Compensation for pure psychiatric injury occurring in the course of employment
When we talk about pure psychiatric injury claims, we are talking about a claim where the worker suffers from a psychological condition and the work event has not caused physical injury. For example, where a worker is involved in a bank hold up in the course of their work, or they witness a co-worker seriously injured or killed in the course of their work, or they are subjected to ongoing bullying and harassment in their work, and these events have an adverse psychological affect on them, resulting in their suffering a psychiatric injury.
Workcover may reject your claim
With pure psychiatric injury claims, a worker's claim can be rejected, even though their injury may have arisen in the course of their employment, and employment is the major contributing factor to the injury occurring. Under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, Workcover has a right to reject a pure psychiatric injury claim where the injury is found to have resulted from "reasonable management action undertaken in a reasonable manner" by the employer.
An example of this is where a worker applies for a promotion but does not win the role and suffers a psychiatric injury as a result (eg. becomes depressed). If it is shown that in rejecting the worker's application for promotion, the employer has acted in a reasonable manner, then the worker is not entitled to claim workers' compensation benefits for their psychiatric injury. Read More: Workcover Queensland: pure pscyhiatric injury claims by workers.
There are of course rights of Review of such a rejection under the relevant workers' compensation legislation (see below).
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Bullying and harassment in the workplace
There are changes to Workcover legislation in process to further limit claims for pure psychiatric/psychological injury by workers in Queensland. In particular, in relation to claims for bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Common law damages claims for pure psychiatric injury are quite complex claims in most cases. This is because to succeed in such a claim, it is necessary for the worker to prove that it was reasonably foreseeable by the employer that the worker was, on the balance of probabilities, likely to suffer a diagnosable psychiatric injury as a consequence of the work stress or stressors, that are said to have caused the injury.
This can be very difficult, as often, by the time the employer is placed on notice that the work stress or stressors are impacting on the worker's psychiatric state, the injury has already occurred. Similarly, in cases of co-worker bullying and harassment, often supervisors are not made aware of the bullying occurring until it is too late, and the injury has already occurred.
It is therefore very important for a worker to inform their supervisors or managers, of any work stressors or instances of bullying and harassment in the workplace, which may be impacting upon them psychologically, as soon as reasonably possible.
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If you have been injured as a result of any vehicle such as car, bike or boat accident, or whilst at work, on holiday, or in many other situations you believe was caused by someone else's wrongful act or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you think your actions may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a claim well-worth pursuing. Chat, call, email, or let us assess your claim, just press the button below. There is no cost, and no obligation.