One of the hardest parts of my job as a personal injury lawyer is not being able to help. I have learned over the years that there will be times that I don't have a solution, that the 'system' doesn't have a solution and whilst I have come to terms with the fact I can't assist everyone, it is still hard having to tell someone that you aren't able to help.
I have lost count of the amount of front line, first response workers I have had in my office who have given themselves to their service and protection of the community and have paid the price by ultimately breaking down and suffering mental health illnesses as their resilience buckets could take no more. The sad reality was that for most of them, I was not able to assist, they were not eligible for workers' compensation benefits, nor were they even entitled to support services outside of their employers because the law on pure psychiatric injuries is such a high bar to meet, given the worker must demonstrate that the employer's actions, or perhaps inactions, were unreasonable. This has, historically been very hard, and often impossible for front line and emergency services workers to establish.
The Queensland Government has recently amended the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act to allow a certain group of workers, being First Responders and selected others to receive workers' compensation benefits where they have suffered PTSD as a result of their employment. It will automatically be deemed that this is work related.
It is important to note that this presumption is for certain workers and volunteers only and does not apply to everyone. This is a huge step forward to allow our front line workers to access early support and rehabilitation. It is certainly a very welcome step in my opinion.