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Case 38

On 8 February 2011 the worker lodged an application for compensation for a back injury sustained on that day whilst working as a groundsman.

Concerns were raised by the employer as to whether this was a workplace injury. Investigations were undertaken and the claim was ultimately accepted on 25 March 2011 for an aggravation of a muscle strain to his lower back.

During the entire period of his claim the worker was certified unable to work at all. He also indicated to both his customer advisor and medical practitioners that he would be unlikely to return to work with his employer and once he was cleared to return to work, he would look for alternative employment. Compensation payments were made for the period 22 March 2011 to 30 June 2011.

On 14 October 2011 the worker, lodged four common law claims, one of which was for the injury on 8 February 2011. In each of his Notices of Claims, the worker disclosed falsely that he commenced work for the period 1 June 2011 to 16 September 2011 when in fact, investigations revealed he had actually been engaged as a vehicle detailer for the period 22 March 2011 to 21 September 2011.

The worker was charged for defrauding WorkCover for the period 22 March 2011 to 30 June 2011. He pleaded guilty on 20 June 2013 and received a six-month term of imprisonment wholly suspended for two years with a conviction recorded. He was ordered to pay restitution of $19,311.82 which is to be repaid directly to WorkCover out of his common law settlement on the other three claims within three months. His rights to common law for this claim only were extinguished.