Psychological Injury Claims
by Monaco Solicitors
A claim for psychological injury can be made if there is medical evidence to show that a worker suffered from a psychological or psychiatric disorder as a result of their employment. This can be due to a variety of circumstances and there are situations where compensation is not payable at all.
In order to receive a lump sump compensation for permanent impairment, the worker needs to meet the 15 per cent Whole Person Impairment (WPI) minimum threshold for a primary psychological injury.
To determine WPI, a specially accredited psychologist examines the injured person and assesses their WPI based on specific criterion set out in the Psychiatric Impairment Rating Scale (PIRS). PIRS focuses on certain areas of function, including:
- Ability to take care of oneself and personal hygiene
- Engagement in social and recreational activities
- Ability to travel, both with and without assistance
- Social functioning and relationships with other people
- Ability to concentrate on tasks
Our policy is to educate our clients about these guidelines so that they can understand the process of medical assessment and the significance of the specific symptoms they have, as they relate to the final assessment of WPI.
These claims are often difficult to prove and legislation provides that no compensation is payable if the psychological injury was wholly or predominantly caused by reasonable action taken or proposed to be taken by or on behalf of the employer with respect to transfer, demotion, promotion, performance appraisal, discipline, retrenchment or dismissal of workers or provision of employment benefits to workers. There are further restrictions on psychological injury claims and it should be noted that ‘stress’ is insufficient as a diagnosis of a condition for the purposes of making a workers compensation claim.