Psychiatric Injuries in the Workplace: Are You Protected by Compensation Law? | BPC Law Blog

It’s very difficult to define and prove psychiatric injuries for the purpose of receiving workers compensation. To be successful in such a claim, you often need to turn to the expertise of a Sydney compensation lawyer, but why is it so difficult to prove a psychiatric injury in the workplace?

Workers Compensation

A psychiatric injury in the workplace, or a work-related mental disorder as defined by SafeWork Australia is a little difficult to understand. In essence it boils down to mental stress, which isn’t actually a health condition, but rather the cause of health conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and nervous breakdowns. SafeWork Australia realises that this mental stress can be caused by all number of things including seeing or being involved in a traumatic event, workplace violence, harassment, work pressure, or suicides and attempted suicides. However, just because you experience mental stress, doesn’t mean you will actually develop a diagnosable mental disorder – that all depends upon a wide range of factors including your own individual personality. So if mental stress is such a loose and slippery thing, is there even a chance of you receiving workers compensation for it?

In actuality, you can claim for workers compensation as a result of mental stress as long as you have evidence that the events occurred and it has affected you in negative some way. The problem is that many people do not claim for workers compensation for mental stress and psychiatric injuries for a number of reasons. One of the key reasons why people won’t make claims is because they do not realise it is possible to do so, and instead choose to use their own sick or holiday leave as a means of recovery. Other people leave the stressful work environment all together and don’t claim for compensation, possibly because they just want to get on with their lives. Others worry that if they do claim for psychiatric injury they will be treated differently as a result of having a mental illness.

The heart of it all is compensation law can help you if you suffer a psychiatric injury, but you can never be compensated if you don’t actually tell someone that you are suffering. If no one knows anything, they can’t do anything.

Is Medical Negligence Sydney’s Silent Scourge? | BPC Law Blog

There is an endless amount of work for medical negligence lawyers in Sydney, but if there are so many cases of medical negligence, why are so many people unaware that it is going on right under their noses?

Medical Negligence

On the ABC’s Radio National program Lorraine Long, the founder of the Medical Error Action Group, described how her organisation would receive up to 50 complaints a day that could be classed as medical error. Estimates have been made that in Australia 18,000 people die each year as a result of medical error, but the lack of medical records and linking of the data means that this number is only an estimate and not a fact. It’s alarming nonetheless. But why are cases not being reported?

Lorraine Long believes that the reason medical negligence is so rarely discussed on a national level is because there is this belief that doctors don’t make mistake, and the way cases of medical negligence are handled is to make sure it’s done as quietly as possible. So why hasn’t anything been done to stop this?

In 1995, the Quality in Australian Health Care Study was presented to the federal government. It claimed that 16.6% of admitted patients suffered from medical negligence, whether it was fatal or lead to some form of disability. Since the release of the study the processes used and the conclusions drawn have been a centre of debate in medical, academic, and political circles. But has there been a change in legislation as a result of this report?

In 2003, Australia became the first country to have a nationwide open disclosure policy. The idea was to get doctors and health services talking honestly and openly with patients if something does go wrong. However, in practice hospitals have been known to make patients sign contracts saying they won’t sue before telling them anything. It can then seem like the only option is to sue to find out what really happened. But is that an option?

Unfortunately, it can be very hard to win a case of medical negligence. The law is clear that you need to have a permanent injury that is deemed as significant – it has to affect more than five per cent of your body. Worryingly, it’s only about three per cent of doctors who are the cause of 50% of reported cases of medical negligence.

In the Loop with Insurance Law: Can Your Insurance Company Cope with Disaster? | BPC Law blog

You may remember that after the floods in Brisbane and the surrounding area in 2011, many homeowners were shocked to discover that their insurance didn’t cover the damage left by the floods. Could your insurance company cover your Sydney home if it was damaged in a natural disaster or do you need to start looking for a good “No Win, No Pay” insurance lawyer?

No Win No Pay Lawyers

A lot has changed in the few years since the 2011 floods. Many insurance companies now offer cover for floods, though you do need to be wary of their definition of flooding and what they will cover. However, though insurance companies may now be providing flood cover it certainly isn’t cheap in areas that are prone to flooding, which often means many people can’t afford to be insured at all against floods. So are the most likely to be affected by natural disaster doomed to forever have it affecting their wallets?Insurance Lawyers

Hopefully not. Local governments and state governments have begun to put measures in place to reduce the amount of people affected by floods, or at least give them a hand in getting the right insurance. Brisbane has a history of flooding, yet people were still allowed to buy and build on land that was known to be a floodplain. Local councils have offered to buy back this land, but many people choose not to go with this for a number of reasons. The alternative is a proposal for people in areas that often flood to have discounts on their insurance premiums. But are insurance companies on board with this idea?

At least one insurance company is, but it makes sense for the rest of the industry to join behind this proposal as well. Though insurance companies are about making money, they make this money through the community. If the community and society see no reason to support them, then the money dries up. Insurance companies will need to learn how to balance creating a profit with helping members of the community.

So what can you do to protect your home against natural disasters? Go over your insurance company’s policies, and if you’re concerned about anything then speak to an insurance lawyer who can help you pull apart all the technical terms and get to the information you want.

Violence at Work: Who’s Liable and Who’s Entitled to Workers Compensation Under the Law? | BPC Law blog

You’d be aware that when it comes to workers compensation claims, many regarding bullying or harassment in Sydney workplaces are paid out quickly. But what about if a worker is attacked in a random act of violence? Could a lawyer help them get fair compensation?

Compensation Law

When we’re talking about random acts of violence at work, think robberies and armed assailants. Now, most jobs aren’t high-risk, you don’t expect to get robbed or attacked, and neither do the business operators think it’s going to happen. This is where you run into issues of whether the attack on the worker was foreseeable.

To avoid paying large amounts of compensation, a business or place of employment will argue that the act of violence was so unlikely to happen that it was almost impossible, and therefore why would they need to have safety measures in place? Often in such cases, even if the judge thinks that the business did not do everything they could have potentially done to prevent such an incident, the court will find that the judge is focusing too much on hindsight. So could a business get away with never having to pay our compensation?

Of course not, the law expects any business or employer to assess real risks and to reduce these risks. If the risk is likely, something needs to be done, but if the risk is highly unlikely, the law doesn’t expect any employer to spend money on preventing it from happening as their money might never be put to good use.

Workers Compensation

CCTV cameras might not be deemed necessary in every place of work

In essence, if you have suffered because of an act of violence at work, to get your workers compensation appeal approved the likelihood of that attack comes into question. If it was likely that you would be attacked at work, e.g. you work at a service station, and your employer didn’t keep you safe, then you’ll find your claim will most likely get through. However, if you work in a safe industry and the attack was extremely unlikely, chances are that you won’t receive compensation.

Compensation Law: What is Product Liability? | BPC Law Blog

You may have heard stories of people being injured because of a product, whether that’s because the product was faulty or its design was flawed. The next step is to find a lawyer and to seek compensation under product liability. But what is product liability defined as in Sydney and Australia?

Compensation law

From a consumer’s point of view, product liability is there to keep you safe, and, ultimately, help you if you are injured by a product. But how exactly can a product injure you? Well, when you go to a restaurant you expect that the food there will be edible and safe, otherwise it’s not a restaurant. However, if you end up with food poisoning, the ‘product’ that the restaurant sold was ‘faulty’, so you can claim for compensation under product liability. The other side of product liability is keeping you safe from poorly-designed products. You’re probably aware that as we approach Christmas each year, there is always a story in the media of how one of the hottest toys is actually dangerous and has to be recalled (e.g. you might remember in 2007 when Bindeez were recalled because it was found that when the small beads were swallowed, a chemical in them was turned into the party drug GHB by the human body).

Compensation law

Of course, product liability isn’t just something for consumers. Businesses that manufacture, supply, or design products need to know what they can do to ensure there will be no question of product liability. If you are involved in the manufacturing or designing of a product, these are a few things to do to keep everything and everybody safe:

  • Have regular reviews of the product designs and production
  • Have quality assurance procedures and review these regularly
  • Test products regularly to make sure they meet industry standards
  • Provide clear and useful instructions with your product
  • If need be, have voluntary recalls

Product liability is purely to look after you and your family. If businesses must meet a certain standard, and they can face punishment if they don’t, it encourages them to make quality products.

Medical Negligence Lawyers: Seeking Restitution | BPC Law Blog

If you have been the victim of medical negligence, a specialist lawyer in Sydney can help you get compensation. But what do you need to do?

Medical negligence

Firstly, you need to work out if you have a case at all. To fall under the definition of medical negligence, a medical practitioner has to have been negligent in their care of you. The negligence could be that:

  • They did something they shouldn’t have (like operate on the wrong part),
  • They did something without your consent
  • They didn’t explain everything to you and warn you of risks so your consent could not be fully given
  • They caused you injury

So now you know if you qualify as a victim of medical negligence, what next?

Anyone can say anything about anybody, but if you want to be successful in court, you need to show evidence. Whenever you go in for a medical procedure, it’s a good idea to hold onto reports and letters relating to your condition for your medical history and for insurance purposes, but if you do become a victim of medical negligence, these will become the backbone of your case. You need to show that what the doctor did wasn’t what you discussed or what the reports and letters recommended. Here are a few examples of things to hang onto:

  • Letters from your GP
  • Letters from specialists
  • X-rays and ultrasounds
  • Blood test results and any other test results

Medical negligence Sydney

Of course the evidence gathering doesn’t stop after the procedure. Some of the things you can do to prove that what the doctor did has harmed you can include:

  • Photographs of the affected area (if applicable)
  • Invoices and bills from other medical professionals you’ve had to see as a result of medical negligence (e.g. needing additional surgery)
  • Test results, x-rays, and ultrasounds that prove that you are still suffering from the condition you went in with, or alternatively, proving that they did something wrong (e.g. operated on the wrong part)

What you’ll need to gather and keep will, of course, depend on the individual case of your medical negligence.

Once you have your evidence, it’s time to start talking to lawyers. Remember, if you come forward to say that doctor did something wrong, you could be saving someone else from going through the same pain you did.

How Victims Compensation Law Could Work for You? | BPC Law Blog

If you’re a victim of a crime, it’s important that you realise that you’re entitled to a number of things thanks to victims compensation laws in Sydney and NSW. It works like workers compensation, or any other compensation law, all you need to do is speak to the right people.

How Victims Compensation Law Could Work for You? | BPC Law Blog

The legal definition of a victim of crime is someone who suffers harm as a direct result of an act committed by a person in the course of committing a criminal offense. This harm may be physical, psychological, or psychiatric, and can also cover the damage, theft, or destruction of a person’s property. A person can also be a victim of crime if a family member dies due to someone committing a criminal offense. If you do fall under this definition, what does that mean you can expect in terms of compensation?

Recently, the victims compensation law in NSW was updated with the passing of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013. Under this new act, if you are a victim of crime the sort of compensation you can receive includes:

  • Counselling services for that act of violence
  • Financial assistance for immediate needs that are the result of the act of violence (e.g. medical needs) up to a determined amount
  • Financial assistance up to a determined amount to compensate for loss of income or some other economic loss due to the criminal act
  • A recognition payment (this is a payment made to you by the person who harmed you) – this payment will depend on the crime committed (e.g. Robbery is $1,500)

How Victims Compensation Law Could Work for You? | BPC Law Blog

When it comes to claiming for victims compensation you need to be aware of time limits. Generally, you need to claim within two years of the crime. However, the time limit for claims relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse is 10 years. Of course, there are exemptions for crimes committed against children, and if you were a victim as a child your time limit only begins from the day you turn 18.

Victims compensation can, understandably, be a little confusing, but it is well worth your while to seek some form of compensation for your injuries after a criminal act has happened.