Having liability accepted for a psychological work-related injury can be very difficult, even more so because the connection or relationship to work can be (and is often) less obvious than in workcover claims involving only physical injuries. However in the following recent legal cases, the courts accepted that there was a psychological work-related injury present.
I recently asked an orthopaedic surgeon why he recently decided to cease accepting workcover patients; the surgeon gave an interesting but perhaps wretched answer, saying that workcover patients are much more difficult o engage and treat than general patients because “these injured workers are so angry at the [workcover] system”.
While any workcover settlement (or closure of claim) does NOT take an injured worker’s pain and/or disability away; once the injured worker feels that s/he is no longer imprisoned and under constant scrutiny by the work-over system, there is then room for “living”. There is nothing like experiencing freedom from being surveilled, judged, made accountable, having to comply with directives from insurance vultures and…from being treated like vermin.
Unfortunately moderate to very serious workplace injuries continue to occur. Some of these workplace injuries result in substantial lost work time, permanent and partial impairment and disability, and … chronic pain. [Major] Depression, in particular following a more severe injury impacts not only the injured worker but also the worker’s family. Some workplace accidents also include traumatic events which can precipitate acute stress disorder or post traumatic stress disorder.
The workcover system is an extremely confining system which consists mainly of repression— defined as the state of [the injured worker] being controlled (by force). Your income, health care, medical treatment and even ‘activities’ are controlled by a governing source (WorkCover and it’s agent). In fact there is virtually no freedom, very little flexibility and lots of surveillance.
As posted in Part 1 of challenges injured workers face, there are many similar challenges the (fairly) newly seriously injured or disabled worker must face regardless of the nature of their specific disability. One of the common issues faced by newly seriously injured and/or disabled workers is boredom, another one is relationship issues with others.
Going “off track” here, or maybe ON track!… But for those amongst you who feel depressed and/or that life is not worth living because of your “disability” (i.e. permanently injured limb, loss of body function etc) think about what a wise old avian vet recently had to say:…
A fairly recent (US) study of about 368,000 workers has found that injured workers are 43% more likely to be treated for depression than their non-injured counterparts.
The assessment of a worker’s psych injury workcover claim involves much more than a diagnosis it involves verifying whether the injured worker is not exaggerating or faking it! In this article, a research psychologist explains how an injured worker’s credibility and functionality are measured.
If anyone has had, or is having, difficulties dealing with a trauma related stress (e.g PTSD), and they are available to physically attend either UNSW Campuses at Randwick or Westmead Hospital, it is definitely worth getting involved with their Traumatic Stress Clinic program.