Employee Psychological Injury Claims

What do Psychological Injury Claims mean for employers?

Claiming compensation whilst suffering from a mental illness or trauma can be an extremely taxing experience, especially when you may fear that you will be treated differently to that of a person suffering a physical injury. If this resonates with you, know that at Super Claims Assist, psychiatric injuries carry the same weight as physical injuries, and will be handled as such.  Recent headway has been made through psychological injury claims for those suffering from psychiatric injuries caused from their occupation or workplace environment. Read on to hear about how solicitor Zagi Kozarov successfully sued her workplace and won compensation for her PTSD.

Progress on Psychological Injury Claims in Australia

What was the case about?

The ABC published an article detailing how Solicitor Zagi Kozarov won her legal battle to gain compensation for her work-caused psychiatric injury.

Ms Kozarov worked in the Government run Public Prosecutions office with both adults and children on highly distressing cases. This then led to Ms Kozarov becoming paranoid and highly vigilant with her own life matters and her children. Despite her workplace having a trauma policy in place, her workplace did not take the correct steps to ensure she had full access to this, or ensure she was aware of their policy.

Ms Kozarov’s symptoms gradually worsened and she was forced to leave her job due to a diagnosis of PTSD. This then started a two year legal debate which was overturned in the court of appeals due to “reasonable foreseeability”, was taken to the high court of Australia where she won the pioneering case.

This case shows the importance of increased recognition of mental health issues in the workplace, as well as a requirement for employers to take responsibility for their employees mental health. It also sheds light on avenues for compensation when suffering from psychiatric conditions, and reminds people there is help and options available. Read the full article here.

Who is responsible when there’s a psychological injury at work?

This was a major question which was hotly debated during this case, and continues to be an issue rising to the forefront for many organisations and companies. Who is the onus of mental health on? What can be done to better improve policies and systems? And most importantly – who should ultimately take responsibility? Lead lawyer in the case, Patsy Toop, said too much onus had been placed on individual workers to have insight into the development of their mental health condition and the outcome of this case has shifted the onus “back onto the employer” to provide “a safe place to work and to take measures to look after”.

Employers should have policies and procedures in place to assist with the mental health load many social care and health care workers face. Suffering from psychiatric health conditions can seriously impact lives and force people out of work, resulting in loss of income.

What does this mean if I suffered a psychiatric injury at work?

This case has shined a spotlight on the topic of why psychiatric injuries in the past have been treated differently than physical injuries, when they are both detrimental and critical to being able to attend work and live a worry-free lifestyle. Not only this, but it demonstrates that workplaces have a duty of care to provide adequate policies and procedures. If you have suffered or are suffering from a psychiatric injury which is linked to your occupation, you may have legal means to be compensated through your workers compensation or other avenues.

If you generally suffer from psychiatric injuries, not directly linked to work, there are still options out there for compensation in the way of a TPD claim (total and permanent disability). If either of these sound like a situation which you are going through, we recommend getting in touch with our team as soon as possible to discuss how psychological injury claims could benefit you or someone you know.

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