Teresa worked as a cleaner her whole life and loved her job. A hardworking and loyal employee, Teresa spent 16 years working at the same high school, and in that time, the school community became her extended family.
“I look at the teachers and my kids as my second family – I call them my kids because I see them grow from year seven right until they graduate,” said Teresa.
When Teresa suffered a serious back injury at work, she could no longer do the job she loved, and it changed her life forever.
Teresa was asked to clean the sports hall floors before an event, a routine part of her job.
However, despite several requests, the school’s floor scrubbing machine had been broken for a while and had not been repaired. Teresa was supplied a scrubber from the neighbouring primary school.
Teresa was not given any instructions for operating the new machine and struggled to push or turn the scrubber – it was very heavy and didn’t glide like her usual machine did.
On her second lap of the hall, Teresa felt a sudden immense pain in her back. The crippling pain was so severe that Teresa was sent home from work and told to see a doctor.
The effort of pushing the new scrubber caused serious and permanent injuries to Teresa’s spine, having a lasting effect on all areas of Teresa’s life.
Teresa finds it very difficult to complete everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning and can no longer do the work she was trained for and had done for her whole working career. Teresa’s work was a huge part of her identity and community, and she was forced into an early retirement.
“I really thought I was coming back to my job, but it didn’t go that way, and that makes me sad,” said Teresa.
“My whole life was taken from me.”
Not knowing how she and her family would survive without her job, Teresa contacted us for advice on her next steps.
Rachel Davis, Senior Associate and leader of our Strathpine office met with Teresa to listen to her story and help her understand her options and entitlements.
“When I got in contact with Maurice Blackburn, they made me feel secure. I connected with them straight away. They were so helpful and respectful towards me; they listened to my story,” said Teresa.
Rachel and her team took the time to explain each step of the WorkCover process to Teresa and supported her at every step of the journey.
Given Teresa suffered her physical and psychological injuries at work, she was entitled to seek compensation.
“We helped her through the WorkCover process, made sure that she was getting all of the benefits that she needed to help with her rehabilitation, and then we spoke to her about what would be involved in a common law claim for damages,” said Rachel.
Damages is the legal term for the lump sum compensation received through a common law claim. It can cover any past medical expenses, future treatment costs and – particularly important in Teresa’s case – any future lost earnings.
“Teresa wasn’t ready to retire. She was going to keep working for as long as she possibly could,” said Rachel.
Rachel is proud of the genuine positive impact she and her team have made in Teresa’s life.
“I can see, after her claim resolved, the weight lifted from her shoulders.”
“You would do absolutely everything you could to help a loved one, and that’s how Teresa felt to us,” said Rachel.
For Teresa, the compensation she has received means she can now move on with her life and enjoy time with her husband, daughter and grandchildren, knowing her future is secure.
“I’m happy with the outcome, I really am, and I’m more settled now.”
The care and support shown by Rachel and the Strathpine office team made the entire legal process easier and less overwhelming for Teresa.
“All those guys in there are like my extended family. I can honestly say they treat me like family, and I am so blessed to have them in my life.”
If you've been injured at your workplace or as part of your work, you may be eligible to make a workplace injury claim. Our dedicated workers' compensation lawyers are here to help you get back on track so you can focus on getting better.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.