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Beware the case conference

Once a claim for workers' compensation is accepted, the insurer will appoint a rehabilitation provider to assist in your return to work.

The rehabilitation provider liaises with you, your treating doctor, the insurance company, and your employer to participate in injury management and to return you safely to work. Both you and your employer have responsibilities and rights in relation to the injury management and your return to work.

Whilst rehabilitation providers can be of assistance in finding you suitable work with your employer and assist in developing a return to work program, problems can arise when an employer is unable to provide suitable duties.

Whilst an employer has an obligation to provide suitable duties to the injured worker, it is not required by law. If no such suitable duties are available, then an injured worker cannot return to work.

The injured worker however continues to have a responsibility to look for work in accordance with the WorkCover Medical Certificate. This puts the injured worker in a difficult situation where they remained employed but have an obligation to look for work in accordance with their certificate, even where an employer failed to provide suitable work.

The Case Conference

The rehabilitation providers however have various “tactics” which they use to either return people to work or use the workers’ compensation legislation as a way of stopping a workers’ weekly payments.

This situation occurs when the rehabilitation provider arranges a case conference with you and your treating doctor. The purpose of the case conference is so the rehabilitation provider can understand your injuries and assist with your return to work. However, what usually happens is that the rehabilitation provider intimidates or pressures the doctor to change the restrictions and hours of work contained on the WorkCover Certificate of Capacity.

For example, the worker has a certificate that certifies them unfit for work, the rehabilitation provider will arrange a case conference with you and your treating doctor. At that case conference the rehabilitation provider will try any means possible to have the doctor change the WorkCover Certificate of Capacity from unfit to work to fit for suitable duties.

The rehabilitation provider will state that the sooner the injured worker returns to work, the better off they will be and there is some support for this proposition however the difficulty arises when a worker has been receiving weekly benefits for at least 130 weeks.

If you have been receiving weekly benefits for between 130 and 250 weeks (that is 2.5 to 5 years) and your WorkCover Certificate is changed from being totally unfit to fit for suitable duties (usually because of pressure from the rehabilitation provider at a case conference) then this can cause great difficulties in receiving ongoing payments of weekly compensation.

Weekly payments can be stopped following an increase in hours on your certificate

Pursuant to Section 38 of the Workers Compensation Act, an injured worker is only entitled to weekly benefits after 130 weeks if one of the following is satisfied:

  1. The worker is totally unfit for work; or
  2. If the worker is fit for suitable duties and working at least 15 hours per week.

Most workers who have been receiving compensation for at least 130 weeks have usually been terminated or the employer has refused to provide them with suitable work. As soon as the Certificate therefore is upgraded to suitable duties, if the worker cannot obtain such suitable duties on the open labour market with some other employer, then pursuant to Section 38 of the Act, weekly payments of compensation stop. The insurer is only required to provide 6 weeks notice that weekly benefits are to stop.

Once weekly benefits stop the worker is only entitled to receive medical expenses for 2 more years.

The above only applies to workers who have a 20% whole person impairment or less. If your whole person impairment is 21% or greater, you continue to receive weekly benefits until retirement age.

Therefore, the case conference is used as a tool by rehabilitation providers and insurers to put pressure on the nominated treating doctor to increase the hours of work particularly from a worker who is unfit to work to certify that the worker is fit for some suitable employment.

The consequences of such a change in capacity for work is significant when a worker has received benefits for at least 130 weeks. If an injured worker at that stage is not working at least 15 hours per week and receives a Certificate for suitable work, then weekly compensation will stop.

Refuse to attend a Case Conference

An injured worker has a right to refuse to attend a case conference.

We recommend that you refuse to attend a case conference if you believe the rehabilitation provider will pressure the Doctor to change the certificate. Or you can make sure you discuss these matters with your general practitioner prior to the case conference without the rehabilitation provider present.

The general practitioner should be made aware that the purpose of the case conference is that the rehabilitation provider is likely to pressure the doctor to increase the Certificate of Capacity so weekly compensation benefits can be stopped, then discuss this with the Doctor before allowing the rehabilitation provider into the room.

If you would like further information on Workers Compensation, please see our articles on our blog;

Garling & Co Lawyers

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
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Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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