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Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?

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5 years 8 months ago #9596 by BIY
BIY created the topic: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
Hi everyone,

I just wondered if anyone else had been to court for application of Workcover serious injury certificate?

The only idea I have of this experience is what I've seen in movies where the insurance company's legal team rips you to shreds and tries to confuse you when you're testifying. I have to testify and, because I've got no idea what it's like except from the movies, the thought of being annihilated on the witness stand terrifies me. As everyone here can probably relate, lack of sleep and pain really slows down my thinking and makes me confused easily.

It's hard enough living with CP without stress about this on top of it. It's difficult to try and not think about it happening in a couple of months because of having to do all the independent medical assessments and writing my affidavit in preparation...so I can't just mentally put it aside until it happens.

Sooo...I thought it would be a good idea to ask if anyone else had already been to court as I may be worrying unnecessarily about what the experience is like.

Please let me know if you have been through this and what it was like.

Thanks heaps,
Fee

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5 years 7 months ago #9734 by Orangegirl9
Orangegirl9 replied the topic: Re: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
Hi Fee

I have just been through a TAC Serious Injury Certificate County Court case.

Your biggest day in Court is just another day at work for every other person in the room. A Barrister's job in courtrooms everyday is to protect their clients, and your barrister will do that - they don't want to lose either!

The most important piece of advice I can give you - and I can't stress this enough - is to answer honestly to all questions, no matter how embarrassing or how bad you think your answers make you look and let your barrister do his/her job.

I had never been in the witness stand before either and had the same worries as you. I was surprised by how supportive the court staff were to me: I needed my water refilled four times!! How embarrassing, lol! But the tipstaff just filled it up for me no question. The courtroom was modern and quiet. There was a chair so I could sit or stand whenever I wanted.

Everything that happened was procedural rather than dramatic. Barristers asked questions and I answered them, the judge interrupted from time to time to ask for a definition. It was very much a paper based experience rather than the bluster and shouting of a television show.

The defence barrister did try to trick me but I just kept answering honestly. I realised very quickly that it's HIS JOB to try and trip me up, so I just went with it. Life is messy! Sometimes answers are right and wrong, sometimes there's no clear answer. Just answer honestly: the barristers will do the rest. And then it's the Judge's job to cut through life's mess and make a decision.

I met with my barrister twice before court and he grilled me pretty hard to prepare me. Court wasn't anywhere near as daunting as his questions! He gave me this advice about being questioned: "Listen carefully. Answer. Stop." It worked really well. I only rambled once and it was harmless!

I was advised to take someone with me - the legal team don't always have the time to hold hands with you. My mother had done an affidavit and was to attend to be cross examined (which didn't eventuate) so, as a witness, she couldn't be in court while I was on the witness stand. I was surprised to be relieved at this! I've thought a lot about it and I think it all felt less personal without people I knew in the room.

There was a lot of movement in the room - people passing paper, folders being passed around, people whispering conversations about all the paper being passed, people walking in and out of court to make calls. It's all a quiet buzz the whole time. Each legal team had three or four people and there were two court staff and the judge. I think that all contributed to it feeling less personal.

You're worry about being on pain meds and tired and in pain are all valid - but are all at the core of the case. So, be yourself. Don't be braver than you need to be but don't stack it on either. Be yourself. Be the person that has fronted up to all those doctors, the person that has got you through everything so far. That's the only person you need worry about in that courtroom. Be true to that person, be strong for that person and you're gonna be fine.

At the end of the day I was happy with how my time in the witness stand went, and with my legal team. And, interestingly, after doing it once I'll never be scared of it again!

Good Luck with it.

O

"To get to the other shore, you've gotta lost sight of this one."

Steven Tyler, American Idol 2012

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5 years 7 months ago #9743 by BIY
BIY replied the topic: Re: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart O for taking the time to write the details of your experience and de mystifying the process for me.

I also want to thank you for alerting me to a curve ball that could have really rocked me at the last minute. My new solicitor rang my husband last nite and he will be writing an affidavit. I didn't realise, until your post, that that would mean he couldn't be there with me. He has been my rock through this CP journey. I don't have family support and have lost many friends due to CP and especially because my jaw injury limits talking so it's difficult to stay in contact. Thanks to your post I have now time to prepare myself to cope with this.

Thank you again,
Fee

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5 years 7 months ago #9769 by Outlast
Outlast replied the topic: Re: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
TMJ. I just need to understand this a bit more clearly. Are you actually going before a magistrate or judge for your upcoming legal action or are you attending the Victorian Independant Medical Panel. Its just that neither party is allowed to take legal counsell to independant medical panel but you can and should be assisted in the room by someone from 'Workcover Assist' who are brilliant and permitted to be with you at all times. Its just that you said your solicitor won't be there. Either that or things have change dramatically in the last few years.

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5 years 7 months ago #9770 by Outlast
Outlast replied the topic: Re: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
Sorry TMJ. Think i have taken too many pills this week. obviously you are going to the County court to seek a Certificate. I was just confused coz you were suprised your solicitor won't be there. That's normal. Your solicitor will have arranged proper legal counsell for you. Do not be rushed in your answers. Be yourself. If you get emotional so be it. The judge needs to see that . if you don't understand a question ask for it to be put more clearly. Do not become combative or be baited. Your legal counsel has your back at all times. When you come away from this you will have grown much stronger as a person, everyone does in some way. Forgot what i said about Independant Medical Panel coz that is for another time.

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5 years 7 months ago #9773 by Orangegirl9
Orangegirl9 replied the topic: Re: Help - Anyone been through Workcover Court Case?
Hi Fee

So glad to be able to help! This forum has helped me: nice to give back.

Good Luck with it. Fire away with any other question you're stressed over.

Cheers Vicki

"To get to the other shore, you've gotta lost sight of this one."

Steven Tyler, American Idol 2012

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