We recently obtained a serious injury certificate for a client in circumstances that may benefit lots of injured persons to learn, as it just demonstrates the complexity of the law, and the benefits that time can give to an injured person.
One of our clients had a nasty hand injury, but was able to return to work. His hand injury in our opinion warranted a serious injury certificate for a physical injury, and so we asked the VWA for a certificate for pain and suffering. You need a separate certificate for loss of income, past and future, and we did not ask for it as the client had returned to work.
The VWA said no, and as we still believed in our client, we issued a court proceeding asking that a Judge grant us a certificate to allow us to seek compensation for pain and suffering.
Along the way our client’s mental health deteriorated so badly because of his physical injury that he was unable to remain at work and his future work situation was very poor.
So, we amended our court application to now ask for two certificates, for his mental injury, and for his pain and suffering and his inability to work.
In response, the VWA office told us that we could not do so, and especially not amend to ask for two certificates.
It was as though the VWA wanted to freeze our client in time, to a major disadvantage to our client. Such a view sounded ridiculous to us, as all court matters are addressed on the condition of the injured worker on the day of the hearing.
Unfortunately, there is no clear prior court decision on this issue, but that made no difference to us as we said that the law should be interpreted to benefit the injured worker.
There was no disagreement on the facts, the client was clearly permanently disabled from returning to work because of his psychiatric injury.
Instead of an acceptance of what had happened to the client, the VWA lawyers simply kept on sending us letters stating that what we were asking could not be done. They repeated that mantra up to the day of the court hearing, and on that day gave us both the certificates we had been requesting for over 18 months. There was no indication from them that our legal position was right, or any concern with the mental anguish they had put our client through for an extended period of time by their refusal to accept our position.
Well on the positive side, before the VWA conceded and gave us both the certificates, their offer was very low. However, after receiving the two certificates, their offer has gone up… by 1,000 % and our advice to the client – wait as we believe we can still do better!