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Psychological Injury at Work? Your Rights in Plain Language

Feeling lost after suffering a psychological injury at work? You're not alone.

This can be a confusing and stressful time, with questions about compensation, rights, and recovery. This article aims to demystify the process by providing key insights into classifying your injury and navigating the legalities involved.

What is a psychological injury?

Think of it as a mental or emotional harm caused by your job. This can include things like:

  • PTSD: From a traumatic event like an assault at work.
  • Anxiety and depression: Due to chronic stress, bullying, or harassment.
  • Adjustment disorders: Struggling to cope with changes at work.

How do I know if I’m eligible for compensation?

The key question is: did your job play a major role in causing your injury? If yes, you may be entitled to compensation under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW).

Types of injuries:

The type of injury determines how your claim is handled. For:

  • “Frank injuries” arise from a single traumatic event, like a robbery or assault. Think of them as instant impacts with a clear date.
  • “Disease injuries” develop gradually due to repeated stressful events, such as bullying or long-term workload pressures. They’re like slow-burning fires, building over time.

Why does this matter?

  • Frank injuries –  the “date of accident” determines how your claim is handled and is usually easy to determine as it’s the date of the traumatic incident.
  • Disease injuries  – require a closer look at the gradual progression of symptoms and work history. For disease injuries, the “disease provisions” apply and the date of injury is usually the date you cease work due to the injury.

Key considerations for disease injuries:

  • Section 4b: of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW): This defines disease injuries and requires that work was the “main contributing factor” for the aggravation or acceleration of the disease injury.
  • A disease is defined as an aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration in the course of employment of any disease, but only if the employment was the main contributing factor.
  • In respect of an injury claimed as a disease, the Act requires consideration of the following factors:
  • The time and place of the injury;
  • The nature of the work performed and the particular task of that work;
  • The duration of the employment;
  • The possibility that the injury or a similar injury would have happened anyway at the same time or at the same stage of the workers life if she or he had not been at work or had not worked in that employment;
  • The workers state of health before the injury and the existence of any hereditary risks;
  • The workers lifestyle and his or her activities outside the workplace.
  • Section 15 and 16 of the Act define a disease to be contracted by a gradual process and shall be assumed to have happed at the time of the worker’s death or incapacity or in the event there is no dealt or incapacity, at the time the claim for compensation is made.
  • In situations, where the injury occurs over time, the last employer who employed the worker to which the disease was due, is liable to pay the compensation. This is an issue if you have a psychological injury caused by two or more employers.

Case example – Iman – v- NSW Police Force [2013] NSW WCCPD11

Former Deputy President Roach considered whether a psychological injury was a disease or a personal injury.  In paragraphs 264 to 268 of the judgement, he noted that a disease is caused when the body is unable to repeatedly deal with the stress imposed upon it, the gradual process of a disease can “be acquired a little or a little more from day to day”.

Remember:

  • Gather evidence: Detailed statements and chronologies outlining the injury’s progression, symptoms, and medical needs are crucial.
  • Seek expert guidance: Consulting a specialist lawyer experienced in workplace psychological injuries is vital to navigate the complexities of your situation and maximize your claim’s potential.

Don’t feel overwhelmed! By understanding the different types of injuries, their legal implications, and the importance of evidence and expert support, you can confidently navigate this challenging phase and seek the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law at Garling and Co and start your journey to recovery today!

 

Professional woman typing on laptop at work.

Emma Perkins

Joining Garling and Co in 2019, Emma brings to the team a deep knowledge and understanding of Personal Injury Law. Since her admission in 2009, she has specialised in the fields of workers' compensation, victims' compensation, public liability, motor...
Lisa L.
05:18 13 Jul 24
Outstanding service and commitment to my case was delivered from the first point of contact right until the end of my successful case.Highest recommendations to the team at Garling and Co. Matthew... got me an excellent result and was available and informative throughout the entire foreign process of legal proceedings. He was wonderful and so was his team.If i could rate higher than 5 stars i would!read more
J B
07:12 02 Jul 24
Matthew Garling and all of the team were extremely professional and supportive throughout what was a very long and arduous CTP battle. I am happy with the result and feel that their fees were fair... and well deserved.read more
Nelson B.
02:11 30 Jun 24
Professional, prompt & honest service
Brad M.
02:19 28 Jun 24
I worked with Garling & Co for 3+ years, the team has been incredible and I could not have been happier with Kerry's support and the results produced!I highly recommend choosing them as your... representatives!!read more
Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Lisa L.
05:18 13 Jul 24
Outstanding service and commitment to my case was delivered from the first point of contact right until the end of my successful case.Highest recommendations to the team at Garling and Co. Matthew... got me an excellent result and was available and informative throughout the entire foreign process of legal proceedings. He was wonderful and so was his team.If i could rate higher than 5 stars i would!read more
J B
07:12 02 Jul 24
Matthew Garling and all of the team were extremely professional and supportive throughout what was a very long and arduous CTP battle. I am happy with the result and feel that their fees were fair... and well deserved.read more
Nelson B.
02:11 30 Jun 24
Professional, prompt & honest service
Brad M.
02:19 28 Jun 24
I worked with Garling & Co for 3+ years, the team has been incredible and I could not have been happier with Kerry's support and the results produced!I highly recommend choosing them as your... representatives!!read more
Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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