Workers compensation claims by certain workers, first responders, as defined in the Act, have been streamlined. The onus of proof for certain psychological injury claims has been reversed.
Any valid diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will now be taken to be an injury for the purposes of the Act. There is an assumption that any such injury was caused by the applicant’s work, with the onus then upon the employer/insurer to show otherwise if they consider it appropriate to do so.
‘First responders’ are workers such as police and other emergency service personnel whose…employment requires the person to respond to incidents… that are life-threatening or otherwise traumatic… and for which time may be critical to prevent actual or potential death or injury to persons, or to prevent or minimise damage to property or the environment.
The definition extends to certain volunteers and other eligible employees, as defined in the Act, such as those whose work requires them to deal with certain traumatic material, or be involved in certain traumatic incidents such as dealing with human remains, investigating child sexual abuse, dealing with serious violence or viewing graphic details of such things.
The commentary in the By Lawyers Workers Compensation (QLD) publication has been updated. There are also new and amended precedents, including an Initial letter to client – First responder with PTSD and a corresponding amendment to the Retainer instructions to prompt for relevant details when interviewing such a client.