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Psychological Injury Workers Compensation Claims

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According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, almost half (45%) of the Australian population between ages 16 to 65 will have experienced a psychological disorder at some point in their life.

A psychological injury occurs when an event results in a person suffering from a psychiatric condition.

These psychological injuries can be caused by several events in the workplace, such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, injury, stress, intimidation, and safety issues, to name a few. Psychological injuries could also be a secondary result of a physical injury resulting from a workplace injury. 

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What is a psychological injury?

Psychological injuries often are complex with a high probability of leaving a long and lasting impact on your life. To ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you receive the most out of your workers compensation claim, it is strongly advised that you seek legal advice. 

At Smith’s Lawyers, all personal injury claims are run on a truly risk-free basis with our ‘No Win. No Fee. No Catch.’ promise. Most no win no fee client law firm agreements have a clause that means you could be liable for the other side's legal fees if the claim is unsuccessful in court. There are no upfront costs or circumstances in which you could be left out of pocket with Smith’s Lawyers. 

Our team are experts in Queensland psychological injury workers compensation claims. We have personal injury law offices in Brisbane City, Southport on the Gold Coast and on the Sunshine Coast which serve clients in all regions of Queensland.

Do I have a psychological injury claim?

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To establish whether you qualify for compensation payouts, you must prove that the injury was a result of your employment and did not arise out of “reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way” by your employer. For example, an employee may be deemed to have taken reasonable management action in a reasonable way where:

  • Action was taken to transfer, discipline, redeploy, demote, retrench, or dismiss a worker.
  • A decision was made to not award or provide a promotion.

If your employer was acting negligently or your psychological injury was a result of a work injury, you may be entitled to workers compensation. As strict time limitations apply, it is critical that you speak with a qualified lawyer experienced in dealing with compensation claims for psychological injuries as soon as possible.

Compensation claims for psychological injury can be challenging to prove. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will help you navigate your way through the legal process. You will also be provided with the best opportunities to support your claim fully, as well as gaining the most out of any workers compensation entitlement you are eligible for. 

Common types of psychological injuries at work

While symptoms vary from one person to another, common symptoms of psychological injuries include:

Common causes of work psychological injuries

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The increasing awareness around mental health in the workplace has resulted in the consensus that psychological injuries can be just as damaging as physical injury. 

Work psychological injury examples include:

  • Bullying (mental and physical) or harassment such as personal attacks, repeated harmful remarks, making fun of you, your background, or your work, etc. 
  • Work pressure
  • Violence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Social exclusion and prevention
  • Intimidation
  • Unsafe work hours
  • Witnessing a traumatizing event. Read here to learn more about nervous shock claims

These work psychological injuries can have devastating effects on your work ethic and behaviour leading you to feel anxious, depressed, less productive, along with additional stressors such as lack of employer trust. They can also have negative impacts on your relationships outside of work, loss of confidence and happiness, and much more. 

If it can be proven that you have developed a psychological injury as a result of work, you may be entitled to damages in the form of a workers compensation claim through WorkCover Queensland or your employers workers compensation insurer. Additional claims may include a superannuation claim that covers mental illnesses under a Total and Permanent Disability claim

Who do I make a work psychological injury claim against?  

Where the psychological injury was a result of a workplace incident, and your employer is found at fault, compensation will be paid by your employer’s workers compensation insurance compensation provider such as WorkCover Queensland.

How do I prove a work psychological injury? 

A psychological injury has to be proven and linked to your workplace by a medical expert for a workers compensation claim to be successful. 

Compensation for psychological injuries

The more evidence you can provide about your condition such as a psychologist diagnosis, the stronger your claim will be. Any medical evidence that can prove your emotional distress and mental health impacts will help you prove your claim.  These proofs can include keeping a journal to record how you feel and how the injury has affected your life. 

Will a pre-existing psychological condition impact my work psychological injury claim? 

So long as you can prove that the mental health  injury you are currently suffering from is not related to the pre-existing injury, your claim should not be affected.

To prove the cause and effect of your psychological injury, you will have to show how it directly affects your daily life. 

How can I prove my psychological injury claim?

The more intense your mental health injuries are, the more likely you will be able to prove that your emotional distress deserves compensation. 

Other factors that help to prove your compensation claim include:

  • Duration of your injury, for example PTSD is persistent and recurring and stays with victims for long periods of time
  • Related bodily harm such as headaches, ulcers, or other physical injuries that relate to your psychological injury
  • Underlying causes
  • Medical certificate or report to support your claim

What can I claim for? 

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If the psychological injury was caused at work, you might be entitled to a lump sum workers compensation payout. Depending on your situation and the extent of your mental health injuries, you typically will be able to claim for:

  • Past and future loss of wages
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Travelling expenses
  • Past and future care services
  • Professional help and maintenance services

Common law claims for psychological injury involve a monetary value being placed on the gap between your life path before the injury and your life path since the injuries were sustained. Settlements are a tax-free lump sum.

How long does a psychological injury compensation claim take?

As the degree of debilitation from mental health condition injuries vary from one person to another, the duration of a psychological injury compensation claim depends heavily on the facts of the case.

It is therefore critical that you seek expert legal help to find out how to navigate your claim as efficiently as possible, as well as to get a realistic expectation of how long your particular injury compensation claim may take.

Are there any time limitations for a psychological injury claim? 

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To ensure that you are entitled to claim any compensation for your psychological injury, you must lodge an application for compensation within 6 months from the date you first consulted a medical practitioner to treat your mental health condition. If you fail to lodge your application within this time frame, your workers compensation claim may be rejected.

It is, therefore, critical to seek legal advice as soon as possible when dealing with the strict time limitations attached to psychological injury compensation claims. Get in touch with Smith’s Lawyers today for free and no-obligation advice from one of our senior Workcover and workers compensation injury lawyers.

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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