$1m payout for workplace back injury


A 31-year-old Keysborough man has been awarded more than $1 million after he sustained a lower-back injury at work that will result in him never working again.

Lawyers for Dong Pham said the payout was one of the largest they had heard of. He hurt his back from continuously lifting steel beams for steel manufacturer Stramit.

It was the only job Mr Pham, the son of Vietnamese boat migrants, had held after leaving midway through high school.

Slater & Gordon associate John Karantzis said Mr Pham was awarded $250,000 for pain and suffering and $817,395 for economic loss after a 12-day case before a jury in the Supreme Court.

Mr Karantzis said at least six doctors provided evidence for Mr Pham.

He said Mr Pham sustained the injury in 2003 and had a lower-back spinal fusion, but that had failed.

''He suffers daily from pain,'' he said.

Mr Pham had complained to his employer for 18 months that his back was hurting, Mr Karantzis said.

''They ignored him and he kept on working.''

Mr Karantzis said the payout was so large because of Mr Pham's age.

Earlier attempts to settle with WorkCover had failed.

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