In Queensland, if you are injured at work, you may have entitlements under WorkCover. WorkCover provides a no-fault scheme (that is, you do not need to show that your employer was negligent or to blame for your psychological injury). However, for your claim to be accepted at this stage, WorkCover needs to be satisfied that:
A worker is an individual who works under a contract for service and is an employee for the purpose of assessment of pay-as-you-go tax (PAYG tax) withholding. This can include sub-contractors, but it is usually the standard employer/employee relationship where wages are paid in return for labour.
All work-related personal injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance including physical, psychiatric, psychological disorders or an aggravation or such conditions.
Injury also includes diseases, aggravation of diseases, hearing loss and death.
A psychological injury includes a range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural symptoms that interfere with a worker’s life and can significantly affect how they feel, think, behave and interact with others.
Psychological injuries may include disorders such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psychological injuries must be diagnosed be diagnosed by a specialist doctor such as a Psychiatrist.
A psychological injury can be caused by several factors ranging from unsafe machinery and workplace accidents, to high job expectations and a lack of support from managers.
Usually incident’s resulting in injury occur in the workplace, but there are several other circumstances that are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. For example, while the worker is:
Reasonable management action, carried out in a reasonable manner, may be used as a defence or exception by employers in response to claims of alleged psychological injury.
The defence states that if an employee suffers a psychological injury as the result of management action, the employer will not be liable for that injury if the management action was reasonable and carried out in a reasonable manner.
Common examples of ‘reasonable management action’ and other acceptable workplace interactions:
Common examples that is not ‘reasonable management action’ and other unacceptable workplace behaviours:
If you’ve sustained a psychological injury at work, you may be able to make a worker’s compensation statutory claim and/or common law claim.
You can lodge a claim for compensation by completing a WorkCover claim form and a WorkCover medical certificate.
The medical certificate must be obtained from a medical practitioner. The certificate must be lodged with the claim form. The documents can be lodged with WorkCover in a variety of ways including by post, in person, by telephone, fax or over the internet. The claim form must be truthfully completed.
A copy of the claim form should be served on your employer. You should also keep a copy of the documents and make a note the date your claim was lodged.
WorkCover has 20 business days after receipt of the claim form in which to decide whether to accept the application for compensation. WorkCover has the right to ask the worker to provide a statement and any other proof of the injury and its cause. The worker may also be asked to attend a medical appointment with a WorkCover doctor and must cooperate with such a request.
If your statutory claim is accepted it will not remain open indefinitely. It will be finalised by WorkCover upon your injuries being classified as stable and stationary essentially, that your injuries will not improve, and that no further medical options are available. Unfortunately, WorkCover will rely on the opinion of their medical examiners in this regard even if these opinions conflict with the opinions of your treating doctors.
When your injuries are classified as stable and stationary, WorkCover may arrange for you to be assessed to determine your degree of permanent impairment and following that assessment, issue you with a Notice of Assessment.
Once received, the Notice of Assessment may include an offer of lump sum compensation.
In order to bring a successful common law claim, you must prove that your injury was caused by your employers’ negligence. In other words, you must prove that your employer failed to ensure you were safe at work and failed to take proper care to prevent you from suffering injury. This concept is known as negligence.
If your Statutory Claim has been accepted, you can commence a Common Law claim after the expiry of your Notice of Assessment.
If your Statutory claim has not been lodged, you may commence a Common Law claim in certain circumstances. You should seek legal advice regarding your options.
You must complete and serve a Notice of Claim for Damages form on your employer and WorkCover Queensland to commence a Common Law claim.
Queensland Mental Health Week (QMHW) occurs each year on 5 to 13 October.
This annual event aims to improve community awareness and interest in mental health and well-being, to shine a spotlight on what all of us can do to look after our mental health and reach out to those who need support.
QMHW is linked to National Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day, which is held on 10 October every year.
This year’s theme is Take time — for mental health. Take time is about the simple yet proven things everyone can do to boost mental wellbeing! Take time is also about breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness and reaching out to people in our communities who need support.
For further information, visit the official website: https://www.qldmentalhealthweek.org.au/.
If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to you can contact:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
SANE Australia: 1800 18 7263
Evolve Legal assists individuals with tailored legal advice to fit their individual needs. Call Evolve Legal today on 1300 025 101.