TGB’s Morry Bailes says WorkCover SA’s new approach to compensation management has increased stress claim disputes and pressure on injured workers.
Update- The Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) was enacted on 1 July 2014, for more information click here.
Statistics from WorkCover SA have shown the number of people disputing decisions has risen by almost 50 percent in the last year, while data from Tindall Gask Bentley, South Australia’s largest injury law firm, shows an increase of up to 80 percent.
Mr Bailes said the Corporation is targeting injured workers who are receiving a weekly income or with stress-related issues.
“We understand that the WorkCover Corporation is routinely rejecting psychiatric or stress claims immediately without consideration of the facts,” Mr Bailes, who is also President of the Law Society of SA, said.
“Only when the worker gets advice and decides to dispute the decision will the Corporation consider the evidence, seemingly hoping that a large percentage of workers will not take that step.
“This is an alarming approach to employee mental health, especially when many of these people have developed psychiatric conditions or have been subjected to bullying or harassment in the workplace.”
WorkCover SA is now taking an “active” management approach, which Mr Bailes cautiously welcomed, if it can balance the rights of injured workers.
“The workers compensation system has been a basket case in South Australia for too long and we cannot criticise WorkCover for getting pro-active,” he said.
“However, it cannot be at the expense of injured workers with genuine compensation claims.
“It is now more important than ever for employees to seek legal advice about their workers compensation entitlements.”
For a free initial interview about your workers compensation claim, register here or call TGB on (08) 8212 1077.