The Personal Injury Not Many Know You Can Sue Over: The Workplace Psychological Injury

Suing someone over a personal injury or an accident is not new, and it's fairly common to see someone ask for damages in court for emotional distress. But many people see emotional distress as related to something that caused physical injury, such as a car accident. In Australia, you can sue for a psychological injury that occurs without physical injury. You can't do this for everything that hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, but in certain circumstances, if you can get the necessary evidence, you can make a case for psychological injury after an accident or event.

Bullying and Witnessing Violent Treatment

There are workplace circumstances that are violent events, either physical or psychological, that can then affect you psychologically. This includes bullying where none of the injuries may be physical, but you were subject to or witnessed behaviour that could be considered psychologically violent. The effects of being involved in a verbally violent workplace, for example, can be just as bad as sustaining an actual physical injury (and in many cases, it can show up as physical problems). You may have to take time off work to recover or suffer financially if you can't work or are constantly going to medical specialists that require private insurance. You deserve compensation if your condition was caused by someone's reckless behaviour.

It Can Be Difficult to Produce Evidence

The issue with psychological injury is that it is hard to produce evidence. It's a little easier when the cause of the psychological injury had a physical component, such as being in a car accident; no one questions the core cause behind your claims of emotional distress, even if they doubt that the distress is enough to warrant financial damages. With workplace bullying, it's much harder to get evidence because not all bullying involves yelling or public displays; many times the bullying is done without witnesses and tends to look more like odd disciplinary actions or passive-aggressive actions like asking you to do another employee's work and then scolding you for being busy with your own work. That all builds up and can leave you feeling distraught.

Worker's Compensation Does Affect Some Cases

Because this type of psychological injury involves the workplace, you may have to look at applying for worker's compensation first. It's best to speak with lawyers about this to determine when worker's compensation would be enough or when you would need to sue for a separate personal injury. Do not attempt to navigate that yourself as you could make a mistake and cut yourself off from compensation by doing or saying the wrong thing. Speak with a lawyer near you to figure out what to do next.


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