This week’s e-mail is from an elderly lady who is concerned about the details and progress of her Injury on Duty (IOD) claim following a nasty fall at work.
Employed at a nursery for many years, our reader was performing a routine chore one morning when she tripped on a rake and fell.
Her employer immediately took her to the provincial hospital, where she was admitted to surgery and had a pin inserted in her hip. She was unable to resume her work duties, so she and her employer mutually agreed that she would not return to her job.
Our reader’s boss reported the incident as an IOD and paid her the mandatory three weeks’ sick leave.
Although the final doctor’s medical report was submitted to the Compensation Commissioner about a year ago, neither our reader nor her employer have heard anything about the claim’s progress.
Now our reader wants to know if her operation costs may have been settled by the Workman’s Compensation Fund without her – or her boss’s – knowledge.
She would also like to know how long it takes to process a claim such as hers and if she is owed any further compensation by her employer, apart from the three weeks’ sick leave payout received.
I have two suggestions for our reader.
Firstly, she could contact the doctors or surgeons who performed her surgery and ask that they check their records to determine if the operation costs were settled. I’m certain that they were, otherwise her employer would have been contacted by the creditors concerned or started receiving medical bills by now.
Alternatively, she can contact the Compensation Commissioner’s office directly, providing all relevant service dates and medical details. The office will then be able to check their records to determine if service providers have been paid.
Strictly speaking, our reader should have been contacted three to six months after submission of the final medical report. After the Commissioner receives a report, a panel of doctors usually assesses all the documents and medical reports to determine if there has been permanent disability and if any compensation must be paid.
Our reader’s next step is to place the Compensation Commissioner on terms via a registered letter. If no reply is received, she may then approach the High Court to bring an application compelling the Commissioner to make a decision immediately.
Finally, does our reader have any further claim against her employer? The answer is no. The information she provides indicates that her employer complied with the law.
Had there been any malpractice or non-payment of the three weeks’ sick leave, the situation would’ve been different. However, in this case, the employer treated her staff member fairly and they mutually agreed that she would leave her job.
Our reader has no further claim against her employer if she was paid out for any leave due to her, or other pro rata monies.
Send your labour and injury on duty questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booysen & Rossouw Attorneys in Port Elizabeth specialises in labour related legislation. The firm also covers injury on duty cases as well as all other aspects of the law.
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