PTSD Compensation Claims

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a treatable psychological injury affecting around 3 million Australians. The disorder can affect anyone, at any point in their lives, due to a wide range of reasons.

PTSD occurs when fear, anxiety and memories of a traumatic event don't go away and these feelings start to affect various aspects of everyday life. The symptoms of PTSD can be managed effectively with the assistance of medical professionals, however it is often not a 'quick fix' situation and can affect one's ability to perform optimally for a period.

Learn more about how you might be entitled to make a workers compensation claim.

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Common Causes of PTSD Injuries

Post traumatic stress generally arises after traumatic events are experienced or witnessed. Common triggers for PTSD include:


Being involved in or witnessing an motor vehicle accident, can result in a diagnosis of PTSD, and very significant psychological symptoms.

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Being a victim of crime, or witnessing an assault, such as shooting, kidnapping or robbery.

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Being a victim of childhood abuse, domestic violence, bullying can all lead to PTSD.

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Natural Disasters

Being affected by floods, fires, cyclones.

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Is There a Time Limit For Making a PTSD Compensation Claim?

In Queensland, if you are suffering from a PTSD injury, strict time limits do apply An application for statutory benefits must be submitted to WorkCover (commonly known as a WorkCover claim application) or the relevant insurer within six (6) months of first seeking medical treatment for your PTSD injury.

If you have not been able to submit a claim within that timeframe you may still be entitled to seek compensation. This is why it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you can to assist in meeting these strict time limits and ensure you can access any compensation you maybe eligible for.

In addition to a statutory WorkCover claim, where there has been negligence that has resulted in your PTSD diagnosis, a 'common law' claim may be lodged, with the view to receive lump-sum compensation for the following:

  • previous lost income and superannuation
  • future lost income and superannuation
  • pain and suffering
  • medical treatment - past and future

You have 3 years in which to lodge with the court in relation to a common law workers compensation claim . If you fail to file a claim within this time frame, ensure you reach out to a personal injury lawyer, as there are some exceptions to this time frame that may be applicable to your situation.

How Long do PTSD Settlements Usually Take?

Each claim is different, and with psychological injuries, there can be more variation that there would be for many physical injuries, however the process is very much the same.

Usually, the lengthiest part of the claim is waiting for the claimant to reach maximum medical improvement, or a position where further medical intervention would not result in the injury improving significantly.

Most claims generally take between 12 - 24 months to settle, however, the claimant does not need to be actively involved in the claim process for the entirety of this period. Speak to a personal injury lawyer to have a better understanding of what involvement would be required from you whilst running a claim for PTSD.

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What Evidence is Required to Make a PTSD Workers Compensation Claim?

It is with utmost importance that the first step you should consider taking is to seek professional help with your symptoms and this will include receiving a diagnosis for your condition. In order to be successful in claiming workers compensation payouts for PTSD, you will need to provide proof of:

  • Your mental condition prior to your PTSD diagnosis
  • The traumatic event or events that caused your PTSD
  • Contact details of any witness of the traumatic event

If, due to your condition you are unlikely to be able to return to work at all, you may also be eligible to make a TPD (total and permanent disability)claim for mental illness.

Our team of experienced lawyers are able to advise in relation to your potential PTSD claim, making you aware of your entitlements and options you have available to you.

PTSD Injury Compensation Claim Types

The following scenarios outline PTSD compensation claim types. If you have experienced any of these then it is important to seek medical attention first and foremost, then it's best to seek legal advice to ensure your legal rights are protected.

1. PTSD Injury at Work

There are some jobs where post traumatic stress disorder may occur more frequently due to the nature of the work and the types of events that you may encounter. If you work in any of the following fields (the following list is by no means exhaustive) you may repeatedly see and hear distressing things, all of which could contribute to you developing PTSD.

  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics/Ambulance officers
  • Health care professionals (nurses, doctors and emergency department staff)
  • Train drivers
  • Journalists
  • Defence Force personnel

No matter the industry you work in though, you too may be susceptible to traumatic events. High-stress and dangerous environments can put you at risk of developing psychological injuries, including post traumatic stress disorder.

You may witness a death or injury in your workplace, the actual accident (if you are involved) and what you witness may cause you to have flashbacks, experience a sudden and ongoing fear for your own safety or you may feel guilt that you weren’t able to do more to help. All of which can leave you not being able to attend work yourself due to your symptoms of PTSD.

At times, you don’t have to witness or be a part of a physical accident or incident to suffer PTSD in the workplace. You may also be a victim on ongoing exposure to things like emotional abuse, threatening behaviours, or sexual or racial harassment from your employers or at times your colleagues or clients. These actions are serious and can cause damaging results for those involved or exposed to such behaviours.

If you believe you may have post traumatic stress disorder due to a workplace incident, talk to your doctor and your employer as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines for reporting workplace injuries, and you do not want to jeopardise your right to receive workers compensation benefits. Your employer and/or doctor should provide you with the forms necessary to file PTSD claims.

Having access to workers compensation benefits through a personal injury compensation claim can provide you the time off work and treatment resources needed to heal your psychological injury.

2. PTSD Due to a Motor Vehicle Accident

Car accidents, whether you’re involved or witness them, can be highly traumatic and may cause you to develop post traumatic stress disorder due to the trauma of what has happened to you or what you have witnessed. During a car accident, you may experience extreme pain, fear and debilitating injuries. As a result of some car accidents, you may experience extreme injuries that change your life completely: traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or amputations, for example. Even minor injuries can leave a lasting emotional impression on you.

At times the sheer unexpectedness, and the shock, of your accident is part of what makes it so confronting. You should feel no shame if you develop PTSD from a motor vehicle accident. Understand it may take time for you to get back to your pre-accident self. Including your PTSD diagnosis in your motor vehicle compensation claim claim can help you get the assistance you need to move forward with PTSD and help you to recovery from any other injuries you may have suffered.

3. PTSD From Surgery

Having any sort of surgical procedure comes with some form of risk but you never go into a surgery theatre with the thought of coming out any worse off, but at times things can and do go wrong. There are many different scenarios that may eventuate for you during medical procedures.

Most commonly, traumatic childbirth can cause post traumatic stress disorder in mothers or partners who have witnessed the traumatic birth.

There are instances in which when you receive anaesthesia for surgery and it fails to work completely. You may have lost consciousness whilst the procedure was being performed but you could of still been aware of what was happening during the surgery but were unable to communicate with the medical staff. These sorts of experiences may lead you to develop PTSD after undergoing surgery and other medical procedures.

If you find yourself experiencing high anxiety, stress, panic, sleep disturbances or flashbacks in response to triggers that remind you of your surgical or medical procedures (for example hospitals, doctors, face masks) you may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD. There is help available if you are experiencing PTSD after surgery, you are not alone in your feelings. Firstly, reach out to a medical professional for assistance with your symptoms, then, speaking with an experienced lawyers, who will listen and take into account all that is happening for you and seek the best legal course for your situation.

4. PTSD From Abuse

Any form of abuse, whether it be physical, verbal, sexual, financial or other any other form of abuse, whether it be from your childhood or your adult life, can have traumatic effects on your everyday life for your lifetime. The risk of developing complex post traumatic stress disorder can be greater if trauma or abuse is repetitive and prolonged, involves harm or abandonment by care givers and if it occurs at a developmentally vulnerable age such as early childhood or adolescence, due to the critical periods of brain development.

The trauma of being sexually abused as a child can leave you feeling scared, angry, guilty, anxious, and sad. The stigma associated with sexual abuse may cause some to feel embarrassed or ashamed, all of which can contribute to your development of PTSD.

Speaking to someone about childhood abuse is difficult and no amount of money can take away your pain and trauma, but access to an experienced lawyer will enable you to be heard and a PTSD compensation claim may be something you can consider, based on advice, to help you access care and support services.

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Common Symptoms of PTSD

The most common mental or emotional symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled or jumpy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional detachment
  • Irritability and anger
  • Self-destructive or violent behaviour
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviour
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Nightmares

PTSD doesn’t just affect the mind; it also has an adverse effect on the body. Common physical symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Ulcers
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

How Much Does it Cost to Lodge a PTSD Compensation Claim?

All claims are different, and attract different fees. We, at Smith's Lawyers, offer a ‘No Win. No Fee. No Catch’® promise on all the claims that we run, meaning you will never be out of pocket, regardless of the outcome. Fees are calculated on the amount of work completed and will be explained to you in full before your claim commences and before you sign any kind of agreement.

What Are The Average Payouts For PTSD Claims?

As with most personal injury compensation claims, there is no set PTSD compensation payouts amount. There are many factors that will contribute to the calculation for PTSD compensation payouts. Compensation payouts will generally include some level of benefits regardless of the severity of PTSD, however the more severe cases will receive more benefits, because the detrimental impact of the PTSD is more severe.

The compensation we would assist you in pursuing could include:

  • General damages
  • Past economic loss
  • Future economic loss; (your ability to return to work at full capacity
  • Lost superannuation benefits
  • Past & future medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Past and future care

Can I Represent Myself When Making a PTSD Workers Compensation Claim?

Due to the nature of PTSD and mental health disorders, these types of claims can be harder to run, as compared to physical injuries. Claims can also become complicated and drawn out. Because of this, many people choose to engage the help from an experienced personal injury lawyer to act for them in their claims.

Seeking legal advice isn’t required to make any compensation claim in Queensland, you are more than able to represent yourself when making a PTSD injury compensation claim.

Experienced personal injury lawyers will be able to guide you through the legal process and assist you to obtain and access all possible avenues of compensation.

Having an experienced lawyer on your side will assist you in navigating the complex legal landscape and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

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Lodge A "No Win No Fee" Claim

If you suffer injuries whilst at work, and you are looking for further information in terms of making a claim. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer a free consultation for injured people looking to seek compensation. As mentioned before, we also have a "No Win. No Fee. No Catch." policy, which means you will never be out of pocket.

Get in touch with us today to give yourself the best opportunity to understand your rights.

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