Labasa Man Tells: I’m Not Dead

Ronald Ravi Chand is shocked to discover that his work injury compensation claim had reached a dead end because he was declared deceased in court documents.
25 Jan 2022 12:33
Labasa Man Tells: I’m Not Dead
Ronald Ravi Chand holding his court documents and medical notice with wife, Preetika Deo and their children (from left) Shaanvi Chand, Ronav Chand, Shanav Chand and Suhanvi Chand at their home in Vunivau, Labasa on January 23, 2022. Photo: Laisa Lui

A Labasa father of four children is shocked that he has been declared dead in court documents over his work injury compensation claim.

Thirty seven-year-old Ronald Ravi Chand of Labasa believes the mistake has brought his bid to a dead end.

Now he seeks justice to correct the anamoly and expedite the processing of his claim.

“I am in disbelief to see in official papers I have been declared as a deceased when I am still alive and breathing, I even went to the Birth, Deaths, Marriages Office to see if there was a death certificate with my name on it, but there wasn’t any.

“I feel like I am a dead man walking and shocked that this important document has stated that I am deceased.”

Since 2019 Mr Chand had been talking to the Ministry of Employment about his case and the possibility of compensation. At the time he was not aware of the Accident Compensation Commission.

When the process went to court someone had put in that he was deceased. He had been trying to untangle the mystery but to no avail.

Mr Chand had been working for Sam Civil Service at Dalomo Sawmill for nine years when he injured four fingers on his right hand seven years ago. He lives in Vunivau, Labasa.


The incident:

Mr Chand recalled while working as a Break Bench Operator, he had turned off the switch to straighten the chain of the  machine , while his hand was still on the machine someone had turned it on resulting in the blade injuring his fingers.

According to the medical record, authorised by Surgical Department Dr Tausia Merevalesi, Mr Chand was admitted for a week at the Labasa Hospital for open fracture middle phalanx of right index finger and also had lacerations of second, third and fourth fingers.

However, he returned to work and was only able to work for two weeks before his injuries were too painful for him to continue with his work.

The 37-year-old lodged a complaint with the Department of Labour office and the matter was taken to court.

However, it was to Mr Chand’s surprise that the final document had declared him dead.

“After I left work I rested my hand for six months, this time I was supported by my friends and family and covered for food costs before I was able to do small jobs to earn for my family,”Mr Chand said.

“In addition to that, there has been no compensation made to my wife and children since then.

“I am seeking assistance from anyone who can help me get the justice and compensation that I deserve,” he pleaded.


Letter to Chief Justice:

Mr Chand said that they wrote a letter to the Chief Justice seeking answers as to why the judgement stated that he is deceased and the reply stated that it was relayed to the Magistrate by the Labour Officer who was representing him in the matter.

Sam Civil Service Director, Mohammed Samsud confirmed that Mr. Chand was employed by his company, was injured and the matter was dealt with by their lawyer in Court.

Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Permanent Secretary Osea Cawaru said it was the first time for him to come across the case and is looking into it.

Meanwhile, a Births, Deaths, Marriages (BDM) official says the process of registering a death is done by the next of kin in the family. The family must produce the notification of death from the hospital declaring the person is deceased. Information such as the place of death, date of burial and the name of the person conducting the funeral service is a requirement before a death is registered.





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