It was shocking to learn earlier this year that the NSW State-owned worker’s compensation insurer, icare, had underpaid injured workers who had successfully made claims by up to $40 million. We were even more shocked and disappointed to learn just this week that, in fact, that figure was likely closer to $80 million with approximately 52,000 workers not getting all of the compensation they are entitled to. Icare has stated that these underpayments were the result of calculation errors.
In Victoria, the worker’s compensation scheme WorkSafe has experienced similar criticisms. Agents are encouraged to meet key performance targets, such as having injured workers off compensation payments or at least back to work by 130 weeks after their injury and may receive bonuses or other incentives if they can achieve these goals. Four Corners reports Victorian Chris Iliopoulos who injured her back at work in 2012 found that her compensation payments were cut off after 130 weeks, even though her treating doctors said she was still not well enough to return to work.
She also had significant difficulty getting the insurance company to pay for her treatment. According to her lawyer, each time Chris would have treatment recommended by her doctors, the insurance company would obtain separate reports to contradict them. You can read more about Chris’s story here.
Usually, insurance companies are expected to play an important role in providing injured workers with much needed funding for treatment, weekly benefits while they cannot access a regular working income and lump sum compensation for permanent impairment. They are expected to work together with workers, their employers and treating doctors to assist with a return to normal life – or as close to this as possible. Unfortunately, these figures and stories seem to indicate bad faith on the part of insurers and, in some cases, downright unethical practice.
If you feel you have been underpaid or treated unfairly by your workers compensation insurer, it is important you consult an experienced solicitor for advice. If you are having issues with your workers compensation claim, or need assistance in making a claim, please call or book an appointment online with Amanda Robinson at The Law Office of Conrad Curry to discuss your rights and entitlements free of charge.