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Compensation payouts for PTSD in Australia.

If you’re suffering from PTSD, support is widely available in Australia through support groups and services, and through treatment providers. And depending on what caused your condition, you may be entitled to PTSD compensation to cover your treatment costs, wages you’ve lost from being off work, and in some cases lump sum payouts. In this article we explain everything you need to know about compensation payouts for PTSD in Australia, how to know if you’re entitled to claim, examples of claims, and how to get help with your claim.

What is PTSD, and how common is it?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a set of reactions that can occur after someone has been through a traumatic event.* People with PTSD can experience intense emotional or physical reactions including heart palpitations or panic, and it can lead to other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol or drug use. **

According to Phoenix Australia: ‘Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most common mental health disorder after depression, but it’s often left undiagnosed and untreated. And while not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, at any one time over one million Australians have PTSD.’ *

* https://www.phoenixaustralia.org
** https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

When can you claim compensation for PTSD in Australia?

There are a number of situations where you might be entitled claim a compensation payout for PTSD in Australia:

What can you claim for PTSD?   

In addition to compensation for weekly benefits and treatment you could also be entitled to:

To find out of you’re entitled to a PTSD compensation payout, you can call 13 15 15 and speak to a specialist personal injury lawyer. It’s a free service.

Can you claim for PTSD caused in the line of duty?

Yes, police, ambulance workers and fire fighters can claim compensation for PTSD that develops from events they’ve been exposed to in the line of duty. This applies to a single traumatic event, or the cumulative impact of traumatic events over time.

Emergency services jobs involve risk, but getting PTSD is not part of the job. So, if your work in emergency services has led to developing PTSD, it’s treated like any other work-related injury as far as claiming workers compensation is concerned.

Here at Law Partners, we have extensive experience claiming PTSD compensation payouts for police and other emergency services workers, including some very high-profile claims such as Mark Davidson, the lead sniper at the Lindt café siege in 2014. You can watch Mark’s story here.

If you’re an emergency service worker looking for help or information about PTSD, Emerge and See offers a range of support services.

Is PTSD a permanent impairment?

Yes, PTSD may be considered a permanent impairment as far as eligibility for compensation is concerned.

Whole person impairment (WPI) is a scale used to measure the severity of your injuries – a higher WPI can result in a higher compensation payout. For example, if you’ve been injured in a work accident and your WPI is 11% or more for a physical injury or 15% or more for a primary psychological injury, then you may be entitled to receive a permanent impairment payout. Emergency service workers may be entitled to a permanent impairment payout even if their WPI is less than 11%.

How much compensation do you get for PTSD?

Using a workers compensation claim as an example, your total PTSD compensation amount is determined by:

As an example, let’s look at this case of a police officer. After more than 20 years in the NSW police force, the officer developed PTSD from the cumulative effect of attending violent crime and traumatic car accidents scenes.

After months of struggling with anxiety and needing significant time off work, he was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and assessed as having a whole person impairment rating of 30%.

The officer also had a TPD (total and permanent disability) insurance policy connected to his super fund, which paid him a lump sum as he was no longer able to work as a police officer.

His total compensation was:

Compensation PaymentAmount
Weekly benefits (lost wages and treatment expenses)$186,500
Permanent impairment lump sum$86,370
Work Injury Damages lump sum$300,000
TPD insurance lump sum$280,000
Total PTSD compensation payout$852,870

Find out how much you can claim.

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Examples of PTSD compensation payouts in Australia.

Case study 1: work injury.

Stacey^ was working in a bar when one night at closing time, as she was locking the door, masked men pushed the door open forcing her to the ground and proceeded to rob the bar. Stacey suffered a serious shoulder injury that took several months to heal. However, it was the psychological trauma that kept Stacey off work for a more significant period of time. She would have flashbacks to the event, and she became fearful of being alone or going out in public. Stacey’s condition required ongoing treatment, and she was never able to return to that type of employment again.

Stacey’s psychological injury resulted in a WPI assessment of well over 15%. After rejecting an initial PTSD settlement offer from the insurer, we succeeded in making a significant lump sum permanent impairment claim on her behalf, in addition to compensation for her lost wages and treatment costs.

Case study 2: motor vehicle accident.

The second example involves a recent case where a mother and her children witnessed the father being knocked off his motorcycle by a car that ran a stop sign. It was a serious accident that resulted in the father being airlifted to hospital, and the children were traumatised.

Eventually the father was released from hospital to start his long road to recovery, but the children continued to have symptoms of PTSD for quite some time. It affected their schoolwork and social lives, and it became clear that these children were going to feel the financial consequences from this accident and their PTSD for the rest of their lives.

In the end all the claims including the children’s were settled with lump sum payouts for pain and suffering, economic loss, and treatment expenses. We negotiated settlements to represent fair compensation for the ongoing impact the incident had on their lives and will continue to have for many years to come.

^Client’s name has been changed to protect their identity.

If you’d like to know if you can claim a compensation payout for PTSD, call Law Partners and have a confidential conversation with one of our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

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