Who can make a psychological injury or mental health claim?
You may be able to claim workers' compensation if events at work have had an impact on your mental health or emotional wellbeing. You may also be able to make a claim if you have a pre-existing psychological condition that worsened at work.
Eligible workers include:
- full time workers
- part-time workers
- casual employees
The most common symptoms of psychological trauma include:
- nightmares & loss of sleep
Symptoms of trauma can also typically include guilt, anger, fatigue, disorientation, poor concentration and social withdrawal.
As well as workplace incidents, you may also be able to claim work injury compensation for a recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any pre-existing psychological condition impacted by your work.
In some states you may be able to claim for psychological trauma sustained during a normal recess, such as lunchtime or morning and afternoon tea breaks.
Time limits for making a psychological injury claim
Time limits for a psychological injury claim at work can vary under the different laws, depending on where you live.
It’s important that you report your trauma to both your employer and the workers’ compensation authority that covers you as soon as possible. It’s best to do this within 30 days of the incident or once you’ve become aware of your psychological injury or illness.
Psychological injury compensation and benefits
The compensation and benefits you may receive from a psychological injury claim depend on (the severity of) your injury, when it happened, the law you’re covered by and the state you live in.
How much you may receive will depend on your specific information. You may receive payments that are equal to a percentage of your weekly earnings and for all reasonable medical and associated expenses. You can claim a lump sum if the injury has caused permanent impairment.
- Workers' compensation
- Additional superannuation compensation
- Additional common law compensation
Workers' compensation covers all 'reasonable' expenses such as:
- medical, hospital and nursing
- personal, household and occupational
- doctors and chemists
- therapists and counselling
- ambulance services
Your workers' compensation authority may also approve payment for:
- attendant care
- home help
- transportation costs
Additional superannuation compensation
in addition to workers' compensation, you might also be entitled to claim from your superannuation insurance policy.
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) benefits
You may be eligible for a TPD compensation claim if you’re unable to do your normal job or any other work related to your training and experience.
Income protection benefits
Income protection claims provide you financial support when an injury or illness is holding you back from earning income from your regular job.
Death benefits are paid to a surviving partner, children or dependants, or to the deceased’s estate.
Additional common law compensation
If your psychological injuries are (partly) the fault of your employer or any other person, you may also be able to claim additional compensation under common law. Whether you're entitled to a psychological injury claim depends on the state in which your work injury occurred. Time limits and complicated rules apply.
Common law claims usually include financial support being claimed for:
- pain and suffering
- past and future loss of earnings or loss of earning capacity
- past and future loss of superannuation contributions.
Preparing to make a psychological injury claim
Before you make a claim, there are a couple of things you need to prepare to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Key things to prepare:
- Make sure you've reported your psychological injury to your employer.
- Obtain a medical certificate. In most states this is called a work cover medical certificate, which you can obtain from your usual doctor.
- Lodge a worker's injury claim form. This is a standard form which you can obtain from your employer, from your workers' compensation insurer, or we can provide you with the form upon request.
Make sure to keep copies of both the claim form and the medical certificate before you give the originals to your employer or workers' compensation insurer.
Process for making a claim
Our work injury lawyers specialise in psychological injury and mental injury. We will assist you with your claim and make sure you know about your rights and entitlements.
We'll keep you informed throughout the whole process and provide you with legal advice that is easy to understand.
Find out if you have a claim
Use our free claim check tool and find out in minutes. Our experienced work injury lawyers will review your circumstances to provide you with the the best advice.
We’ll prepare your claim.
Our work injury lawyers who specialise in psychological injury and mental injury will take care of the legal process on your behalf. You will be kept informed of all stages along the way, including what fees are payable.
If your psychological injury claim is successful and damages are awarded, we'll process your payment as soon as we receive it.
We’re here to help. Get in touch with your local office.
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Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.