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Fady Dous providing Q & A on workers compensation

Fady Dous providing Q & A on the 2GB Steve Price Afternoon Show discussing workers compensation 16 July 2019

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 

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SP– Steve Price / Fady Dous–   C1,2,3, etc – Callers 

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SP       Joining us each Tuesday around this time Turner Freeman Lawyers with Fady Dous on the line who is a partner at Turner Freeman at their Parramatta office. Afternoon, great to talk to you.

FD      Good afternoon and thank you for having me.

SP       It’s my pleasure. We are going to talk personal litigation, workers compo, motor vehicle accident, public liability claims, we are going to take calls on 131873 and I think thanks to Turner Freeman Lawyers your law firm, we have a $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the caller who asks the most relevant question of the day. 131873 is the number if you have a question for Fady, give us a call, 131873 particularly if that question is about workers comp or public liability. I guess from my point of view Fady, what is the process when you actually make a claim as a worker within a company, I mean a lot of people would be concerned that it’s going to work against them with the boss.

FD      Absolutely and we see that time and time again where injured workers come to our office or come to lawyers in general and one of their primary concerns is how an employer would respond but ultimately it’s their duty to notify the employer of an injury and generally an incident report form would be completed and that must be done as a matter of priority and generally within 48 hours and ultimately the employer has an obligation to notify their respective workers compensation insurer of the claim so the insurer can determine whether provisional payments will commence or not.

SP       How broad is the law, I mean what constitutes workers compensation, we are not just talking about the tragedies we hear of, of people being injured on a worksite are we?

FD      No, ultimately there are injuries that occur over a period of time and they are referred to as nature and conditions of employment and primarily psychological related injuries which could occur from a specific incident or an incident that’s occurred over a period of time by way of bullying and harassment, so they are not your traditional catastrophic injuries that we see in the paper but they are certainly injuries that have significant impact over ones….

SP       Are they the harder ones to prosecute in court, are they the harder cases to run where you are dealing with psychological damage as opposed to physical damage?

FD      Absolutely. When you look at it, if I was working on a machine and I cut my finger or injured my arm it’s pretty clear cut, black and white but ultimately with psychological related injuries it is all stemmed from the mind and how its impacted ones mind and so it is a lot harder to prove that it was causally related to the employment and not necessarily other factors that we deal with day to day life.

SP       In your experience, would most of these cases be settled by mediation as opposed to going to court?

FD      Absolutely.

SP       It’s a better way to go if you can avoid it? If you can avoid court you should right?

FD      Absolutely, absolutely because you control your own destiny essentially by coming to some type of agreement but ultimately some matters as with any type of litigation, has no option but to end up before the courts and for determinations to occur.

SP       We are talking to Turner Freeman and we have Fady Dous with us and we have a fabulous $100 Westfield voucher to give away. Best call, Patrick from Woollahra is on the line. G’day Patrick.

C1       G’day mate, how are you going?

SP       We are well.

C1       Um I’m just calling, my daughter had an accident on her scooter and we were at a park in St Clair and I am pretty sure it is a council park and they have a concrete path that sort of goes around the park the kids go on, it is pretty shabby and she fell, her front wheel of her scooter got caught in a bit of concrete which is sort of broken and she fell off and broke her arm. I’m just wondering whether they are liable for that?

SP       That’s a good question Patrick Thank you, Fady what would you say?

FD      Thanks Patrick. Ultimately that falls under a different jurisdiction being public lability and ultimately enquiries would need to be made of the Council as to their maintenance of these footpaths and if complaints had been made about those footpaths previously, there are a lot of high court authorities that deals with foreseeability as to injury or the likely cause of an injury so ultimately enquiries would need to be made as to the nature of the footpath, the standard of the footpath, whether or not the Council had knowledge of issues with that footpath prior to your daughter having that fall.

SP       So your advice there would be make sure you take pictures?

FD      Absolutely.

SP       Get all the evidence you can, write it all down.

FD      Absolutely and make sure you see your doctor to notify them of the injury so they can at least manage the injury but ultimately you would need to speak to solicitors in order to commence those enquiries and progress those matters accordingly.

SP       More calls for Turner Freeman after this.

SP       Here we have Fady Dous from Turner Freeman with us. Warren is on a mobile in Penrith. How are you Warren?

C2       I’m very well thank you Steve. Afternoon Fady.

SP       Go ahead Warren.

FD      Good afternoon Warren.

C2       Mate just a query, I’ve actually been on workers comp now for over 9 months and as you know after 13 weeks my pay got cut by 20%. The insurance company has been good and they are paying my compo and everything else, I’ve still got more surgery to have but the company that I work for, the chief executive officer actually died on Sunday and I just wondered if that has any effect on my claim down the track?

SP       Good question.

FD      No it shouldn’t because the insurer indemnifies the employer so the insurer will continue to manage the weekly payments and the payment of your medical expenses.

SP       Hang in there Warren, if you have any drama with that ring us back and we can put you in touch with Turner Freeman. Brad’s on the line on the Sunshine Coast. Hello Brad.

C3       Gday Steve, how are you going?

SP       Good mate thank you. We have got Fady with us, go ahead.

C3       A while ago or this year I had a fire in my home unit up on the Sunshine Coast. The following day I had an electrician come out and check all the safety switches etc etc and they identified the phone charger, the apple phone charger as the fault. Anyway I have made representations to apple and they have come back to me and said we are not going to look after you but we will give you a $150 good will US voucher. How do you feel about that?

SP       What do you reckon Fady?

C3       Mate do you have, ultimately you would need to get a fire brigade report, you need to get an assessment report and once all that information was at hand, you can certainly approach apple in a different format, ultimately it maybe one that you would need to get an expert to comment on as to whether that is the cause or that is the link that lead to the fire and once you’ve got that information certainly there could be a cause of action taken.

SP       Right. Do that and if you have any drama Brett, come back to us. Jeff is on line. How are you Jeff?

C4       How are you going Pricey? Fady I’ve got a question for you about the workers comp and when it actually starts and when it finishes, so when I first started work with the company that I am currently employed with, we were covered from the minute we walked out our door until the minute we walked back inside. Now I understand that has all changed, as part of that employment we travel overseas so in fact we are overseas, not officially at work but we are, I’m not too sure how to describe it….

SP       Go ahead sorry.

C4       Did you hear that first bit?

SP       Fady you got that?

FD      Yes I did hear that.

C4       Yeah so when we leave, when we go overseas we are actually working with our employer or for our employer, are we covered by workers comp when we are overseas 24/7?

FD      That is a very good question. Depending on which jurisdiction, whether it falls under the Comcare scheme or does it fall under the workers compensation scheme, but ultimately if it falls under the workers compensation scheme there’s got to be what is referred to as a real and substantial connection between your employment and that travel because you are absolutely correct, the government in 2012 introduced changes which abolished entitlements of coverage in your journey between to and from home and work so ultimately there has got to be a real and substantial connection between your employment and the nature of the injury that occurs on that journey.

SP       Ok that clears that up, Mark’s on the line. How are you Mark?

C5       Yeah good afternoon Steve, Fady.

FD      G’day.

C5       I feel sorry for anybody that hurts themselves on a job site here in NSW umm the way the system is setup is that they push you back into work through these agencies, the agencies don’t give a damn about the person that has been injured, all they are worried about is getting theirs signed off so they get paid. So basically over a four year period, you know like sort of, you’re not getting paid what you should be paid and then when you do get a payout at the end of it, there’s nothing really left of it because the solicitors take it all so you know the poor bugger that’s hurt themselves which in my case I did four years, I went through a system where I was pushed back into work, I had to come back out of work again, go in and have another operation again and you know I sort of, all in the while my pay was going down and everybody was getting paid except for the poor employee that’s been injured.

SP       Well that’s a statement I guess Fady rather than a question but your comments on that?

FD      Look ultimately we can only speak for ourselves here at Turner Freeman and that’s something that essentially would not happen but more importantly for injured workers, if you are pursuing a claim for the workers compensation scheme, matters are funded by what is called the Workcover independent review officer so long as the person making that application is an approved legal service provider so there shouldn’t be any legal costs payable by injured workers in challenging or pursuing a workers compensation claim, ultimately a common law claim is distinctly different.

SP       So what would your advice be to somebody, how well prepared do you need to be before you come and see you at Turner Freeman or should you come and talk and then get the advice on what you need to get together?

FD      You should come and simply talk to us and we would be able to provide that advice and there is no cost with that advice, there is no hidden fees, essentially we can provide you with that advice or at least guide you to make the relevant decision or direct you in the right direction and ultimately you and the insurer and the employer will go through the rehabilitation process.

SP       How often does this end up in conflict as opposed to being able to negotiate with an employer? Most employers are pretty good is what I’m asking?

FD      Well ultimately it’s the insurer that makes decisions on behalf of the employer, yes the employer provides instructions subject to the size of the employer but ultimately the insurer makes the decisions and they’ve got quotas and a number of other factors that they deal with but ultimately if they dispute a claim, there is a recourse action that we as lawyers can progress matters through with no legal cost exposure to the injured worker.

SP       Dale’s on line, g’day Dale.

C6       Good how are you?

SP       Good.

C6       Just wondering, my daughter has been suffering PTSD, anxiety and depression since early last year and I have to go out to her place which is a 2 hour drive there and a 2 hour drive back to help with the young children and do the housework and doing all that, just wondering whether a third person in that situation can make a claim on her claim?

FD      Good question. You cannot make a claim on her claim but she can certainly seek for that assistance that you are providing to her to be accounted for on what’s called a gratuitous basis or ultimately she can make a request to have domestic assistance provided to her so long as it is medically supported on the basis of her inability to do certain tasks or look after her children or whatever it maybe.

SP       That’s great advice. Fady thank you very much for jumping online. Warren from Penrith has picked up that voucher from Westfield, $100 Westfield voucher. We will talk to your firm Turner Freeman sometime next week. Thanks for coming into the studio for us.

FD      Excellent. Thank you for having us.

SP       Fady Dous there from Turner Freeman. If you’ve got any questions or queries on workers compensation, you could do worse than contacting Turner Freeman. They join us each Tuesday at this time taking your calls and questions on all matters to do with legal issues and if you are caught in the middle of a workers compensation case I bet you really do need sometimes some good independent advice from a firm like that