Bullied Teacher Awarded $500k Compensation Payout
A devoted former high school teacher has been successful in his workers compensation bullying claim and awarded a $500,000 payout.
Colin, 51, feels as though a ‘dark cloud above his head has finally disappeared’ as he looks forward to the next chapter of his life and doing all he can to be a support network for other bullied workers.
“The mental stress I was subjected to at the hands of a colleague is something no one should ever have to experience. And the lack of action and support from management just made the whole situation so much worse,” Colin details.
“But it’s Law Partners that I owe for helping me get my life back on track. They’ve been the shining light in the darkness for me and have achieved a result I could never have imagined was possible.
During the 2018 school year, Colin was subjected to repeated verbal abuse and intimidating behaviour at the hands of a fellow teacher. He was constantly mocked and had his teaching credentials challenged in front of his students. He would also be cut off important emails which resulted in missed deadlines he wasn’t even aware of.
Colin was diagnosed with severe anxiety and PTSD and was forced to step away from his job on medical advice.
Colin reported the bullying to his principal on two separate occasions but no action was taken to prevent the behaviour or reprimand the teacher. The bullying continued and pushed Colin to the point where he started to shake at thought of a confrontation. He wasn’t sleeping well, he lost his appetite and became withdrawn socially. Colin went to see his doctor and was diagnosed with severe anxiety and PTSD and was forced to step away from his job on medical advice.
Unable to work and with his physical and mental health declining, Colin didn’t know what to do or where to turn. His family were extremely worried about him and felt as though the school and his bully needed to be held accountable. So Colin’s wife, Jesinta, started to explore options and discovered that Colin could be eligible for workers compensation and came across the Law Partners website.
Jesinta convinced Colin to enquire about his options and they called Law Partners and spoke with a workers compensation specialist who carefully advised that Colin could be eligible for compensation and potentially a lump sum payout. Colin and Jesinta were surprised at how friendly and helpful Law Partners were over the phone and were happy to meet with workers compensation solicitor Natalie.
Law Partners solicitor Natalie took the time to get to know Colin and understand how the situation has impacted their lives.
At the meeting, Natalie took the time to get to know Colin and Jesinta to understand how the situation has impacted their lives, before running through Law Partners’ no win, no fee, no disbursements policy. After Natalie answered all their questions and with a good sense of the process going forward, Colin was happy to proceed with his claim.
“When Jesinta suggested meeting with a workers comp lawyer, I was extremely hesitant, but from the moment we met with Natalie my worries disappeared. She was empathetic, knowledgeable and really took the time to understand how this has impacted our lives. The whole thing was seamless,” Colin explained.
Natalie immediately got the ball rolling on the claim by making contact with the school’s workers compensation insurer and arranged for Colin to be assessed by an independent medical expert.
Natalie always made herself available to answer any of Colin’s questions throughout the claims process. She explained the purpose of an independent medical assessment was to determine whether the bullying was the primary contributing factor to his injury along with its severity to qualify for a permanent impairment lump sum payout.
As suspected, the independent medical expert determined that Colin’s psychological injury was caused by the bullying and his whole person impairment (WPI) was assessed at 22% – enough to qualify for a lump sum. The claim ultimately resolved at this 22% WPI amount.
Colin was ecstatic with being awarded a lump sum payout he had no idea he was eligible for.
Colin was ecstatic with being awarded a lump sum payout he had no idea he was eligible for. But Natalie was determined to secure Colin all the compensation he was entitled to, and given the fact that his WPI was assessed as over 15% and his principal was made aware of the bullying on a number of occasions and failed to act – Natalie decided to pursue a work injury damages claim.
In order to be successful in making a work injury damages claim, Natalie had to prove that the principal was negligent in not doing anything to protect Colin. After a thorough investigation, Natalie gathered a plethora of evidence comprising of staff witness statements, emails and voicemails – supporting her claim that the bullying had been apparent and the school authorities were well aware of its impact on Colin, yet failed to put measures in place to stop it.
After four rounds of negotiating, the insurer agreed to meet Natalie’s proposed payout figure – bringing Colin’s total compensation amount to well over $500,000.
Before the matter could proceed to mediation, the school’s insurer enquired about immediately settling the matter. The figure Natalie was always working towards was $450,000 to cover Colin for his future loss of earnings given that he could no longer teach due to his psychological injury. And after four rounds of negotiating, the insurer agreed to meet Natalie’s proposed payout figure – bringing Colin’s total compensation amount to well over $500,000.
“I honestly can’t say enough great things about Law Partners and the way they look after their clients. With my ordeal at the school, I witnessed the ugly side of humanity, but on the other end of the spectrum, dealing with Natalie and Law Partners, I was able to see how humans are capable of showcasing kindness and empathy – and after what I’ve been through, it’s so refreshing to see,” Colin explains.
“I can no longer teach, which is what I loved to do, but this compensation has given me and my family a chance to start a new chapter – and for that, I’ll always be grateful to Law partners.”
If you’d like to know more, read this guide to workplace bullying compensation payouts.
If you’ve been injured while working and you’re unsure about whether you’re eligible for compensation or need help with your claim, there’s no cost to have a chat with a workers compensation lawyer. Call Law Partners on 13 15 15 for free advice today.
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