Civil liability claims and psychiatric assessment

Civil liability claims and psychiatric assessment

July 21, 2020

I have written a paper about civil liability claims and psychiatric assessment. Click here to read the document. The paper refers to provisions of the Victorian Wrongs Act but has some applicability to all the civil liability acts in Australia. They have common features.

The difference in Victoria and New South Wales is that claims can only proceed if there is a significant injury. In general significant psychiatric injury in Victoria is injury with an impairment of 10% or more that is not secondary or consequential to physical injury using the GEPIC. Similar provisions apply in New South Wales but the threshold is 15% or more using the PIRS.

Psychiatrists assess three main types of claims. These include falls and trips, childhood sexual abuse claims and medical negligence in all its ramifications. Most claims do not require psychiatrists to comment on liability.

In Victoria and New South Wales psychiatrists are asked to decide whether or not the claimant has reached or exceeded the threshold (thus allowing the claim to proceed) and also comment on the diagnosis and treatment requirements with an estimated cost of these requirements.

Psychiatrists are only asked to comment on liability with regard to issues arising from psychiatric or psychological treatment including psychiatric hospitalisation.

There are particular issues with each of these types of claims that are briefly discussed in the presentation.


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