STEPHEN Warren would willingly give up the $847,000 he was awarded in workers compensation if he could have his good health back.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” the Ross Creek father of three said yesterday.
Mr Warren, 51, has undergone a double neck fusion that was only partially successful and suffers ongoing chronic pain after suffering an injury lifting a giant cog at Boral Resources’ Dunnstown plant in 2005. His injury was not diagnosed until 2008.
Two days into a 10-day hearing at the Supreme Court in Ballarat earlier this month, Mr Warren was offered the settlement, which he accepted despite advice he could have received more by continuing with the case.
“I’d had enough of court. I’d hand it all back if I could just get my health back.
“It’s still not enough anyway, with the way interest rates are.”
Mr Warren, who also received a superannuation disability payout, used the money to pay off all his debts to ensure peace of mind into an uncertain future.
“The thing is, I’m a workaholic and I was doing a job I liked.”
Mr Warren’s C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae were all fused in a four-hour operation at the Royal Melbourne Private Hospital in February 2009.
“Now, just a trip down to Melbourne will kill me.
“I was in a neck brace for three months and when it came off, the muscles were so wasted away I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow.”
Mr Warren said Boral Resources had been very supportive of him, but its insurance company had made him “fight tooth and nail for my day in court”.
"I've told everyone, if you can fix me, you can have the lot"
“They can’t say I’m not damaged. I have a plate and six screws in me.
“I haven’t tried working yet. I plod around here doing little things and it kills me.
“I’ve told everyone, if you can fix me, you can have the lot.”
Mr Warren has been forced to give up his favourite hobbies of horse riding and fishing, and misses doing things with his three children and one grandchild, especially as he can’t travel.
Lawyer Nancy Yonan of Arnold Thomas and Becker, in Melbourne, said Mr Warren claimed damages for his pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and for his past and future loss of earnings.
She said Mr Warren would require medical treatment into the future, including the daily use of morphine, and he has no current work capacity.
“It was a great resolution and great for the client,” Ms Yonan said.
“I’m glad the client can now put this behind him and move on. We can never get him back to what he was before the incident but it was really good to be a part of this.”
Boral Resources Pty Ltd did not wish to make a comment.