Category Archives: Compensation

Worker’s Compensation: How To Manage The System

The idea of a Compensation system is excellent.

The intention is to support worker’s, or accident victims, or victim’s of crime, or some other group of people who have had bad things happen to them through no fault of their own, and help them get better.

However the reality ends up far different.

As a medical doctor, the various compensation systems are often a nightmare to deal with.

Even though they pay better than standard fees, doctors routinely avoid dealing with such cases if they can. Indeed in my practice I eventually refused to continue seeing such patients.

The legal and administrative hassles are incredible, and even worse, the health care outcomes are not good.

It seemed to me, as an insider that it wasn’t working for the greatest benefit of the injured person.

It turns out that it wasn’t just my opinion either.

So in 2009 just shortly after one of my original patient’s whom I had seen in the local WorkCover system died*, I put together a series of training.

These trainings are designed to be exactly what I would offer a patient who was coming to see me.

It’s what I would say to them, what I would advise them, and the information I would give them, so that they can make the most of what I have come to believe is a fundamentally flawed system.

There is no fixing this system – and sometimes you can’t even opt out of it!

The best I can offer is to change and empower YOU to make the most of it, however you can.

With that warning, let me welcome you into my ‘office’ for a self-help series of sessions on how to manage a Compensation system…


*In Memoriam: Harry Magias – 1953-2009

Legal Self Help

I like my self help advice along the lines of the KISS principle – Keep It Short & Sweet.

Here is some legal self help advice that is about as KISS as it can get.

If you are ever questioned by police or authorized officials then this may save your bacon.

I know these videos are for US audiences who have the Fifth Amendment (the US Constitutional right to silence) and the Miranda Warning (letting you know that if you DO say something it can be used against you.)

But if you any in a country where someone reads you your rights, then I think that this is must-have legal self helpĀ  advice.

Here are two experts giving you the details behind this KISS approach to legal matters…

Don’t Talk to Cops, Part 1 – The Lawyer

Don’t Talk to Cops, Part 2 – The Policeman

Thanks to Gary North for identifying this for me.

-Dr Martin Russell

Compensation Is Worse Overall

“There is sound evidence that people who are injured and seek compensation tend to have worse outcomes than people with the same injury who remain outside of compensation settings.”

This is front page of my local Worker’s Compensation Service newsletter (WorkCover SA Newslink Issue 11 – April 2008.)

They are right – except for the word “seek”.

Some people end up in a compensation system even if they don’t want to be there and don’t seek to be there. I know of no evidence that says they do any better in the system than those who “seek” compensation.

Something about the system itself is so flawed that it actually injures people or worsens injury or prevents the natural course of recovering from an injury.

This is tragic.

This title at the top of the article says, “Improving health outcomes in the compensation sector.”

In my state we are having an entire debate about how much we should be funding a compensation system and what it should be providing for injured workers.

With the statement at the start it seems like they would then go on to say that we should scrap the compensation system entirely, but no.

Later on in the article it says ignores the opening line and says…

“Early notification and connection with the compensation sector are essential for people with compensable injuries, as are appropriate treatment or diagnosis of the injury.”

With the best of intentions in the world, compensation schemes are somehow a flawed system.

I used to treat people under the local compensation system. I now no longer do. It wasn’t until I left the system that I recognized that the experiences I had in treating people and needing to cover a much wider range of issues than just the original injury, were not just about me.

The research literature says that there is something about being in a compensation scheme itself, that makes injuries take longer to recover and recover less completely in the end.

It doesn’t matter whether the system is for workers, or for motor vehicle accidents, nor whether it is a no-fault compensation or not, the results almost always come out worse.

That’s why I took the best of my advice and experience and put it into an “online consultation”.

If you, or someone you know, is considering or already involved in compensation then I have collated all my expertise and advice to help you manage the situation here:

-Dr Martin Russell

Compensation Has Risks

If you are interested in helping yourself it is good to know what will bring you the biggest results for your efforts.

For example if you want to live longer, then statistically you are better off to stop smoking rather than lose weight or exercise. Of course if you don’t currently smoke then you can get started on the other two.

If you want to recover from an injury then here are the statistics you need to know.

Statistically what you need to avoid is compensation.

Yes really.

In the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association a 2005 paper analyzed all the studies they could find on compensation for injuries that needed surgery.

Of 211 studies, 175 found that compensation was associated with a worse outcome, 35 found no difference or did not describe a difference, and 1 described a benefit associated with compensation.

Roughly speaking this means you have a less than 1/2 a percent chance that compensation is likely to make your health outcome better. That’s staggering.

This same damaging effect of compensation shows up in people with head injuries and chronic pain.

What about compensation for psychological problems?

The data is even more scarce, but still along the same lines.

It doesn’t even matter if the compensation scheme is no-fault or not, or involves lawyers or not, worker’s compensation, motor vehicle compensation, insurance compensation, the trend is still the same.

In summary…

For the sake of your health, do NOT get involved in compensation.

If compensation is unavoidable or necessary for other reasons, then realize that you need to take extra precautions. The medical research doesn’t yet pinpoint the precise cause of the poor outcomes from compensation claims, but from my experience in working with people over the years, both as a medical doctor and in counseling, I recommend these self help skills to be vital.

They may save your health.

-Dr Martin W. Russell

Self Help Resources

Over on the side there, there are a few links to the products I currently offer.

Each of them comes directly from the work I’ve done with people, who have often come to me because nothing else has worked for them.

Here’s a summary of each…

Self Help ‘Meeting’ – At the end of an initial assessment I found myself saying, “I think I’ve done myself out of a job here. You have put alot of time and energy into solving the issue you came to me with, and I hope now that you understand what prevented you from getting the results you wanted. With the changes we have made you may well find that you have all you need from here.”

This wasn’t good for building a counseling practice based on repeat visits!

However I also realized that quite alot of the time the methods I was using in that initial session were similar for a variety of problems.

So I’ve taken this initial 45-minute ‘meeting’ and put it into a format that you can order without ever making the trip to my office.

Self Help-Me-Over – My particular interests in counselling meant that I was not going to be the first point of call for people and their problems.

But one thing that did surprise me was how many people ended up telling me that they thought they had gotten over something, only to find that they hadn’t. It seemed to me that this was an unnecessary step, and that they needed to have some way to check that they were indeed over the issue, experience, relationship, trauma, etc.

This is a set of tools that I wish more people had, and I certainly made sure these people had before they left my office.

Self Help Sleeping Meds – There were a few situations where people would come to me and within a few sentences I would know almost exactly what I would do for the rest of the session. People with sleeping problems were one of them.

If they were already taking something to help them sleep – be it prescription medication, herbal products, or something more exotic – then they were almost always using it in a way that didn’t help their sleep.

Sometimes they were simply scared of risking becoming addicted, and had rejected using the medication in the past.

These valid concerns would disappear when I explained how they could use sleeping aids safely, effectively, and with no risk of addiction. A big raodblock to the rest of their success was then removed.

Self Help Rx – If someone came to me and was on medication, then it turned out that it was worth me asking a few questions.

Even though I was trying hard to focus on ways of helping people so that they didn’t need medication or pills or other treatments, often they were on them already and so I wanted to make sure that they were taking full advantage of this.

Whether I was able to make it finally work for them, or help them avoid unwanted side effects, or get them off the medication altogether, I found that a few simple steps were enough to make a big difference, even before the counselling began.

Self Help Compensation – The research says that people who are in compensation schemes have worse health outcomes than people who aren’t – and from my personal experience it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

The researchers can um and ah about why that is but what I saw in the people who came to me was that being ‘caught in the system’, be it worker’s compensation, victim’s of crime, legal claims… all these had the same basic flaw.

They had people who were in trouble, and the system made it as difficult as it could be to apply self help methods.

That made self help very difficult. But not impossible… and so that’s what I went about teaching to everyone who saw me who was considering being involved in a compensation claim. The sturdiest self help methods I could find. They needed all of them!

Dilemma Self Help – It’s funny being a counselor and being asked for advice in areas where you have no expertise to make the decision.

“What job should I take?” “Is it okay for me to go out with this person?” “What should I do doc?”

And I could sit down and find out all the details, and go through the ‘problem-solving’ methods I had available me from my bag of tricks, and yet this wasn’t what I wanted for people.

How could I give them tools to make their own decisions without teaching them all I had been trained in? Well these are the shortcuts I have taught people over and over again.

These 6 products would cover about 80% of the people I have seen in my counselling practice. What about you?

What is the situation in your life?

Each of these products above solves a particular problem, sometimes addressing an issue you may not have even considered important before.

You can go back above and visit the order page by clicking on the titles. Over to you.

-Dr Martin W. Russell