Just because I am fit to work doesn’t mean I can find work, this is so not fair!
Work cover payments expired? Are you an injured worker currently receiving workers compensation? Have you recently been told by the insurer that your workers compensation entitlement to weekly payments are ending as you have current work capacity? You might be thinking, just because you are fit to work doesn’t mean you can find work, so why are your weekly work cover payments affected? However, unfortunately the insurer won’t be looking after you forever just because you are an injured worker. It is important to understand work capacity decisions and seek legal advice through which our team at Alliance Compensation & Litigation Lawyers will be able to provide comprehensive legal advice at no cost to you.
The insurer may make a work capacity decision that you have current work capacity or that you are able to earn more than what you were earning in your pre-injury employment or other suitable employment. This means that this may reduce or completely end your entitlements to weekly work cover payments. These work capacity decisions can be made at any time by the insurer, and it may be adverse to the worker.
In a recent 2020 matter of Bokan v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd  NSWWCCR 8, the work capacity decision was adverse to Mr Bokan. He argued that he had no current work capacity as he could not sustain any employment despite having applied for 200 jobs. The insurer obtained the following evidence, which reduced Mr Bokan’s weekly work cover payments to NIL:
- Medical report that indicated he was fit to return to full time work;
- A medical report that indicated he had capacity for other suitable roles such as Customer Service Manager, Production/Workshop Manager and Practice Manager;
- Report on Mr Bokan’s transferrable skills to indicate that the abovementioned roles were suitable employment; and
- Labour Market Assessment Report which indicated other suitable employment as Information Officer, Tourist Information Officer and Customer Service Representative.
In order for Mr Bokan to dispute the work capacity decision, he would need to provide evidence that contradicted the evidence from the insurer, through which none could be provided.
I can’t work, yet my doctor says I can, what should I do?
In this instance where your treating doctor believes you are fit to return to full time work however in your opinion this is incorrect as you believe you cannot work due to your injuries, you should consult your treating doctor and present to him/her your medical condition. Ensure to outline your current symptoms, pain, injuries, limitations and if required, consult other doctors, obtain their medical reports to present your current incapacities to your treating doctor to ask for a review. Sometimes you may find that your treating doctor encourages you to return to work, hence certifies you fit for full time duties. However, this is your body and if you do not believe you have capacity for full time work, you should clearly outline to your treating doctor why that is the case. Why is it that you believe you are unable to work? Is it because of a consequential injury? Is it because of a psychological injury making it stressful and difficult for you to seek new employment and sustain your employment? It is important that you clearly talk to your doctor, present your concerns and limitations in your capacity and ask for their opinion. Do not blindly accept what your treating doctor says just because they are the doctor. They are the doctor, but not your body, hence speak up if you are not coping. Reach out if you require legal assistance and at Alliance Compensation & Litigation Lawyers, we are here to assist.
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