Police, ambulance, fire & rescue personnel are known as exempt employees under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) and as such there are different rules, regulations and compensation benefits which apply to their workers compensation claims.
Apart from this, there are also significant differences in claims brought by first responders in comparison to other injured employees. Some of these differences include:
- Increased complexity in respect of legal issues. For example, most psychological injury claims brought by first responders will need to overcome the three-year statutory limitation period;
- There are several compensation and insurance claims that can be brought by first responders. These include workers compensation, common law/work injury damages claims, and TPD claims. It is important that any lawyer acting for these clients is across the complex web of legislation and rules in respect of each particular claim and jurisdiction. With regards to TPD and psychiatric and psychological injury claims for example, there are many personal injury lawyers who, despite long experience in the personal injury field, will have had limited exposure to these types of claims;
- Claims brought by first responders, as indicated above, have different compensation benefits, which generally exceed those available to the average injured worker. One of the consequences of this is that employers such as the New South Wales Police Force and its insurers fight such compensation claims extremely aggressively and use every means at their disposal to defend them;
- It is unfortunately our experience that many employers of first responders have a culture which stigmatises psychological injury and the claiming of compensation for such illnesses. This often adds an element that needs to be addressed in pursuing these matters.
All of these issues means that it is vital, when pursuing your compensation claim, that you have a specialist lawyer who has the experience, expertise and empathy not only to psychological and psychiatric injuries, but who has represented hundreds of first responders and injured workers. John Cox would be happy to initially talk or meet with you and assist you without obligation or fee to discuss your circumstances and whether we are able to assist.