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Psychological or psychiatric injury claims

Psychological or psychiatric injuries may include work related stress, anxiety or depression

To receive compensation for these types of injuries, the injury must have occurred at work and resulted from a single event or over a period of time. Examples of causes may include workplace bullying, harassment, unfair action taken by management or an excessive workload.

For a worker to have their psychological or psychiatric injury accepted as an "injury" compensable under the Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Act 2003, the work event, or exposure over a period of time in the workplace, must be the major significant contributing factor to the psychological or psychiatric injury occurring.

How Workcover or the self insurer decide your claim

When making a decision on a psychological or psychiatric injury, the workers' compensation insurer will apply criteria and exclusions as outlined in the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. The Act states that ‘an injury does not include a psychiatric or psychological disorder arising out of, or in the course of, any of the following circumstances’:

  • reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way by the employer in connection with a worker's employment;
  • a worker's expectation or perception of reasonable management action being taken against a worker;
  • action by the authority or an insurer in connection with a worker's application for compensation.

Examples of actions that may be reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way include:

  • action taken to transfer, demote, discipline, redeploy, retrench or dismiss a worker;
  • a decision not to award a promotion, reclassification (or transfer of), leave of absence or benefit in connection with the worker's employment.

When making a psychological or psychiatric injury claim, you will need to supply WorkCover or the self-insurer with details of the main factors or events you believe caused your injury, including dates and information to support the claim.

WorkCover or the self-insurer will supply these factors to your employer to give them an opportunity to respond. Once the employer’s response has been received, you will have the opportunity to provide any additional information before a final decision is made.

Other people WorkCover or the self-insurer may seek information from include:

  • your doctor or allied health professional, including a psychologist or psychiatrist;
  • direct witnesses to any events;
  • further independent medical opinions.

The onus is on you to prove your claim in all circumstances.

Once the workers' compensation insurer gathers all the information it requires, it will determine your claim and inform both you, and your employer, of the decision.

If you have suffered a psychiatric or psychological injury in the workplace, you should contact us at The Personal Injury Lawyers who may be able to assist with your claim or enquiries. 

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