The value of a doctor’s note

Wednesday 1 May 2019
Catherine Sim

A key hurdle in any personal injury claim is proving that there is a relationship between an injury and the circumstances of the incident.  This is often due to the length of time it takes for an injury to reveal itself as being more serious than a passing problem. The best place to report an injury is to your doctor. 

Having an accurate and comprehensive medical history is one of the strongest tools available to solicitors when preparing a personal injury case.  Being upfront about your medical history with your lawyers, treating doctors and medico-legal doctors will ensure you receive accurate medical opinions and legal advice.  If legal advice is not based on the full picture, or medical evidence is gathered without considering important pre-existing matters, then the advice and evidence is compromised. 

Adviceline lawyer Catherine Sim has lodged WorkCover claims on behalf of a number of manual workers who thought their pain would go away on its own, or that they thought it was just normal muscle pain. 

“Any worker who notices that their injury is developing into a more long standing issue should speak with their doctor, noting any events they think might be relevant, such as a busy period at work, or certain tasks they have been doing in recent times,” said Cate. 

“This is particularly important in ‘over the course of employment’ injury claims, where injuries may take weeks or months to develop before they require medical attention.”

This highlights the issue of exposure to material such as asbestos or silica dust, which causes diseases that can take decades to develop.

The recent discovery of asbestos in an Essendon Primary School emphasises the need for exposure to asbestos to be reported or recorded in medical records and the National Asbestos Exposure Register or similar.  Significant media attention has also been focused on forgotten industrial disease “silicosis”, a potential epidemic which threatens the lives of tradespeople working with silica-based construction materials.

If you are aware you have inadvertently been exposed to asbestos, silica dust or other chemicals or toxins, or work in an environment that exposes you to dust, it is worth speaking with your doctor and recording your exposure early.

For more information, or to chat with a lawyer directly, please call (03) 9321 9988.

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