With over a100,0000 peopleworking in Sydney a psychiatric injury can be the undoing for any worker, whether it’s from being involved in a harrowing robbery to working the front line as a police officer. The definition of worker’s compensation covers all types of injuries, not just the ones you can see like a broken leg, so obviously a matter like PTSD doesn’t need a lawyer to get a worker’s compensation claim fulfilled, does it?
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Joe Noonan is a former police officer suffering from PTSD after a series of very distressing incidents during the course of his time as a detective. He had a shotgun pointed at him in a situation where he genuinely feared for his life, he saw five deaths in one shift, he was shot at at close range, he was holding a colleague in his arms when they died of a gunshot to the head, along with many other situations that were either extremely distressing or that left him fearing for his life. If anyone’s entitled to compensation, it’d be Noonan, wouldn’t it?
Not so according to the County Court of Victoria and the Victorian WorkCover Authority. To receive compensation Noonan’s injuries would have to be classed as serious. Noonan argued that as a result of his job he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as depression, anxiety, panic disorder and nervousness, which all sounds like quite a handful. The judge found that Noonan’s symptoms couldn’t be considered severe enough to receive compensation as they didn’t meet the requirements of the severe injury test. But why?
The reason was that Noonan was quite a high-functioning person. His life now is quite good and he’s quite productive, which is what really what undid his case, though there is evidence that his experiences do still affect his life but it still wasn’t enough for the judge. Noonan attends to appeal this decision.
If you’d like to read more about worker’s compensation, check out How Facebook Can Kill Your Worker’s Compensation Claim.