Can an Employee Claim for Psychological Injury?
The Duty of Care your employer has to you and the other workers employed by them includes keeping you out of any undue risk and harm. The most obvious form of negligence in this area comes in the form of a physical injury, but this also applies to psychological injuries you sustain because of your employer or workplace.
As a result, sustaining a mental or psychological injury at work means you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.
To be successful in your claim for compensation for a psychological injury, you must prove:
- The injury occurred out of your employment
- You are a worker within the definition in Queensland legislation
- The incident causing the injury was reasonably foreseeable to your employer
- Your employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the injury from occurring
Your claim may be rejected if your employer can prove the incident occurred through the course reasonable management action, taken in a reasonable way by your employer.
If your claim for compensation is rejected, there are several avenues available to appeal this decision. Strict time limitations do apply so it is important you speak with our expert team or workers compensation lawyers as soon as possible.
Psychological Injury Payouts in Queensland
Psychological injury payouts for workers’ compensation claims are calculated similarly to physical injuries for. The psychological injury payouts you receive in Queensland compensates you for the losses you have incurred as a result of the incident at work. These include:
- Medical or specialist expenses (i.e. treatment, medication, aids)
- Travel expenses to attend medical appointments and required treatment/rehabilitation
- Loss of income, both past and future (i.e. superannuation, lost overtime, promotional opportunity, and loss of competitiveness in your industry)
- Pain and suffering
- Care and assistance
Causes of Psychological Injury to Workers
The psychological injury must be tied to your employer and/or one or more workplace incidents. The injury must have been a reasonably foreseeable incident causing you risk or harm because of negligence on of your employer to facilitate a claim.
Workplace Bullying & Harassment
Workplace harassment is a common cause for psychological injury, as workers no longer feel comfortable in the working environment that they are being placed in. Bullying, intimidation, or harassment can occur from co-workers or people in positions of power, but this is not always the case. It is still your employer’s responsibility to provide you with an environment free of undue psychological stress.
Overworking & Exhaustion
Shift workers working longer hours are prone to feeling overworked and mentally exhausted. This can contribute to psychological injuries such as depression and more. Also, this can arise because of changed working conditions where workers’ responsibilities have been changed. Some workers may end up having to contribute more to make up for missing or terminated employees, contributing to mental exhaustion.
Dangerous Working Conditions
Dangerous working conditions can cause anxiety and feelings of elevated alertness, where workers do not feel comfortable and safe in their daily working environment. Workers in higher-risk occupations may find themselves mentally suffering because of dangerous working conditions.
Often during times of economic instability, companies find themselves forced to restructure and lose workers to save on cost. The mental wellbeing of workers with an uncertain future can be tested in times like these!
Other Workplace Injuries
Your psychological injury could even be the result of another workplace injury which has negatively affected your mental health. You may be finding it difficult to adapt to not working or your new way of living, which is affecting your mental wellbeing.
If you’ve suffered a psychological injury at work, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation. At Sinnamon Lawyers, we are experts in workers compensation claims. Contact us today for a free claim assessment!