It’s common knowledge that many workers suffer from stress. But in a 2016 report by Reventure(1), it was revealed that almost 30 per cent of employees felt a high amount of stress ‘always or often’ due to their work or for other workplace reasons. However, there are remedies for people who undergo a significant amount of stress at work.
If employees are injured, Workers Compensation provides financial support for them. But many people also question whether or not these comp payments are available to workers who suffer from mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety due to workplace stress – the answer is yes, most definitely.
However, being granted Workers Compensation for psychological injury or stress is often more difficult for claimants. Claims should be made as soon as the claimant feels that workplace stress is causing mental health symptoms.
For over 38 years, the PK Simpson law firm has been helping the people of NSW and Australia-wide get the compensation to which they are entitled –
PK Simpson lawyers have the skills and experience to make sure you are successful no matter what your claim may be
How Was Your Stress Caused?
A successful Workers Comp claim for stress is hard-won and a claimant faces the challenge of proving that the cause of the stress was due to toxic conditions in the workplace or of the job. This can include:
- Sexual harassment
- Violence in the workplace
- Exposure to traumatic events
- Work pressures
But if they can show they took reasonable management action, employers are protected. For instance, a claimant might find it hard to win a claim if their stress was due to their underperformance resulting in a demotion.
Another factor to be considered is that the claimant’s psychological injury must not be primarily from health problems, or from problems in their family or financial difficulties. The injury must be primarily caused by the work or the workplace.
At PK Simpson, we are a personal injury law firm that charges on a No Win – No Fee basis – but unlike some of our competitors, we don’t pick and choose the cases we’re likely to win –
Our professional, skilled and competent lawyers represent anyone who has a viable claim, regardless of how large or small the claim, arising from injury, loss or illness suffered as a result of negligence
Is Stress Leave Covered By Workers Compensation?
Yes. Stress is a significant health condition that some employers don’t take seriously. If you are suffering stress related to your job and it’s affecting your mental or physical health you are free to make a claim and could be eligible for payments for Workers’ Compensation Stress Leave.
Such claims can be more expensive than others since they can mean long periods of absence from work and claim time. Claims for mental stress are now classed as those where a worker has suffered a mental or physical illness or condition caused by work-related stress.
Factors in Successful Work Stress Claims
To make a successful WorkCover stress claim, you must prove that you have suffered a medical illness or condition that is diagnosed and classed as an ‘injury’. Therefore, consulting a health professional, doctor or a specialist is crucial to the success of your claim and also your wellbeing.
In addition, you have to prove that the injury was caused by work conditions or incidents. This can be in the form of sexual harassment or abuse, undue pressures, bullying or witnessing a traumatic event.
Be aware though, as mentioned above, that your employer is protected if he or she can prove they took reasonable action to prevent your injury. There must also be a causal link proven between your condition and your job.
Another important factor to be taken into account and followed for eligibility under the WorkCover scheme is that as an employee you must inform your employer within 30 days of your injury or work related condition.
Permanent Impairments and Medical Evidence
A claimant for Workers Compensation has to produce sufficient medical evidence in support of their psychological injury claim.
These claims are rigorously scrutinised, therefore an accredited specialist in mental health will normally have to assess claimants to diagnose their injury. However, there are lump sum payments available for workers who have permanent impairments caused by work-related injuries or illnesses.
For example, emergency services responders, police, firefighters, ambulance paramedics exposed to harrowing events often have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anyone making a Workers Compensation claim has to meet a ‘whole person impairment’ (WPI) threshold, which, for psychological injuries, is set at 15 per cent.
The WPI system decides how much a condition negatively affects a person, and asks whether the claimant functions at least 15 per cent poorer than if they had not been injured.
Claiming Workers Compensation
There are some unique challenges for claimants who wish to pursue Workers Comp for psychological injury, stress or other mental health issues. This is why it’s crucial to your success that you seek the advice of a lawyer expert in the area, such as PK Simpson as soon as possible.
We have decades of experience in working with clients claiming Workers Compensation for all types of injuries, so contact us today to see how we can help you and make sure your outcome is favourable. Call PK Simpson on 1300 757 467 or book an appointment to come and see us to have a chat.