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Date 6 Nov 2018
Charges 1 charge pursuant to Section 533 Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) - Fraud

4 charges pursuant to Section 534(2) WCRA - false or misleading statements
Court Townsville Magistrates Court
Plea Plea of Guilty
Case The worker exaggerated his symptoms and functional incapacity in order to prolong his workers' compensation claim.
Facts The worker made a claim for compensation in relation to a lower back injury they sustained while working as a gardener.

Between January and April 2017, the worker underwent various medical assessments and treatments. They continued to claim significant ongoing pain and incapacity associated with their work injury. The statements made by the worker to the medical practitioners who assessed them included that they could only stand for 10 minutes, they avoided walking and had to slide their feet, they struggled to hold a dinner plate or get a bottle of milk out of the fridge, and if they continued to walk for more than five metres their legs would 'drop' and 'give way'. The worker further made statements to the effect that they could only sit on a cushion otherwise their bottom would go numb, they needed assistance with personal care and their pain prevented them from undertaking any sort of employment.

The worker was placed under covert surveillance across six days in April 2017. They were variously captured driving and attending medical appointments without showing any signs of physical incapacity. They were captured attending a tattoo shop after one medical appointment, with the footage showing them standing continuously for 40 minutes without restriction. They were also captured driving a vehicle, attending a hotel and eating lunch without any apparent discomfort.

Upon viewing the footage, the medical practitioners who had assessed the worker opined that the worker had over represented their symptoms and incapacity and that the level of activity demonstrated in the footage was inconsistent with what the worker had told the doctors. The medical evidence was to the effect that in light of the footage, the worker was not in need of any further medical treatment and their workers' compensation claim was promptly ceased.
Penalty $8,000 fine
Restitution $15,992.89
Costs $6,196.02
Common Law rights extinguished? Yes
Conviction Not Recorded
Consideration for Prevention A worker should not falsely represent their symptoms and incapacity to the insurer or to medical practitioners during their worker's compensation claim.