Psychological injury is an important issue in today’s workplace. Find out what you need to prove to make a successful claim.
Under workers compensation laws, it is possible to make a claim for psychological or psychiatric injury arising out of your employment. Some examples are psychological injuries arising out of bullying and harassment in the workplace and post traumatic stress disorder arising out of exposure to traumatic events you may be exposed to during the course of your employment.
What is psychological injury?
It is important to highlight that a psychological injury is not just about being upset due to a situation at work. It needs to be a medically diagnosed condition arising out of something that has happened to you at work.
Examples of psychological injury that may qualify for compensation include:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Aggravation of an underlying psychiatric disorder
Essentially, the injury results in you developing a mental health issue due to something that has happened in the course of your work. For example, an armed robbery or workplace bullying may give way to a psychological injury. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in identifying whether you have a claim for psychological injury.
What do I need to make a successful psychological injury claim?
In order to be successful in a claim for psychological injury, you need to prove a number of elements and have the relevant evidence.
Under the workers compensation law, first and foremost, your employment needs to be the main substantial contributing factor to the injury. That is, your injury is mainly connected to the workplace or an event that occurs in the workplace. A medical certificate that simply states ‘stress condition’ will not suffice. Rather, you will need one that states a recognised psychiatric or psychological disorder with the accepted medical terminology.
In terms of evidence to support a claim for psychological injury, you may include:
- Medical reports from psychologists and psychiatrists.
- Timeline of events.
- Statements from work colleagues.
- Statements from family and friends.
You should be aware that a psychological or psychiatric injury WILL NOT be compensable if it arises from reasonable action by an employer with regard to transfer, demotion, promotion, performance appraisal, discipline, retrenchment or dismissal of workers, or provision of employment benefits to workers.
I’m ready to make a claim for psychological injury
To make a claim for psychological injury, you need to give notice to your employer and complete any paperwork they require. Many workplaces have processes in place to make a claim.
In filling out the paperwork, it is important to give as much detail as possible and obtain a workers compensation Certificate of Capacity from your treating doctor providing a clear diagnosis. If possible, prior to providing your Notice of Injury and your workers compensation Certificate of Capacity to your employer, contact our office and speak to one of our lawyers so they can check the Certificate of Capacity and the Notice of Injury on your behalf to make sure the documents provide all of the information the insurance company will need to make a determination on your claim.
It is quite common after you submit your claim that the insurance company will arrange for an investigator to contact you to prepare a statement. You should also discuss this with your lawyer.
If you speak to the investigator and give a statement, do not sign the statement until it has been checked by you and your lawyer. You should advise the investigator that you wish to consider the statement before signing it and ask the investigator to email it to you in Word format so that you can amend any errors or add any additional information that you believe will assist your claim. If you have spoken to a lawyer you should advise the investigator before being interviewed.
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