A former police officer who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing harrowing events on the job has complained about the treatment he received from his insurer after making a total and permanent disability (TPD) claim.
Metlife Insurance classed Adam Watts as employable despite his condition, but he has been unemployed for five years since being medically discharged from the force.
Mr Watts has unsuccessfully applied for 250 jobs during that time, with Metlife Insurance claiming he could become a librarian even though he has no qualifications for the role, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The workers' compensation insurer rejected the 47-year-old's TPD claim, with a psychiatrist at the firm admitting he could not return to police work but could obtain clerical jobs.
According to Mr Watts, Metlife medical practitioners would assess his suitability for work for just 30 minutes to an hour, while rejecting the diagnoses of doctors that had been treating him for a decade.
"My doctors have been saying 'if Mr Watts gets well he may be able to pursue something but he is not well or it is unsure if he will ever get better'. But their doctors say 'well, Mr Watts can be a librarian or do clerical work'," he explained.
"I could apply to be a brain surgeon, but who is going to take me on. They don't market test or speak to employment agencies and say 'would you take this person on?'"
PTSD is a mental health disorder that develops in people who experience traumatic events, such as natural disasters, physical or sexual assaults, warfare or car accidents.
Figures from Phoenix Australia – the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health – claim that between five and 10 per cent of people in the country will experience PTSD during their lifetime.
The traumas of police work
Mr Watts saw a number of dismaying cases while working as police officer, including the discovery of a young man who had gassed himself in a car. He also saw multiple autopsies, some of which were performed on babies.
"I'd walk into work and I'd be perspiring and my heart would be pounding at massive rates. I started having high blood pressure," he stated.
"I knew I wasn't well. I realised if I put my hand up and said I'm not well that would be the end of my career so I tried to struggle on. It was all the years of policing."
Nevertheless, his insurer rejected his claim after four years of evaluating the evidence, which included having him, his wife and three children followed by investigators.
Rejected TPD claims can be disputed, however, so contact us at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for more information.