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Teacher’s damages award for psychological injury confirmed

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In a recent Victorian case, it was confirmed that an employer was negligent for failing to counsel and mediate when it knew that a fraught relationship between employees was causing a deterioration in the psychological condition of one of them.

A trades teacher employed by the Box Hill TAFE, brought a case in the Supreme Court claiming damages for a psychological injury brought about by the treatment he received from a supervisor, over time and in twelve separate incidents. The teacher suffered from depression. Medical certificates of capacity given to the Box Hill TAFE by the teacher, made it clear that his psychological condition was deteriorating as a result of his relationship with his supervisor.The supervisor did not know that the teacher was suffering a Psychological condition that was at risk of deteriorating as a result of the relationship between the two. After the final, twelfth incident, which involved the supervisor having ‘blasted’ the teacher, the teacher was unable to work, and his lifestyle and enjoyment of past times were significantly affected.

In the Supreme Court decision handed down in December 2014, Justice Jack Forrest dismissed the teacher’s claim that he had been constantly bullied and harassed over a period of time and also found that he was a “totally unreliable and unsatisfactory witness."

However, Justice Forrest went on to find that the Box Hill TAFE should have taken action to prevent the teacher’s condition from deteriorating as a result of the final, twelfth incident, by giving the supervisor information about the teacher’s condition, and by counselling both and conducting a mediation. Failure to intervene in this way, the court held, was negligent and the teacher was entitled to damages for the pain and suffering he had experienced and for loss of earnings occasioned by not being able to work. For his psychological injuries the Court awarded $110,000 in pain and suffering damages and $122,000 for loss of earnings. The teacher also claimed damages for spinal injuries and was awarded $125,000.

The Court of Appeal upheld the original Supreme Court decision and the decision, handed down on 10 September can be found at:http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2015/245.html

If you would like to discuss this decision or if you would like to know whether an employer may have negligently caused a psychological injury in a particular set of circumstances please contact Penny on 97751371 or by email: penny@peninsulainjurylawyers.com.au

 

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Launch of workplace mental health training package for union delegates

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Headsup has released a free training package for union delegates to help them recognise the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition and deliver information to workers about anxiety and depression and the workplace. The package also provides information about how the delegate can take action to support a worker.

There is a separate package for trade unions, professional services unions and service industry unions. Included in the package is an educator’s guide, a delegate’s handbook and a power point presentation. These can be downloaded from www.headsup.org.au/toolboxtalkunions. A resource pack is also available for training sessions and can be ordered from the Headsup website www.headsup.org.au

The package was piloted by the Forests Products Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)

 

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Mayor's Picnic, Cruden Farm 13 September

Monday, September 14, 2015

 

It was great to participate in the Mayor's picnic at Cruden Farm, Langwarrin, on Sunday. The weather was perfect.

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641 new Mesothelioma cases notified in 2014 - Australian Mesothelioma Registry Report released 31 August 2015

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Australian Mesothelioma Registry reported on 31 August 2015 that as at 31 May 2015 the Registry had received 641 notifications of people newly diagnosed with Mesothelioma between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014. Of those newly diagnosed notifications, the overwhelming majority, 518, were males and 128 were females. Further, 85% were aged 65 years or over at the time of diagnoses. 

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Common law damages awarded for scarring

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

It is possible to sue and recover common law damages for scarring in both work injury and transport accident cases if the scarring is a serious injury, caused by the negligence of another. The definition of 'serious injury' under both workplace compensation and transport accident legislation includes 'a permanent serious disfigurement'. 
 

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Court finds occupier not negligent when person injured after falling in dark, unlit driveway

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Victorian Court of Appeal recently considered whether an occupier, in this case the owner of a house and bed and breakfast accommodation, was negligent when they failed to provide lighting in a dark section of a driveway.

The occupier had gone on a holiday and left someone staying at the premises. The occupier had unplugged the sensor light that lit the dark driveway before they left. The person bringing the legal action, the Applicant, was staying at the premises. The Applicant’s evidence was that they injured their shoulder when they fell, after stepping into a puddle and slipping on a sleeper whilst walking down the dark drive way. The Applicant argued that they fell because they could not see where they were going and that the occupier was negligent because the area was not lit when they fell.

The Court of Appeal found that the occupier was not negligent in not providing lighting as a reasonable occupier would have expected that the person staying at their premises would have used their own artificial lighting, such as a torch, to prevent such an accident.

Erickson V Bagley [2015] VSCA 220

Judges: Kyrou JA and Kaye JA

Date of Judgement: 25 August 2015

 

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Hearing Awareness Week 23 - 29 August - Drawing attention to hearing loss.

Monday, August 24, 2015

This week is Hearing Awareness Week. This is a week to draw attention to the prevalence of hearing loss and its causes and consequences. Hearing loss can occur from a short exposure to loud noise or as a result of exposure to noise for a long time. Noise induced hearing loss cannot be reversed. It can have a huge impact on a person's well being.
 

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Looking forward to the Frankston Mayor's Family Picnic

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Peninsula Injury Lawyers will be at the Frankston Mayor's Family Picnic at Cruden Farm, Langwarrin on Sunday 13 September. Bring your picnic rug and come to our table for a chance to win a prize and to learn more about our services. Really looking forward to a big day out with other local community groups and businesses.
 

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Open for business at Lakewood Rise in Carrum Downs

Friday, July 24, 2015

  

Peninsula Injury Lawyers has opened its doors at 12/10 Lakewood Boulevard, Carrum Downs. We are nestled within a small group of accountants, lawyers and other professionals, in the thriving Carrum Downs industrial estate, visible form the Frankston freeway and Penlink.

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