Friday, 23 September 2016

Workers - Self Inflicted Injuries and Insanity

Under s 129 of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld), compensation is not payable for an injury sustained by work if the injury is intentionally self-inflicted. 

The question then is if a worker is so psychiatrically or psychologically traumatised so as to commit suicide, can the worker’s dependant or dependants claim compensation? 

This issue was dealt with by his Honour President Hall in Q-Comp v Craig (2007) 185 QGIG 236(Craig’s case). 

In that case his Honour accepted that, following the Court of Appeal in New South Wales decision in Holden Pty Ltd v Walsh (2000) 19 NSWCCR 629[2000] NSWCA 87BC200002008, where the legislative scheme requires a causal nexus between the employment and an injury by way of death, the chain of causation will be broken if death is the consequence of intentionally inflicted harm. 

However, his Honour also accepted in reliance upon that case that suicide while deliberate may often (but not always) be the product of a will so overborne or influenced by the worker’s circumstances that it should not be regarded as an intentional act breaking the chain of causation. Insanity is not a necessary step to this result.
Craig’s case was referred to and followed by Deputy President O’Connor in O’Neill v Q Comp (WC/2012/84 — 5 September 2013). 
In that case, the deceased worker was a medical practitioner who injected himself with a drug called rocuronium and thus committed suicide.
If you have a workplace bullying or harassment issue arising from your workplace, please give Workers First a call to discuss your situation and options FREE and confidentially.

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