Worker hit by falling object awarded $350k payout
A disastrous fitness store work injury ordeal has resulted in a $350,000 compensation payout to a former employee.
Callum, 42, is extremely relieved to see ‘justice prevail’ but admits the outcome would have been a lot different had he not been guided by the experienced professionals at Law Partners.
“You never expect to go into work and suffer an injury that derails your life – particularly working in retail. And you certainly never expect your workplace to be so unsupportive and challenge you at every turn,” Callum reveals.
“Thank god I found Law Partners. This result is all down to them and I would urge anyone who is trying to go through the workers compensation system on their own, to reach to Law Partners. You won’t regret it.”
Back in September 2018, Callum was assisting a customer in the free weights section of the store when suddenly he felt as though he had been “shot in the back of the knee”. The extreme pain was instant as Callum hunched over grabbing the injured leg when the customer quickly dragged him forward telling him, “You just got hit by one of those pullup bar packs that fell from the stack up top. We need to move in case anymore fall”.
Callum continued to experience consistent pain but due to pressure from his employer and his own financial needs, he commenced his full-time duties.
Callum was taken to hospital by a colleague where scans revealed he had suffered a ruptured calf muscle and a ruptured popliteal ligament (back of the knee). He was given a moonboot and advised to limit his movements for two weeks.
Callum returned to work on light duties three weeks later but after a few months, due to pressure from his employer and his own financial needs, he commenced his full-time duties. During this time, Callum continued to experience pain in the injured leg and one afternoon, while attempting to pick up a 2kg dumbbell on display, he felt an immediate and sharp pain shoot up his leg.
Later that week, Callum arranged to see an orthopedic specialist who referred him for another MRI. The results of the MRI determined that Callum had a large amount of scar tissue around the injured leg and it was his specialist’s opinion that surgery be conducted to remove the scar tissue, which he believed was the primary source of the pain.
Callum was glad to hear the specialist so confident in identifying the primary source of the pain and was happy to have surgery if it meant he’d be better off. However, after being assessed by his employer’s insurance doctor, this request was denied.
Callum came across Law Partners’ ‘Guide to Workers Compensation Claims’ and in five minutes reading through it, learned more about his entitlements than he had the entire period since his accident. And so, he decided to give them a call.
It was at this point that Callum, usually a very positive and strong-minded person, started to decline both physically and mentally. He was pressured to continue to work or face termination and the physiotherapy steroid injection treatment, that was approved by the employer’s insurer, was having no positive impact at all.
In pain and completely uncertain about his career and future, Callum started to Google workers compensation facts to determine his entitlements, when he came across the Law Partners ‘Guide to Workers Compensation Claims.’ Reading through it, he picked up so much information he wasn’t aware of including the fact that an injured worker can challenge an insurer’s decision to deny treatment. And so, he decided to call Law Partners to find out more information and run his situation past one of their specialists.
“It was like a lightning bolt moment for me coming across their ‘Workers Comp Guide’ and learning more in five minutes than I knew in the entire period since my accident. So I gave them a call and from the get go they were so helpful. They transferred me to a workers compensation specialist who listened to my situation and advised I had a legitimate claim and they could help dispute the insurer’s surgery decision,” Callum explained.
“I met with Law Partners Workers Compensation specialist Natalie two days later and my claim got rolling.”
Natalie, armed with the report of the independent medical assessment she helped arrange, and all the evidence she gathered from the moment Callum was injured, managed to successfully overturn the insurer’s decision.
Natalie immediately contacted the employer’s insurer to dispute the decision on the proposed surgery before helping arrange for an independent orthopedic specialist to assess Callum’s injuries and comment on the best course of treatment.
As it turned out, the independent specialist agreed with Callum’s doctor’s recommendation for surgery which he formalised in a report. Armed with this report along with all the medical evidence gathered from the moment Callum was injured, Natalie managed to successfully overturn the insurer’s decision.
Callum’s surgery was a success, 12 months on however, he really struggled with his range of motion in the injured leg. Much of the pain had subsided but the injured area felt constantly stiff and he was unstable on his feet. Natalie also noticed that Callum had become a little hunched over in the shoulder and swelling in his other knee which she suspected, based on her experience, could be the result of overreliance on his cane and long periods of overcompensating for the injured leg.
Natalie arranged for another independent whole-body assessment to determine the extent of all Callum’s injuries and level of permanent impairment. As suspected, Callum had developed joint damage in both his shoulder and other knee and his total permanent impairment was determined to be at 19 percent.
Natalie advised that the insurer’s offer was not fair and she was confident in her evidence and ability to represent exactly how the accident impacted Callum’s life, that she could get more at mediation. And this proved to be right, as Callum was awarded $350,000.
As a result, Natalie was able to claim Callum a lump sum for permanent impairment and given that his permanent impairment was assessed as over 15 percent, she quickly turned her attention to pursuing a damages claim – she just needed to prove the employer’s negligence caused the accident. And so, Natalie and her team investigated the incident and discovered, by speaking with staff and recording their statements, that the packing of the pullup bar packs had been an issue for quite some time before the accident. According to numerous staff members, management knew the shelving wasn’t right for the display of that product and the packs would fall to the floor on a weekly basis, but there was still an insistence to display the product in that way.
Natalie’s intention was to take the matter to mediation but before she could serve a pre-filing statement to do so, the employer’s insurer made a settlement offer. After discussing it with Callum, Natalie advised that the offer was not fair and she was so confident in her evidence and ability to represent exactly how the accident impacted Callum’s life, that she could get more at mediation. That decision certainly proved to be the right one as Natalie settled the claim for significantly more than the original offer and including his lump sum for permanent impairment, his payout amounted to $350,000.
“No words can describe what Law Partners have done and meant to me throughout this whole process,” Callum said.
“I don’t like to think about where I’d be without their guidance, I just know it wouldn’t be at this bright place I’m at now, ready to start fresh and enjoying life again. And I have the financial means to do so now.”
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