PTSD suffered by police officers: “Insult to Injury”
By Burgan Lawyers I 3 mins read
“Insult to Injury”: Insurers’ conduct exacerbates PTSD suffered by police officers
ABC’s Four Corners, on 1 August 2016, aired an excellent piece on the battles endured by police officers in trying to pursue genuine claims when they can no longer work due to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Police officers witness the most disturbing events. Four Corners reported that 1 in 5 police officers have, or could develop, PTSD, as a result of their work. During the Four Corners program, insurers were accused of making PTSD worse by placing former police officers under invasive surveillance.
Four Corners reported that when some police officers put their hands up for help they are being subjected to humiliating and harmful practices employed by the insurer, including delays in determining their claims and, in one case, 80 hours of surveillance of the officer and his wife and children.
A retired police officer, Brendan Bullock, told his story of the horrific events he endured during his work for the Police. Disturbingly, he tells of a lack of support by the insurer determining his claim and how the insurer’s conduct, in conducting relentless surveillance of him and lengthy delays with accepting his claim, exacerbated his psychological injuries.
Psychiatrist, Professor Sandy McFarlene, from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, gave his opinion about this conduct by the insurer. “They’re about saving money and about profits. And I think that potentially drives what I would see as being unethical behaviour”, he said. Prof McFarlene was critical of the insurer’s use of surveillance and spoke about the adverse impact it can have on officers with psychological injuries.
This Four Corners episode “Insult to Injury” can be viewed at http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/four-corners/NC1604H027S00
I am very pleased that Four Corners have picked up on this important issue. The police officers interviewed relayed their moving stories about being made to feel like criminals by the insurer, when simply trying to pursue their entitlements to compensation when they can no longer work. Unfortunately, these type of accounts are commonly told by my clients, when they first come to see me, after trying to battle the insurer alone.
Bringing a claim for compensation can be stressful, so it is important you have a lawyer who is on your side.
Kasarne Burgan, Principal Solicitor, Burgan Lawyers
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