The Complete Guide To Stress Related Workers’ Compensation Claims

Seeking the input of experienced workers compensation lawyers in Perth is the smart move when initiating a workers’ compensation stress claim. Having the Soul Legal team on your side makes the claims journey a smoother process than navigating the system alone.

You should consider getting advice about whether to make a claim as soon as you experience workplace stress. You do not have to wait for your stress to become disabling.

Though we can work with events of workplace stress going back several years it is best to make your claim within one year of workplace stress occurring. In fact, there may be a defence which the employer can rely upon for claims more than a year old, though they are not always successful in defending older claims.

What is a workers’ compensation stress claim?

While many are familiar with claiming physical injuries in the workplace, psychological injuries are also legally covered. The same basic compensation model applies i.e. regular payments and coverage or reimbursement of medical costs and associated expenses.

Your claim is filed through WorkCover WA and your employer’s insurer is then contacted. After an evaluation the insurer declares your claim accepted, pending, disputed, or rejected (a common occurrence). Don’t worry, you can choose to keep fighting for your claim.

Having a personal injury lawyer already involved means we help you pursue the next step from an informed perspective. A compensation payout, should take into account your losses and leave you financially capable of addressing the cost of future care or future time off work, whilst taking into account any risks to you claim.

Who can claim?

WorkCover WA specifies a worker can be full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, piece and commission workers. Volunteers do not generally fall under the jurisdiction of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

Seeking medical care is key, as medical documentation forms the basis of your claim. Visit your doctor as soon as possible to obtain a workers’ compensation first medical certificate, to record your condition any treatment needs or time required off work. They may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist for further evaluation.

Because you’re already stressed, it may seem easier to follow the urgings of insurers or employers. Be aware you have rights within the claims process. With each request, check what you can be asked to do, and what you must do. There is a difference.

What are the types of claims?

In 2018/19, WorkCover WA reports causes of stress related claims in WA were:

  • Exposure to workplace violence (28%)
  • Work pressure (25%)
  • Exposure to traumatic events (24%)
  • Harassment & bullying (16%)
  • Other causes (6%)

Claims can be rejected for an array of reasons, such as you are not deemed psychologically ill by the insurer’s medical professional, or stress is pronounced likely related to outside factors, or to workplace discipline. You may still have a viable claim even if these factors are involved or the insurer’s choice of doctor does not support you. We’ll help you collate evidence that legally proves your workplace stress.

Proof may include:

  • A witness (i.e. co-worker or client).
  • Communication (voicemails, emails) showcasing inappropriate behaviour.
  • Record of work allocations highlighting unreasonable demands.

Pursuing a common law claim is also an option for those suffering a minimum 15% whole of person impairment. Common law damages are pursued through the court, and as conditions apply, we recommend speaking to our team for legal advice. The first step is usually to make your workers compensation claim.

Give us a call and we’ll talk

There is a two-step resolution process for workers compensation claims and stress claims follow the same pathway. After conferral with the insurer to accept your claim is unsuccessful (this is normal), we can bring an application to the Workers’ Compensation Conciliation Service. If your claim is not accepted or settled at Conciliation, an application can then be made to the Workers’ Compensation Arbitration Service. Most claims settle prior to Arbitration. If your Arbitration proceeds and you are not successful, in some circumstances an appeal can be made to the District Court of Western Australia.

Whatever happens, we’re on your team — which means we find the best way forward for you and your claim. We offer informed advice and answer all your questions at every stage, so you never feel alone or overwhelmed by the process.

Soul Legal offers a free no obligation claims assessment, and if we believe your claim has sufficient merit, our lawyers will provide a no win, no fee service. Contact us today to discuss your situation, so we can start pursuing your compensation claim asap.

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