Posted on 17 Nov 2011
Broadford resident Jane Dickman has received a six-figure compensation sum for injuries sustained on the job during her time as a process worker at the Broadford Nestle factory.
Slater and Gordon workers compensation lawyer Craig Sidebottom said the settlement reached on Ms Dickman’s behalf marked the end to a five year legal battle.
“During the course of Jane's claim, the Workcover insurer prematurely terminated her payments, rejected liability for some of her injuries and had their investigators spy on Jane repeatedly,” Mr Sidebottom said.
“They also denied that she had a serious injury despite the fact Nestle had sacked Jane because no job was available for someone with her injuries.
“In the end it was a great result to see common sense prevail and our client fairly compensated for what is a very serious injury.”
Ms Dickman, who worked in the packaging section of the Allen’s lollies production process, suffered bursitis, tendonitis and rotator cuff tears as a result of the repetitive strains placed on her upper-body.
The severity of the injuries required surgery on both shoulders and resulted in Ms Dickman being unable to return to her job in 2008.
A settlement was reached between the two parties late last month, just days before a trial to hear the case was planned.
Ms Dickman said she was elated to have gained some clarity about the financial impacts the injuries would have on the rest of her life.
“I have worked in manual labour jobs my entire life,” Ms Dickman said.
“If there’s a manual labour job out there that doesn’t involve lifting things and using your shoulders, then I’m yet to find it.
“It meant that once I was hurt, I didn’t know where my next wage was coming from.”
Ms Dickman, a mother of three children, said the settlement put an end to a time of uncertainty for her family.
“My husband and I have done it pretty tough for the last few years,” Ms Dickman said.
“The compensation lets us get our financial affairs back in order. As much as it can, it will make up for the worries we have had since I was injured.
“Finally, we can think about the future again without being too worried.”
Mr Sidebottom said that Ms Dickman’s story was a common one, and that factory workers throughout Victoria should be aware of their rights in the workplace.
“Some people spend their working lives on shop floors and in factories. It is important that employers do everything they can to preserve the health of their staff, and to provide safe working environments,” Mr Sidebottom said.
“What’s more, workers owe it to themselves to seek medical attention if they feel they have been injured through the course of their work.”