportive employer and dramatic advancements in technology and medical treatment, the level of pre-injury functioning that has been achieved is incredible. With a highly motivated person, it is fantastic to see the WorkCover system working well and getting seriously injured workers back into employment.

Tim White is a Partner at South Australia’s largest personal injury law firm, Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers. For a free initial appointment about your potential claim, contact Tim or register online now.