Having practiced in workers compensation law for many decades, I’ve noticed that it is often small things, like keeping a medical diary, that can make a difference in obtaining a better injury compensation payout for serious injury. A serious injury case is one which is being contested under Common Law.
In this blog, I’ll give you some practical and easy tips which will help you secure the best possible outcome should you be hurt at your place of employment.
Keep a diary
Keep a basic diary of the way your injury affects your life and the life of others. Most importantly, record any change to your injury, such as back pain that may now also be causing pins and needles in a leg, or a neck injury that is becoming more painful or restrictive.
No matter how insignificant some change in your physical or mental well-being may seem, write it down. Sometimes, something that you think of as trivial may be very important because in a legal case where the WorkCover lawyer or the insurer is disputing your account of events, a record which details changes and dates them is highly convincing within a court of law.
It’s never too early to start keeping this diary. It doesn’t have to be anything detailed or formal and, if you find it too embarrassing, you don’t even need to give it to us or anyone else to read.
Your medical information
In your diary, also make sure you keep a note of the medications you are taking and how often you take them.
Make sure you inform your treating medicos of any new symptoms that develop that may relate to your claimed injuries or as a consequence thereof.
Remember to take X-rays, scans and other medical documents that you have relating to your injury to appointments with doctors. You don’t need to chase up every bit of medical material that exists, but don’t overlook the important things. If in doubt, always ask when you book your appointment.
Your injury lawyer will contact your treating doctors and request written reports from them. You don’t need to ask your doctor to write a report for you.
Defendant’s detectives: beware social media
Be aware that there is a chance that you will be placed under surveillance.
In this social media age, surveillance can include your social media footprint and WorkCover’s lawyers may even peruse your Facebook page or activity on other social media sites.
You can find some excellent detailed advice in one of our blogs on social media and injury law.
Ensure you get to medical appointments on time
Plan ahead to ensure you get to your arranged medical appointments on or ahead of time, especially if you have to travel to a major city from the country or travel in peak hours. Failure to attend a scheduled medical appointment may result in a delay to the resolution of your case.
Consider bringing your partner to appointments
Consider occasionally bringing your partner with you to appointments with your lawyer. Partners sometimes have questions about your injury or your prospects that they may not normally think to raise with you but will welcome the chance to ask these questions to a lawyer. You will also benefit from their support by including them in the process.
Always ask questions. Never feel intimidated.
A Common Law case may mark a turning point in your life. It’s your life, so if you are unclear or unsure about anything, always raise it with your lawyer. Keep asking questions until you do understand.
Remember that it is your life. Your case. You should be involved.
This article was first published on 29 November, 2012 and updated on 22 June, 2021.