All about WorkCover stress claims in Victoria
Does WorkCover cover stress leave?
If you are suffering from a work related psychological injury or stress injury, you are able to lodge a WorkCover claim in Victoria.
Can you claim workers compensation for stress?
If you have been diagnosed with a psychological injury, and if that has been caused or aggravated by your employment, you are able to make a workers compensation claim. Your condition must be caused by work rather than personal problems.
What happens if I lodge a WorkCover claim for stress?
Once your WorkCover claim has been submitted, typically the WorkCover insurer will arrange for you to be assessed by a psychiatrist, and also organise for a circumstance investigation report to be completed.
The circumstance investigation report involves a person speaking to others in your workplace and taking statements from them, as well as in some cases talking to you. They then compile a report with their findings as to what has happened in the workplace.
Is a WorkCover claim for stress more likely to be rejected than a WorkCover claim for a physical injury?
In general yes. This is due to a few reasons. One common reason is that WorkCover claims for stress are rejected because the insurer argues that you may have a psychological condition, however it was caused by reasonable management action taken in a reasonable manner.
Can I claim an impairment benefit for stress?
Yes, just like a physical injury, You can lodge an impairment benefit claim for stress. In order to succeed in this claim, you need to be assessed as having a 30% or greater whole person impairment rating.
If my WorkCover claim for stress is accepted, what am I entitled to?
You are entitled to the payment of reasonable medical and like expenses, and if you are not able to work to your full capacity and need time off, you are entitled to be paid weekly payments of compensation.
In order to be paid weekly payments of compensation, you are required to obtain certificates of capacity from your general practitioner or other treater.
In some cases, you are able to pursue to lump sum claims. The first being an impairment benefit and the second being a common-law claim for damages. Keep in mind however, that in general, it is less likely that a person will receive lump sum compensation for a stress related condition compared to if they had a physical injury.
Does my WorkCover stress claim stop if I return to work?
No your claim will continue even if you have returned to work. By continue, we mean that is still there for you to access should you need to do so in the future to claim weekly payments if you are not able to work or medical and like expenses if you need them.
Do I have to lodge a WorkCover claim straight away?
If you have a stress related condition that is connected to your employment, you do not need to lodge a WorkCover claim straight away.
This is particularly the case if you have met with a medical practitioner who have made a note of your issues so there is aRecord there in the future should it be required.
Generally speaking, a WorkCover claim is better lodge sooner rather than later as there is less of a chance that the WorkCover Insura will contest the claim and site the delay in the lodgement of the claim as a reason for rejecting it.
However, it all depends on evidence. If you have met with a doctor in the past and your issues have been documented then this should not be a concern for you.
In addition to your no fault WorkCover entitlements of medical and like expenses, weekly payments and an impairment benefit lump sum, in certain circumstances a person may be able to bring a common law claim for damages.