During October each year Australia recognises Mental Health week. The Workers Compensation scheme in WA also recognises that sometimes at work things can get pretty tough for some staff and workers. Sometimes things get so bad that your doctor doesn’t want you to go back to work but rather wants you to take some time-out and have treatment. That can be caused by any number of factors, some of the ones we most often see are bullying, poor support at work, unreasonable work load pressure and demands, a work colleague who behaves inappropriately, or even violent or traumatic events such as a hold-up or witnessing an accident. If you are battling with mental health at work then there are some things to consider when thinking about whether or not to make a Workers Compensation claim:
Do you have a diagnosed condition
Have you been to your GP and have they diagnosed something? As a general principle the workers compensation scheme will only recognize your injury after you have been to a GP and have been diagnosed with a condition.
Was your mental health condition ‘significantly caused by’ something at work
What caused your mental health condition must be something that was ‘significantly caused by’ your employment. If your mental health condition happened at work, but was not caused by the employment, then you may not be able to claim. There must be something about what has been happening at work that has led to you seeing your GP.
Have you lost time from work or incurred treatment expenses
If you have been certified unfit for work or have incurred the cost of seeing your GP, counsellor, psychologist, medication, etc, then you might be able to claim.
If the above applies to you then you might consider making a claim. To do that:
You need to get a First Certificate of Capacity from your doctor
In simple terms there is a special form that your GP must complete. Most GP’s in Perth and WA will have these. The medical profession is skilled in identifying when work is causing a mental illness and will be able to provide you with a First Certificate of Capacity.
You need to notify your employer
This is done by completing the prescribed Claim Form. The Claim Form is available to download from the WorkCover WA website and must be completed. Once completed you must send both your Claim Form and your First Certificate of Capacity to your employer. Only once your employer has received both Forms can you say that you have made a claim.
You should chat be clear as to what has triggered your mental health condition
What has triggered your mental health condition is critical when assessing whether you have a good workers compensation claim or not. If your condition is caused by workplace discipline, or, performance management, or, not getting promoted, then it is possible that your claim may not succeed. If your condition is caused by bullying, a poor relationship with a colleague, traumatic events etc, then your claim may have a very good chance of succeeding. This can be a tricky thing to work out. The best thing to do is to chat to somebody who has experience with these claims, such as Lian Hall Injury Law.
A large proportion of ‘stress claims’ are pended by the employer’s insurance company. The insurance company may then get an investigator to chat to you to get a statement from you. Our advice is that you first chat to a lawyer before giving a statement to anybody. To make a good workers compensation claim in Perth you should chat to somebody who understands the scheme and how it can help you. Lawyers like Lian Hall Injury Law are always happy to chat on a no-obligation basis so just call.