Common Law Claims Psychological Injury
Work health and safety laws in NSW define work-related injuries/accidents also on psychological/psychiatric grounds. Accordingly, primary psychological injuries caused by employment are included in the NSW workers compensation system while secondary psychological/psychiatric problems emerging as a result of another work injury are precluded from this scheme. If you suffered a psychological injury, you may be entitled to a compensation benefit, including a common law payout below:
In order to make a successful psychological injury claim, your psychological injury must be diagnosable to be considered in the compensation scheme. Emotional or nervous responses such as anger, frustration, and anxiety do not qualify as primary psychological injuries. Receiving medical treatment will be an indicator of the extent of injury you are going through and make you eligible for claiming compensation.
Most common work-related psychological injury claims emanate from toxic work environments where employees become subject to workplace bullying , assaults, sexual harassment, and workplace conflicts.
SafeWork Australia actively works on taking appropriate measures for introducing effective mechanisms to ease psychological injury compensation claims management on the part of employers.
What can you claim for psychological injury compensation?
You may be entitled to weekly payments, medical expenses, and lump sum payment in case of whole person impairment if you sustained work-related psychological/psychiatric injuries. The extent of compensation will depend on the seriousness of your condition and you can be eligible for lump sum payment only if your injury are assessed at 15% whole person impairment or greater.
Common law claims psychological injury NSW
Common law claims for psychological injury allows you to receive your future loss of earnings until the age of retirement by way of a lump sum payment. In NSW, the maximum payable amount for permanent impairment is $637,290. That amount is for permanent impairment and does not include an amount for future loss of earnings. If your injuries are assessed 15% whole person impairment or greater and the injuries were because of your employers’ negligence, you may be able to make a common law claim for your psychological injury in NSW. Receiving a payout by way of a common law claim means that you will not be receiving any kind of compensation benefits through your workers compensation claim upon settlement as you are claiming a payout instead.
Compensation payouts for psychological injury
|Occupation||Number of claims||Average claim payment||Average weeks off work|
|Army personnel, fire fighters, police||690||$65,200||46|
|Health support workers||460||$20,100||14|
|Bus and rail drivers||400||$4,200||2|
|Personal carers and assistant||340||$12,000||10|
|Nursing and midwifery professionals||300||$18,400||11|
|Salespersons and sales assistants||260||$13,400||14|
|Social and welfare professionals||230||$24,000||18|
|All occupations (including above and others)||7820||$23,600||15|
How to make a claim for psychological injury compensation
Both physical and psychological injuries are under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) and the process of making a claim for both types of injuries will not differ as much.
As soon as you are aware of your situation, you should contact your employer and notify them about it. Then make sure you have sufficient medical proof of your injury as that will legally clarify your suffering as injury. You should be able to get a “Certificate of Capacity” from your doctor.
Afterwards, fill out and submit a Work Injury Claim form to your employer or the insurer.
Psychological injury due to bullying and harassment
Bullying and harassment experienced at work can lead to psychological injury as well as problems like stress, anxiety and reduced work capacity. Bullying in the workplace can be defined as a systematic offence, humiliation or intimidation directed from one or more employees to another through gossip, social exclusion, aggressive behaviour, sexual harassment, cyber-bullying etc. It can result in negative consequences on a bullied person’s mental health by creating distress and low self-confidence which may eventually give way to psychological injury from a legal point of view.
If you believe you are an object of bullying in your workplace, you are advised to take necessary steps such as reporting it to your manager even if you are not suffering from a mental illness because of it.
Immediate action can help protect your mental well-being in the long run. It could also be used against you that you did not report the bullying to the employer. It is also important to report the bullying in writing as you may require evidence later.
Why should I hire a psychological injury lawyer?
You can benefit from consulting a psychological injury lawyer for your psychological injury at any stage of your workers compensation claim regarding a work-related psychological injury.
Our psychological injury lawyers can help you correctly identify your situation (whether your case qualifies as an injury from the legal framework, for example), break down the claim making process for you, let you know about your rights and even act on your behalf in your workers compensation claim, depending on the situation. Our workers compensation lawyers will also offer critical guidance if your claim is rejected by insurers or employers.
Psychological injury cases differ from physical ones since it is harder to pinpoint mental health problems and employers may refuse to accept that the bullying or harassment occurred in their workplace or claim that your injury is not related to work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Workers compensation claims should be made within 6 months after the date that you are aware of the injury. In some situations like absence from the state, a claim can be made up to three years. It is important to contact our workers compensation lawyers to advise you on your specific situation. The sooner you lodge the work injury claim form the better and safer it is for your claim to be accepted.
You do not have t o be in Sydney to make a compensation claim if you sustained a work-related psychological injury. Regardless of where you are located in NSW, the law and process is the same. Our workers compensation lawyers in Sydney are conveniently located in Sydney, Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Wollongong.
Every job is stressful in its essence however some occupations are more prone to suffer from psychological injury which leads them to make a personal injury claim. These relatively risky occupations include
- defence force members
- police officers
- health and welfare support workers
- school teachers
- bus drivers
- rail drivers
- emergency nurses