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Richard Dababneh discussing workplace injuries on 2GB

Q & A on 2GB discussing workplace issues 19/7/2016

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 


LG – Luke Grant /RD – Richard Dababneh /C1,2,3, etc – Callers 


LG      Now if you or someone you know is suffering from personal injury, listen in because we are about to get all the best legal advice. Personal injury can also be psychological let’s not forget and if it happens in the workplace, you could be entitled to work place compensation. Now thanks to Turner Freeman Lawyers and their Legal Matters Segment we have a $100 Westfield Voucher to give away to a caller who asks the best question of the day, most relevant question of the day. Turner Freeman Lawyers provide a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, superannuation and disability claims, family and employment law, Wills and Estate and property law. Their NSW offices are in Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Penrith, Newcastle and Wollongong. They also have offices interstate in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Richard Dababneh is an accredited specialist in personal injury law. He’s based at the Turner Freeman Parramatta office and oversees the Penrith office as well and he’s in the studio. G’day Richard.

RD      G’day Luke.

LG      Nice to talk to you mate. Thank you for your time very much in deed. Yeah this motion of the psychological damage done to people through harassment in the workplace. Is that pretty common nowadays?

RD      Ah, certainly very common. We’ve noticed over the last 10 or 15 years that it’s becoming the most prevalent of workplace injuries and subject of most types of claims.

LG      It’s interesting because I would have thought there’s better education about it now. Most people in the workplace would know this sort of thing exists or have we…. in reinforcing it as a wrong thing to do, convince people that have been victim to it to actually put their hand up and say no…. you know this is happening a bit.

RD      I think that is absolutely right and people are probably more inclined to say something about it now, they know that the type of stress they are suffering from is probably better characterised as a psychiatric injury as opposed to just you know having a bad day.

LG      Yeah. Hey you can give us a ring if you like too. If you want to have a chat to Richard, you could call us on 131 873. How difficult is it to prove or disprove if you break a limb or cut yourself it’s clear for everyone but this stuff perhaps might not be so clear.

RD      Yes certainly physical injuries are a bit easier to prove I suppose but it’s not that difficult to prove a psychiatric injury requires medical evidence of course.

LG      Yeah.

RD      Proving that it is caused by work is usually not that difficult so long as there isn’t any other type of or any other causes for it outside of the workplace.

LG      Yeah.

RD      In NSW there are I suppose defences available to employers who can argue that compensation regardless of whether or not the injury was caused at work, compensation shouldn’t be payable in circumstances where the injury has been occasioned because the employer has taken…. was known as reasonable administrative action.

LG      Yeah.

RD      And in those cases the compensation is declined and often workers go without.

LG      And you hear sometimes some of these claims where you get medical advice and then that’s disputed ….. and then you get a subsequent report and then that’s disputed.  How long is there for the “toing and froing” so to speak?

RD      I suppose it depends on the case but often does take many months and sometimes years.

LG      Is there a limit?

RD      Not really, not in NSW. There is a limit in which you have to put in a claim, but in terms of determining whether or not it’s a valid claim there isn’t a set time frame for that.

LG      Sure.  All right let’s take some callers. 131 873. Kieran g’day.

Caller 1 – Kieran

Kieran                                    Hi Luke how are you going?

LG      Well thank you.  Go ahead.

Kieran                                    Yeah, I had a car accident about 5 years ago on my way back from a job that I ……. depot… driving one of the work vehicles and ever since then my shoulder has gradually gotten worse and worse and worse. I was wondering whether or not I’ve left it go too long or where I stand?

LG      Richard.

RD      Yes certainly. In terms of lodging a car accident claim, there are strict time limits. There is a limit of 6 months, so you would need to lodge in a claim forms in the 6 months. You’d be outside of that. There are ways to get around those things though. It is probably important that you do get some legal advice as soon as possible because the longer it goes, the harder it does become to bring the claim out of time.  From a…… you mentioned that it was …. you were driving for work or at work?

LG      Is that right Kieran?

Kieran                                    Yeah. We get sent out like in our individual work vehicles and we finish the job that night and we are on our way back to our work depot.

RD      So in that situation you not only have a right to bring the CTP claim, the compulsory third party claim, but you also have the right to bring a workers compensation claim. Now the laws did change in 2012 so it did make it a little bit harder for journey claims and for claims where you were injured as a result of driving but from the sounds of it, this was before those changes so I think the thing that you should do immediately is to see a doctor, to get a certificate that says that you’ve been injured because of that accident and then lodge that with your employer.

LG      Kieran if you don’t mind me asking. You say it happened 5 years ago. Were you reluctant to claim or has there been no evidence of the significance of the injury until recently?

Kieran                                    Yes, it sort of a bit of both Luke. I didn’t really want to go and make a claim against my boss and that sort of thing because he is a pretty good bloke and he looks after us and the other thing, yeah, it wasn’t an immediate injury, like it didn’t stand out straight away but it’s very very progressively gotten worse and worse.

LG      Oh okay.  So in that situation Richard, if you’re working for people you like and hopefully we all get to do that, you might want to say “Geez, I don’t want to give the boss a hard time” …. you know these things happen in life and many of us are in a generation where things do happen and you just get on with it which might be wrong…. it might be right, I’m not sure. What do you say to those people like Kieran who now 5 years on probably wishes he did something at the time?

RD      I suppose employers who you know have the same feeling towards their employees shouldn’t mind. If a worker is injured, you know employers a lot of money to insurance companies, premiums and if your workers get injured you should be encouraging them to put in claims.  The cost to the company isn’t very much and there might be an increase – slight increase in premiums but it’s not a very big deal and there might be a small excess.

LG      Yeah.  Kieran. If you wouldn’t mind hanging on mate, what I would like to do because that was a great call to get first up today. Thanks to Turner Freeman Lawyers and their Legal Matters Segment we’ve got a $100 Westfield Voucher for you. Great questions, so stay on the line and we’ll get the details to you via Carly or Gabbie who I talk to is a treat. So stay there mate and good luck. But he’s going to have to go see a… he’s got to get advice doesn’t he?

RD      Absolutely.

LG      Even 5 years on can he go to a lawyer and say listen, you know….. would they be sympathetic or the Court, will they allow at least a hearing for any sort?

RD      Yes certainly. Yeah. We’ve done cases for people that have been out of time a lot more than that.

LG      Okay. Maria. You’re next. G’day.

Caller 2 – Maria 

Maria                         G’day. I was just wondering Richard if you could explain to the listeners the proposal by the NSW Government to limit the access to solicitors and lawyers for people injured in motor vehicle accidents. There’s a proposal that the Government has put out. I can’t remember the details, but I understand that they want to limit the access of people to lawyers in relation to personal injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents.

RD      Ah, certainly there has been some information released in relation to those proposed changes. I actually haven’t seen anything that suggests that there will be a reduction in the ability of injured people to get legal advice. I’m actually not….. I suppose – too familiar with it. Nothing’s actually been presented formally by the Government. I suppose when it does it will be clearer, it’s probably going to be something in the next 12 months and when at that point that does happen we’ll come on and explain it.

LG      All right Maria thank you for the call very much indeed. Ah I want to get back to this… the notion of psychological injury at work and the time it takes to have one of these claims. Are you restricted like you were talking about the motor vehicle claims in as much you have to report it within 6 months or the like?

RD      Ah. What they say is you’re required to report an injury as soon as practicable after the injury occurs.

LG      Right.

RD      So if you have seen your doctor because you are not feeling very well because of something that has happened at work then I suppose you should tell your employer as soon as possible. Certainly if you are taking some time off work then a certificate should be provided to the employer to say this is the reason why I am taking that time off.

LG      Yeah. And Richard what are the responsibilities of the employer in these situations. What are they meant to do?

RD      Employers are required to …….. regulated in fact to provide those certificates and the notice that their employees given to them to their workers compensation insurer. I think that is supposed to happen within 24 or 48 hours.

LG      Right.

RD      So a claim should be opened almost immediately.

LG      And if it comes down to an alleged blue against two people, if it’s you know your word against another persons, how is that handled … how do you navigate through that?

RD      I suppose the best thing to do is to …. if you start seeing or noticing these things between yourself and someone else in the workplace a good way is to keep a record, a diary maybe of the interactions you are having with these people. That way it will be a little bit easier to suppose prove your case later on.

LG      And in relation to people listening you might be going through this at work, who do they turn to first? Do they find a lawyer, do they go to their boss, do they go to a Union, do they go to Fair Work Australia? Where would you advise them first to do.

RD      I suppose the first thing to do is to get some medical treatment. Go see your doctor. That’s probably the most important thing for people is to get the treatment so that if it is a minor condition it could be rectified very quickly and you might not have to go through this process, but if you do get to the stage where you do need to put in a claim then you know the next stage is to send that certificate to your employer and probably make an appointment to see a lawyer.

LG      All right great stuff and where this began is, encouraging people if they are in a situation like this, be brave and ask.

RD      Yeah. Go and have a chat to your doctor. Have a chat to your lawyer. Look in NSW, in most jurisdictions in Australia in fact, legal advice for these such of things are covered and you don’t have to pay a cent, so…… you should give us a call.

LG      Okay. Gavin we won’t get time to take your call so if you wouldn’t mind hanging there, Richard would you mind taking that call off air.

RD      Sure.

LG      Just to help ….. So Gavin stay there on the board and Richard in the meantime, thank you for coming in.

RD      Sure.  Thank you.

LG      And of course go to Turner Freeman Lawyers. Their offices are in Sydney, in Parramatta, Campbelltown, Penrith, Newcastle and of course in Wollongong and they’ve also got offices in Queensland and South Australia and in Western Australia. It’s funny that caller we spoke to Kieran who received the voucher today, the Westfield Voucher, I reckon there would be lots of people, I don’t know but I reckon there would be lots of people who might have been with the same employer that might be with a small business, they might have been there for a long long time and thought, you know even though this is not the way it should be, I’ll just cop it because the boss is a good bloke, but I guess the point Richard makes which you all have to take on board is that if they are paying insurance and there are issues causing you harm, then you should get yourself some help and don’t think you are doing the wrong thing by your boss, you are probably doing the right thing by outing that kind of behaviour. That’s our Legal Matters Segment for Turner Freeman Lawyers.


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