Compo claim rejected: 'inconsistent' account of injury

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Compo claim rejected: 'inconsistent' account of injury

A worker who could not discharge the onus of proof about his injury has been unsuccessful in his compensation claim. He provided inconsistent information and appeared to speculate about the cause of the injury.

A worker who could not discharge the onus of proof about his injury has been unsuccessful in his compensation claim. He provided inconsistent information and appeared to speculate about the cause of the injury.

A groin injury, but what was the cause?


A worker attended his general practitioner on 10 January 2016 and was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. Surgery established that it was not a hernia but a musculo-skeletal injury around the pubic symphysis. 

The worker applied for compensation according to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld). Not knowing the cause of the condition, he attributed it to "bad posture at workstation, unstable office chair". The WorkCover claim was not successful. He sought a review by the Workers’ Compensation Regulator, but it confirmed WorkCover’s decision.

The worker pursued his compensation claim in an appeal to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. He then claimed his injury had been caused when he tripped over an electrical cord attached to a radio in the workplace in late 2015. He asserted that the pain had worsened gradually but had not become really bad until around 10 January 2016. Yet he had not mentioned tripping over the cord to the doctor he first consulted.

A few of his co-workers provided some support for his evidence, although not consistently. It was not clear, for example, whether he had fallen when he tripped, and whether he complained he had injured his leg or his groin. The worker had not reported the incident, so the employer had no record of it. 

There had also been inconsistencies in the information the worker had given to medical practitioners and, as late as on 12 April 2016, the doctor he had consulted on 10 January 2016 had still been uncertain about the cause of the injury. The worker’s evidence had also been at odds with the information given in his Work Health and Safety complaints.

Not a satisfactory witness


Industrial Commissioner Fisher established that the worker was not a satisfactory witness. He was a disaffected employee who had made multiple complaints about his employer to Work Health and Safety and lodged unfair dismissal proceedings.

Commissioner Fisher said, "making three Work Health and Safety complaints within five days and two on one day demonstrates a level of vexation". Two of the co-workers he called to support his views had also been disaffected employees.

A probable causal link between the trip on the cord and the groin injury could only be accepted if the pain had commenced within a week or two of the incident. However, there was no clear evidence of when the trip had occurred or the pain commenced. 

Commissioner Fisher formed the opinion that the worker had begun to alter his case after WorkCover rejected his claim, and he was not satisfied that the worker had discharged his onus of proof. He found that the injury had not arisen out of, or in the course of, employment and that employment had not been a significant contributing factor to it. 

The worker’s appeal was dismissed, and the Regulator’s decision of 27 July 2016 was confirmed.

G v Workers’ Compensation Regulator [2017] QIRC 33 (11 April 2017)
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