In a landmark case a NSW volunteer Firefighter has received compensation for chronic PTSD in a settlement with the NSW government in what is believed to be the first of it’s kind.
The firefighter alleged that while attending more than 772 traumatic incidents over 7 years he developed PTSD. He said he was never told he was at risk of developing the disorder. He said incidents he attended included an attempted suicide, fatal accidents and a car accident in which a passenger was trapped for two hours. He consulted a NSW Rural Fire Service Welfare Manager once a month for a number of months but no recommendation was given to him to see a Doctor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
In 2004 the firefighter alleged that the Welfare Manager advised him that he did not need to see him anymore. During that year he attended 110 incidents including 46 fires and explosions, 5 hazardous conditions and 10 motor accident rescues.
Evidence was given on behalf of the firefighter that he did not have a medical condition before he joined the emergency service.
The firefighter’s PTSD led to alcohol abuse and he suffered loss of earnings and the capacity to earn an income.
Arising from the outcome of this case the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association said the NSW RFS has a duty of care for all of its workers and the majority of these are volunteers. He went onto say that ‘Recent bushfire events have highlighted the level of reliance upon our volunteer firefighters, but the NSW Government has been asleep at the wheel.’
If you are a Volunteer and have suffered a physical injury or psychological injury there is a good chance that you will be entitled to compensation. If you would like to know where you stand call Peter Moore, Brazel Moore Compensation Lawyers on 4324 7699 for an informal confidential free chat.