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In the recent Brisbane Registry, Administrative Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) decision of Jason Murray v Australian Offshore Solutions Pty Ltd December 2021, Australian Offshore Solutions Pty Ltd (the employer) was successful in defending a claim for seafarers’ compensation. The employer persuaded the Tribunal that its decision to cease the applicant’s weekly payments on the basis that he had recovered from an accepted left shoulder injury and was no longer incapacitated for his pre-injury duties, was the correct decision.

The employer presented, inter alia, the following evidence on capacity to the Tribunal, which was supported by medical records and documents, and by oral evidence from Associate Professor Miniter, Dr Yu and Dr Durack:

  • On 26 and 27 June 2019, the applicant attained certificates to enter and work in confined spaces and work safely at heights.
  • On 28 June 2019, Dr Colvin, treating orthopaedic surgeon, certified the applicant with full capacity for work.
  • On 28 June 2019, the applicant attended an AMSA medical assessment with Dr Durack and based on the applicant’s personal declaration, clinical examination and diagnostic test results certified the applicant fit to undertake his pre-injury duties as an Integrated Rating.
  • On 17 July 2019, the applicant completed a swing on a vessel with the employer and by his own words in an email to the employer was doing his full pre-injury Integrated Rating role.
  • On 30 August 2019, Dr Colvin certified the applicant with full capacity to undertake his pre-injury duties.

The Tribunal made the following findings:

  • The applicant was unreliable and routinely left out relevant information when completing work related health forms or when dealing with medical practitioners for an overall self-serving purpose.
  • The applicant’s evidence as a whole in relation to his capacity for work was rejected as unreliable.
  • After an objective assessment of the medical evidence, the employer’s medical evidence was ultimately preferred and agreed over that of the applicant, with the Tribunal concluding that the applicant was not incapacitated to return to his pre-injury role as an integrated rating.

Note: Sue Wilkinson was the instructing solicitor in this matter.

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