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A Nunawading woman has received a six-figure damages award for injuries sustained on the job during her time as a personal care attendant at a Wantirna aged care facility. The award was the result of a verdict delivered by a Jury in the Victorian Supreme Court following a trial lasting eight days.
Margaret Pozzobon, 58, was the sole staff member rostered on night shift to care for 50 residents. In February 2006, Mrs Pozzobon suffered a serious injury after picking a resident up off the floor for the sixth time in one shift.
Mrs Pozzobon can no longer do physical labour and has had to leave her aged care job.
Slater and Gordon workers compensation lawyer Meghan Hoare, who represented Mrs Pozzobon in her claim, said the incident would have been preventable if the aged resident had been managed in a high care facility.
“In 2005, the resident was classified as being high care, but he had to remain in the low care facility where Margaret worked, due to a lack of high care beds in the facility,” Ms Hoare said.
“As a result of repeatedly picking up the patient on the night, Margaret suffered a serious injury to her cervical spine requiring surgery and numerous subsequent spinal injections and nerve blocks.”
Mrs Pozzobon said since the injury she has not been able to return to work and has been worried about how she could support herself.
“I loved the work I did, I really enjoyed caring for people,” Mrs Pozzobon said.
“I have always done physical labour and losing my job means I didn’t know where my next wage will come from, which is a scary thought for someone who is working later in life.”
Mrs Pozzobon, who has four children and three grandchildren, said the settlement put an end to a time of great uncertainty for her family.
“The compensation lets me get my financial matters in order, and will make up for the time I haven’t been able to work,” Mrs Pozzobon said.
Ms Hoare said a contributing factor to the success of Margaret’s claim was that she had been vigilant about recording and reporting to her employer every incident that had occurred.
“Margaret meticulously reported each incident, which we were able to use as evidence in her claim.
“It’s extremely important that workers record any injury or incident in the workplace and of course seek medical attention at an early stage if they feel that have been injured during the course of their work,” she said.