Tabatha* was 67 years old and commenced work at a Canberra school in early 2018, teaching Year 12.
After some weeks, due to ongoing bullying by students, Tabatha sustained an injury being anxiety with resulting sleep disturbance and other secondary conditions.
She required time off work and her GP referred her to a psychologist. Tabatha lodged a claim for workers compensation and the insurer accepted liability, resulting in incapacity payments for the time off work and payment of her treatment expenses. She was unable to return to her work and eventually resigned.
The insurer then offered to commute or ‘buy out’ Tabatha’s ongoing workers compensation entitlements for $10,000.
IEU referred Tabatha to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers who assessed her entitlements and what she’d been offered.
The insurer engaged lawyers who argued that an amendment to the ACT Workers Compensation Act meant that from July 2017 workers like Tabatha, who were over the relevant pension age and injured at work, had no entitlement to incapacity payments at all and that any payments for time off work should be repaid.
Maurice Blackburn disputed that interpretation, arguing that the change in the law, correctly interpreted, meant that workers in Tabatha’s position actually continued to have ongoing entitlements to incapacity payments and, indeed, were now better off than before the change.
After a series of meetings and negotiations, Tabatha decided that she wanted to resolve the claim and agreed to commute her entitlements for $25,000 and move on.
Obtaining the right legal advice is important. If something happens to you or your colleagues, remember to contact the IEU who can arrange a referral to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers for advice.