When asking if you can make a Comcare claim and receive compensation for a psychiatric injury, the short answer is yes! Unlike most state workers’ compensation schemes, under the Comcare compensation scheme, an injured worker may be entitled to a lump sum payment for a psychiatric condition. If you are assessed with a permanent impairment (PI) of 10% or more you will receive a lump sum compensation payment. A 10% PI equates to a lump sum amount of approximately $40,000.00. The higher the level of PI the greater the amount of compensation that is payable.
Three critical considerations for Comcare claims
Having assisted injured Commonwealth employees for over 25 years with these claims there are three critical things to be aware of.
- Is your psychiatric condition stable? A payment will only be made under the relevant Act if your condition is permanent, which means it is likely to continue long term. A factor that is considered in determining this is whether you have undergone all reasonable medical treatment for your condition. Another consideration is how long ago your condition developed. In essence, a period of at least 12 months from when the injury happened is usually needed before a condition will be considered stable.
- You must initiate your Comcare claim. Comcare or the relevant insurer will not usually notify you about this payment being possible. You must take initial steps to initiate the PI claim, beginning with the completion of a permanent impairment form, which must also be signed by your GP or other treating doctor. This form is then sent to Comcare or the relevant insurer which then commences the PI process. Completing this form is just the first step to receiving a PI payment.
- Medical Assessment. If Comcare sends you to a doctor for an assessment it is important that you are aware of the likely questions the doctor will ask you. What you say to this doctor will play a very important role in determining what, if any, payment you will receive. You should be aware of the criteria or table that the doctor will use at this appointment to assess the extent of your PI. It is critical that you are prepared for this appointment. You may wish to take a support person with you to this appointment.
There are many pitfalls that exist when proceeding with a PI claim. I have highlighted just three of the most important aspects you should be aware of when making a Comcare claim. It certainly is a complex process and it is important to obtain specialised legal advice from the outset to ensure you have the maximum chance of receiving a fair and reasonable payment. If managed efficiently, this process does not need to be lengthy and can be resolved within a few months.
If you have sustained a work related psychological condition you may be entitled to a lump sum payment. This payment is usually only made once so it is important to ensure that you obtain informed legal advice. Give yourself the best chance of receiving the payment you are entitled to, obtain advice from a lawyer that specialises in Comcare claims.
Get in Touch!
To discuss anything in this article, or if you believe you may be eligible for compensation and would like help with your Comcare compensation claim, please contact TGB partner Tim White.
Tim and his team advise Commonwealth employees across Australia on their entitlement to compensation, and making Comcare claims.