Man’s best friend can now be classified as ‘medical treatment’

20 August 2020
Personal Injury Compensation

Ordinarily, a worker injured at work can pursue a workers compensation claim seeking compensation for the following:

  1. Weekly payments to cover loss of wages for time taken off work;
  2. Lump sum compensation for their injuries;
  3. Domestic assistance; and
  4. Payment of reasonably necessary medical / treatment expenses – this usually means the cost of seeing treating practitioners, operative treatment, medication, and travel related to obtaining treatment;

However, there may be situations where ‘treatment’ is more than just seeing doctors or taking medication.

The Workers Compensation Commission has determined that dogs, specifically, companion dogs may be considered as reasonably necessary medical treatment for workers who have sustained psychological injuries in the course of their employment.

Companion dogs may be considered as ‘medical or related treatment’ in accordance with section 59 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 if such treatment has been expressly recommended by a medical practitioner such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. The worker’s dog must be a companion dog and not the typical family pet. The injured worker must also be able to show that they rely on the companion dog in their everyday lives.

The Workers Compensation Commission has accepted that companion dogs have proven effective in reducing injured worker’s symptoms, such as anxiety, allowing the worker to be a more independent, productive member of society. As a result, companion dogs have been classified as reasonably necessary medical treatment. This means that a worker may claim all reasonably necessary costs for the provision and maintenance of their companion dog (such as vet fees) in addition to other medical / treatment.

Of course, each case is different and will be considered based on its merits. As such, contact your injury compensation specialists at Lionheart Lawyers today on (02) 9299 0112 to discuss your entitlements.

At Lionheart Lawyers, we are ready to fight for you.

Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice.

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