Employers have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being injured during the course of their employment and to provide a safe system and safe place for work.
This was unfortunately not the case for our client and Redlich’s was able to successfully assist our client obtain a significant amount of lump sum compensation for the injuries she sustained as a result without the need for Court litigation.
Our client’s story
In 2015, our client commenced working as a veterinary nurse at a busy veterinary clinic on a full-time basis. Her role as a veterinary nurse involved:
- Lifting and carrying animals weighing up to 70kgs for up to 20 times per day (including out of cars and on/off treatment beds); and
- Holding animals in awkward positions during treatment/procedures.
Despite the heavy, manual and awkward nature of our client’s work, throughout the course of her employment, she was not provided any lifting training or provided any adequate or appropriate equipment or devices to use. For instance:
- she was provided with no adequate trolleys. Many of the trolleys were heavy, difficult to push and impractical to use
- treatment and radiological tables at the clinic were not electric in nature and therefore required our client to lift and carry animals onto the treatment and radiological tables
- restraints or medical restraints were not provided for large and/or aggressive animals which required our client to hold onto animals in awkward positions for prolonged periods of time.
As a result of our client’s heavy, awkward and manual work over the course of her employment, she suffered injuries to her lower back, neck and shoulders. She also developed a severe secondary psychiatric condition by reason of her work injuries.
Despite trying to manage her injuries to the best of her ability, our client ultimately ceased work in July 2020 and has not been able to return to any work since. Our client is currently 38 years old and has been told that she has no capacity for employment for the foreseeable future.
In December 2022, we assisted our client with commencing her common law claim damages to seek damages for her pain and suffering and loss of income.
By September 2023, we were able to settle her claim for a very significant sum of money without the need for court litigation.
Our client was very pleased with the outcome and grateful to be able to move on with her life, free herself from the dependence on weekly payments of compensation and invest her monetary compensation now to provide her some financial security into the future given her inability to engage in any work going forward.
More recently, our client has also informed our office that her former workplace has made changes to their practice since her WorkCover Claim. Her former workplace has purchased new treatment tables, changed their lifting devices and implemented new lift training, which is compulsory for all staff to complete prior to them commencing work. Additionally, there are now new protocols implemented at the workplace including protocols for lifting, staff ratios and the requirement to sedate animals for x-rays. This was one of the greatest wins for our client.
If you or a loved one have been injured at work and need advice about your rights and entitlements, our team at Redlich’s Work Injury Lawyers can help. To arrange your free initial consultation and speak to a lawyer, contact us on (03) 9321 9988 or submit an online enquiry today.