In this video, Associate Melissa Arndell talks about how police officers can claim compensation for injuries such as physical and psychological injuries.
Hi, my name’s Melissa Arndell, and I’m an associate at Bourke Legal. You’re a police officer, you’ve experienced many injuries on the job, both physical and psychological, as most police officers do.
In this video, I’m going to talk to you about how you can make a claim for compensation arising from those injuries. Firstly, let’s talk about your psychological injury. As a police officer, you’ve seen things that most of the public have never had to witness.
You’ve attended fatal motor vehicle accidents, delivered death messages, and been involved in highly dangerous situations. Most of the police officers that seek some advice from us come to us because they have a psychological injury, usually post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
They’ve either decided that they cannot continue to work as a police officer for any longer, or they may be seeking some advice about what things would look like for them in the future if they do decide to leave the force.
Police officers are entitled to lump sum compensation arising from their psychological injury. We usually recommend that you wait for a period of 12 to 15 months after your last day of work so that you can seek appropriate medical treatment and ensure your psychological condition has stabilised after your injury.
What we then do is have you assessed by an independent doctor, a psychiatrist who can assess you often by telehealth. This independent psychiatrist will be able to provide us with a report answering questions such as whether your PTSD has been caused by your policing career and also provide an assessment in relation to your whole-person impairment, WPI.
This WPI assessment is very important as you need to ensure you meet a 15% WPI threshold to be entitled to some lump sum compensation. When we receive the report from the independent psychiatrist, we’ll review it with you.
We will then, in accordance with your instructions, make a demand on EML for some lump sum compensation arising from your psychological injury. For example, a 15% WPI assessment may entitle you to compensation of $22,000, whereas a 22% WPI assessment might entitle you to compensation of over $35,000.
Further, we may be able to make a demand for pain and suffering arising from your psychological injury. This could equate to another $20,000 in your pocket. Once we have received the report from our psychiatrist, EML, the Police Workers Compensation Insurer, may wish to have you assessed by their own psychiatrist. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.
Depending on what EML’s psychiatrist report says, we can work to obtain a settlement in relation to your matter. It may be that we need to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. That’s something that we can do, or we may recommend that you commence proceedings in the Personal Injury Commission.
You would need to be assessed by a medical assessor, a third independent psychiatrist, who would provide a binding decision in relation to your psychological injury and your level of whole-person impairment. Secondly, let’s talk about your physical injuries.
Most of the police officers that come to see us are seeing us because of their PTSD primarily. But it’s highly uncommon that a police officer would not have at least one if not more physical injuries arising from their time in the police force.
Most police officers have attended some pretty dangerous situations. They’ve been in wrestles, foot pursuits, and it’s not uncommon for them to have back injuries, scarring, knee injuries, a bad shoulder. These are all things that come about from your time in the police force.
Having said that, most police officers are pretty stoic and try to just get on with things after their injury, we see it all the time. You might not have lodged any P902s or you might not have sought treatment for your injury. That’s okay, we can help you through this.
We can obtain all claim documents in relation to your injuries, and we also know what questions to ask to see whether you have obtained any physical injuries during your time with the police.
Just like for your psychological injury, we will have you assessed by an independent doctor, usually an occupational physician or an orthopaedic surgeon to assess your physical injuries.
Our doctor might assess you to have a 6% WPI from a bad back, 3% WPI from some bad knees, and 1% WPI from each scar that you’ve obtained. Your physical injuries could be worth over $20,000, including a further amount for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to your injuries.
We do understand that this is a daunting process for you, but we will help you every step of the way. Apart from needing to attend doctor’s assessments, we will give you advice, we will obtain the records that we need, and we will do everything we can to ensure you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to.