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Mt Isa, 22 June 2015

Date

22 June 2015

Charges

One charge of fraud

One charge of attempted fraud

Two charges of false or misleading information or documents

One charge of the worker failing to notify return to work or engagement in a calling

Plea

Guilty

Facts

The worker allegedly sustained a needle stick injury while working as a cleaner. The worker made a claim for compensation with a workers' compensation insurer. The insurer accepted the worker's claim for a needle stick injury with a secondary psychological injury. The worker was paid compensation.

The worker engaged in a calling of general labouring and did not notify the insurer of his engagement in a calling as required by section 136 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

The worker made a false or misleading representation to his general practitioner to the effect that he “was not working”.

The worker signed a notice of claim for damages which included false statements with respect to the worker's employment prior to the work place injury. That is, the notice stated he worked for a company prior to the injury earning approximately $800 n/p/w. The worker did not work for this company during the time claimed, nor did he ever receive this weekly wage. The notice of claim also stated he worked for another company earning $800 n/p/w for a 12 month period. The worker did not receive this weekly wage. He earned a total of $5,940.25 over a 13 month period.

The total amount of compensation paid during the offence period was $18,436.23.

Penalty

Fraud Charge: 8 months imprisonment (wholly suspended for 2 years)

Attempted Fraud Charge: 6 months imprisonment (wholly suspended for 2 years)

False or misleading information or documents Charges: 6 months imprisonment (wholly suspended for 2 years)

Failure to notify of engagement in a calling charge: Conviction but not punished

Restitution

$18,436.23

Costs

Workers' Compensation Regulators' costs - $5,307.30

Conviction

Recorded

Consideration for Prevention

A worker should notify the insurer if they engage in a calling. That is, they should notify the insurer if they perform any activity giving rise to the receipt of remuneration or reward including self-employment or the performance of an occupation, trade, profession, or carrying on of a business, whether or not the person performing the activity received remuneration.

A worker should be honest about his/her symptoms and capacity to work when speaking to the insurer and/or medical practitioners. This includes the worker's capacity to perform work which is different to the work they were performing when they injured themselves.

If the worker believes they are able to engage in another calling (i.e. not the employment at which they injured themselves) then the worker should notify the insurer. If the insurer has a true understanding of the worker's capacity then they can properly manage the worker's claim.

It may be possible to arrange for the worker to engage in the alternate calling under a host employment arrangement. This allows the worker to perform the alternate calling while still receiving weekly benefits.

Alternatively, if the worker notifies the insurer that they intend to engage in an alternate calling then they may not be entitled to receive weekly benefits, but they might be entitled to receive compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses.