Stress Claims FAQs

Can I make a stress claim?
If you have suffered psychological injury as a result of a work-related incident, in Queensland or elsewhere, you may be entitled to compensation.  We can advise you in detail about your right to claim and your prospects of success.
 
All employers in Australia must hold workers’ compensation insurance or be licensed as a self-insurer.  Your claim will be handled by the insurer, with some involvement by the employer.  It is the insurer who will pay any damages.
 
In Queensland, there are two separate stages to a workers’ compensation claim – the statutory claim phase and the common law claim for damages.  Disputes regularly arise with the insurer during the statutory phase, particularly if an application for compensation is not accepted or a claim is closed prematurely.  MurphySchmidt can assist with both stages of the claim.  Different rules apply in other states and overseas – we can advise you about that.
 
We can also assist you if you have a Comcare claim.
 
How do I make a stress claim?
Generally, an application for compensation needs to be made to the insurer for statutory benefits.  You may have done this already.  If not, we can assist.
 
If you are entitled to pursue a common law claim for damages, a detailed notice of claim needs to be given to the insurer.  Strict time limits apply – you need to get expert advice now about the time limits which apply to you.
 
What can I claim in a stress claim?
It is impossible even to estimate the amount of damages you might recover without knowing a lot more about you and your injuries. Damages you might recover include:
  • Medical and other out of pocket expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Retraining expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future expenses
We can assist you to access ongoing counseling or rehabilitation.
 
You may also be entitled to make separate claims for additional insurance benefits such as income protection and total and permanent disablement benefits.  You will find more information about these claims under Income Protection and Disbablement Claims. 
 
Do I need a lawyer to make a stress claim?
No, you can handle the claim yourself.
 
However, insurers have extensive experience in defending claims and will often instruct lawyers to act on their behalf.  Insurers cannot provide you with independent advice.  You may find yourself at a disadvantage if you do not have legal representation.
 
Will the insurer pay my legal costs in a stress claim?
Generally speaking – no.
 
In the very limited cases where costs can be recovered, legislation restricts the amount an insurer has to contribute towards your costs – we will provide detailed advice about this. If the insurer is required to pay something towards your costs, it will not cover your entire costs.  The difference will be paid from your settlement or judgment monies.  We will discuss this with you in detail when we give you our initial Costs Agreement and before you instruct us to act on your behalf.
 
How long will a stress claim take?
This is impossible to say without knowing a lot more about you and your claim.   Some relevant factors include:
  • the severity and extent of your injuries – it is vital that your injuries be stable and stationary before any settlement negotiations commence – in Queensland, any damages you receive will be in full and final settlement of your claim.
  • whether the insurer disputes liability for your claim.
  • your age – if a young person is injured at an early stage of their working life, it is sometimes best to wait for them to settle into some sort of work so that an accurate assessment of the impact of their injuries can be made.
 
Will I need to go to court for a stress claim?
Queensland legislation requires that the claimant and the insurer attempt to reach a settlement before court proceedings are issued. Claims are very rarely decided by a judge.  Even if proceedings are issued in court, claims frequently settle before reaching trial.
 
How am I charged and how much do I have to pay to make a stress claim?
If we think you have reasonable prospects of success, we will usually agree to act on a speculative basis.  That means we will not charge for our professional fees unless and until your claim is successfully finalised.
 
We do require payment of any costs or outlays (eg. medico-legal reports from a specialist) incurred on your behalf, even if your claim is not successful.  We will not incur significant outlays without first discussing it with you.  An estimate of outlays will be provided in our Costs Agreement. 
 
Our costs will be reasonable – we will discuss them with you in detail before you instruct us to act on your behalf and will enter into a Costs Agreement with you.  We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice about the Costs Agreement before you sign it.