A former federal police officer has failed in his bid for workers' compensation for minor injuries he sustained on his way to work 25 years ago.
Stuart McLellan has again lost his legal battle to be compensated for head and shoulder injuries he suffered in a car accident on his way to work in 1989.
Not even evidence that Mr McLellan hurt his neck trying to tackle a poisonous brown snake in a remote outback town a year later could persuade a federal tribunal that he was entitled to a payout.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal, sitting in Sydney, ruled that any problems with Mr McLellan's neck were the result of the natural ageing process. It backed the decision of federal workplace insurer Comcare to reject the compensation bid.
Mr McLellan was first hurt in a 1989 car accident on his way to work at the Australian Federal Police. The compensation authority paid him for a week off work due to pain to his head and shoulder.
In 1990, Mr McLellan suffered ''neck and back muscle strain'' when a brown snake he was trying to tackle in the remote South Australian town of Woomera lunged at him.
His doctor certified him unfit for work for two days. Comcare accepted liability for the injury.
That was the last the insurer heard of Mr McLellan until February 2012, when he lodged a claim for permanent impairment and non-economic loss. He said he had been in constant pain since his accidents.
He said that in the decades since the car and snake incidents, his injuries forced him out of jobs as a carpet cleaner, a security guard and a prison officer.
But a senior member of the tribunal, Jill Toohey, found Mr McLellan's claim that he had ''constant medical treatment'' over the years for his injuries was not borne out by the clinical records.
While giving evidence, Mr McLellan was unable to provide the names of doctors he saw before 2004.
''The notes that have been obtained show, at most, a fairly sporadic attendance at medical practitioners,'' Ms Toohey noted in her decision.
''We do not accept that Mr McLellan suffered constant neck and shoulder pain following the incidents at work.''
The tribunal noted the long period that passed without Mr McLellan claiming any incapacity benefits.
''During that period, he made no claim for incapacity, despite claiming he had to cease work several times on account of his neck pain,'' Ms Toohey wrote. ''He made no claim in respect of medical treatment.
''He does not claim, and there is no reason to think, that he was unfamiliar with how to claim compensation, having lodged claims in respect of both incidents.''
After reviewing the medical evidence, the tribunal accepted that there were degenerative changes in Mr McLellan's cervical spine, but it decided the changes ''were the result of the normal ageing process and are unrelated to either injury at work''.
The compensation claim was dismissed.