Everyone has the right to go to work each day, knowing they’ll come home safely. If you’ve been injured or become ill at work you may be entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation to cover lost wages, medical and rehabilitation costs, retraining expenses or a lump sum payment for permanent injuries. This applies if your injury or illness is psychological in nature.

There have been a lot of changes to arrangements in NSW for seeking workers’ compensation in recent years. You could be forgiven for being a little confused about where to start. After all, workers’ compensation laws and entitlements are already a little hard to keep up with because they vary between states and territories and may be known as WorkCover, CTP or WorkSafe. Compensation and benefits can vary greatly depending on your injury and on the law you’re covered by.

If you’ve been injured at work in NSW, Littles has you covered. This blog explores the your options if you have suffered a work-related psychological injury.

Suffering from a work injury? This can be a stressful time for you and your family that can be made even more difficult – or even overwhelming – if your injury is psychological. While you should receive the same treatment as a worker who has sustained physical injuries, this isn’t always the case. In many cases, the evidence is weighted against the worker and you may find the process overwhelming. This is where Littles comes in.

Workers’ compensation claims for psychological injury can be the result of, among other things

  • bullying
  • harassment
  • a traumatic event

Whatever the cause, you need and deserve expertise, patience and support. Littles are experts in NSW workers’ compensation claims. We provide compassionate, clear and highly skilled advice and assistance to get you through the entire process.

What should I do if I have sustained a psychological injury at work?

If you think that you have a psychological injury and it is work-related, we get that you may not be in the right headspace to identify how to engage legal assistance. However, following the pointers below will ensure that you protect your rights:

  • if you haven’t already, make an appointment to speak to a GP or other health professional to determine whether your injury is due to your employment
  • notify your employer of your injury
  • seek expert legal advice. 

If your injury is a ‘significant injury’, then your employer’s insurer needs to establish an injury management plan. Importantly, this plan must be tailored to you and your needs – so if you have a psychological injury, It should be specific to you and be tailored to your goals and psychological capacity.

Important things to know about psychological injuries

Psychological injuries are the only type of injury for which the employer has a defence against the claim

If the injury is “wholly or predominantly caused by reasonable action taken or proposed to be taken by or on behalf of the employer with respect to transfer, demotion, promotion, performance appraisal, discipline, retrenchment, dismissal or the provision of employment benefits to workers”, then compensation is not payable.

Accordingly, if you are a worker and have suffered a psychological injury, you need to prove that

  • your injury is a result of your employment, and
  • your injury is not the result of reasonable action by the employer.

If you cannot do this, liability will not be accepted and you will not be entitled to compensation benefits .Not sure you can do this on your own? We get it. The law can be tricky, and employers and insurers will obviously try to rely on this defence. This is why we suggest obtaining expert legal advice as soon as possible.

The threshold for permanent impairment claims relating to psychological injuries is higher than for physical injuries. 

Once liability is accepted for a psychological injury, your entitlement to medical expenses and weekly compensation is no different to those workers who have suffered a physical injury. However, when it comes to claims for permanent impairment, workers with a psychological injury must satisfy a fifteen percent whole person impairment threshold in order to pursue a claim – rather than the eleven percent threshold that applies to physical injuries.

Additionally, if you suffer a physical injury and then develop a secondary psychological injury, you are not entitled to make a claim for any permanent impairment that results from the secondary psychological injury. However, you may be entitled to medical treatment and weekly compensation benefits in respect of the secondary psychological condition.

Don’t delay – seek advice now

Clearly, the workers’ compensation system can be complex, which is why it helps to seek quality legal advice as soon as possible. At Littles, we are experts in workplace injuries, and can help manage the process to ensure that you receive all appropriate entitlements and support. With Littles on your side, we can ensure that you get the fair treatment you deserve.

If your workers’ compensation claim has been rejected, or you would like to understand how to claim benefits to support you and your family while you are injured or ill, please get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

IMPORTANT: There are strict time limits for making and disputing a claim, so take advantage of our FREE initial consultation and get in touch. You have nothing to lose by speaking to one of our compensation law experts. The sooner we determine your eligibility to make or appeal a claim, the sooner we can help you to obtain or continue getting funding from the insurer so your rehabilitation can proceed smoothly.

Free advice and no upfront fees

Not only do we offer a FREE initial consultation we handle most insurance claims on a no win, no fee basis.

The Head of our NSW team, Jessica Cheung, is an expert in NSW workers’ compensation claims. If you think you might have a claim, reach out to Jessica and her team for high quality legal advice.

Please note that this information is intended to provide general guidance only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your individual circumstances. For further information, please contact Littles.

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