Psychological Injury – Where To Turn

Psychological injury

In the post Covid era, there has undoubtedly been an increased focus on mental health, a rise in people seeking assistance from mental health professionals and a rise in insurance claims for psychological injuries/illness.

There are many potential avenues available for compensation when a person is suffering from a psychological injury or illness.  The most advantageous pathway to compensation will always depend upon how the psychological injury or illness has been sustained and the impact that it is having on a person’s ability to work.

The most common potential entitlements are as follows:

1. Workers Compensation

Many psychological injuries and illnesses are sustained as a result of events occurring in the course of a person’s employment. Recent data from Safe Work Australia indicates that the most common factors giving rise to psychological injuries within the workplace are:

• Harassment and bullying (27.5%);
• Unreasonable work pressure (25.2%);
• Witnessing or experiencing violence in the workplace (16.4%).

Where a psychological injury occurs in the circumstances of employment and where the employment is a significant contributing factor to the injury, the person’s rights will fall within the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), the WorkCover Scheme in Queensland.

As there are limiting provisions within the Workers Compensation legislation in Queensland regarding psychological injury claims, particularly the exclusion of claims where the psychological injury is caused as a result of “reasonable management action”, it is imperative that an injured person seek the advice of a suitably qualified lawyer at the point that they intend to lodge their WorkCover claim. This will give the injured person the best possible opportunity of successfully making an application for workers compensation benefits.

2. Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Where a psychological injury has occurred as a result of the person being involved in a traumatic motor vehicle accident, the injured person’s rights will likely fall within the operation of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld) (as amended), the CTP Scheme in Queensland. The entitlement to compensation under the CTP scheme in Queensland will be dependent upon the injured person being not at fault for the accident.

It is important for persons injured in motor vehicle accidents to seek the advice of a suitably qualified lawyer at an early stage so as to ensure that their rights to obtain rehabilitation treatment for their injury and ultimately compensation are protected. Strict timelines apply to the making of claims and early advice should be sought.

3. Assaults or other Traumatic Events

Where an injured person suffers a psychological injury as a result of being assaulted by a person or in the circumstances of the injury occurring in a public space and not in a workplace environment or motor vehicle accident, the injured person may have rights to pursue a claim under the provisions of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld), the public liability system in Queensland.

Again, strict time limits apply to the making of such claims and early advice should be sought. An example of circumstances where such injuries occur are assaults, medical negligence matters, crowd control/security matters, boating accidents, E-scooter accidents, falls in public areas etc.

Claims being made under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) are different to those under the WorkCover and motor vehicle legislation in that there is no entitlement to early payment of rehabilitation treatment expenses but rather the claims are for lump sum damages payable at the conclusion of the matter where liability can be established. These claims can be complicated and early advice from a suitably qualified Lawyer is important. Strict time limits do apply.

4. Income Protection and TPD Claims

Where a person has sustained a psychological injury or has a psychological illness which is preventing their ability to work, investigations should be undertaken to determine whether the person has insurance policies either held privately or through their superannuation accounts for Income Protection and Total and Permanent Disability Benefits.

Generally, an Income Protection benefit is payable where the person is temporarily unable to work as a result of the injury or illness and meets the qualifying criteria of the policy waiting period. Many income protection policies entitle the injured person to approximately 75% of their pre-injury income payable as a monthly benefit for up to a period of 2 years or even to retirement age in privately held policies.

Total and Permanent Disability insurance policies generally require a person to establish that by virtue of their injury they are no longer fit to work in any capacity to which they may be suited to by way of education, training and experience. Whilst this is not an easy threshold to meet, where a person is suffering from a significant psychological injury or illness, their ability to work can be severely compromised and establishing an entitlement to a Total and Permanent Disability benefit is very possible.

The avenues to compensation mentioned above are the most common entitlements that we see in our everyday legal practice. There are certainly other avenues where injuries and illnesses occur in different situations.

Given the prevalence of psychological injuries and their very debilitating effects, it is important that legal advice be sought at an early stage to maximise your protection.
The solicitors at Crew Legal have extensive experience in advising people in respect of their rights to compensation.

Please contact Crew Legal today for an obligation and cost free assessment of your potential compensation entitlements.

How can Crew Legal help?

Crew Legal pride ourselves on providing quality advice at the right price. We will ensure that you receive the best advice for your situation and are committed to ensuring that everybody has access to that advice.

We provide a first consultation completely free and with no obligation. If the claim is undertaken, we will proceed with such claims on a ‘No Win/No Fee’ basis.

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