A nurse’s compensation claim – Chopra v State of NSW
Published on October 26, 2023 by Hayley Aldrich
The NSW Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal brought by Ms. Chopra, a nurse who was assaulted at Blacktown Hospital against an order of the District Court that required her to undergo psychometric testing in the course of her workers compensation claim against South Western Sydney Local Health District.
This article provides a summary of Chopra v State of NSW (South Western Sydney Local Health District)  NSWCA 142.
Ms. Chopra was assaulted by a patient in the course of her employment and while undertaking her duties as a nurse at Blacktown Hospital. She suffered physical and psychological injuries and was subsequently diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
She commenced proceedings for work injury damages in the District Court of NSW against the State of NSW (South Western Sydney Local Health District). The parties exchanged a Pre-Filing Statement and a Pre-Filing Defence as required by the legislation prior to the commencement of her proceedings. The Pre-Filing Defence did not address Ms. Chopra’s psychological condition.
The South Western Sydney Local Health District then requested Ms. Chopra undergo psychometric testing. Following her refusal, it applied for an order from the District Court compelling her to attend the testing. The application included a reference to a clinical entry in August 2022 which was made available to the South Western Sydney Local Health District’s solicitor and which he then considered it necessary that Ms. Chopra undergo cognitive testing and evaluate the risk of her exaggerating her condition.
Ms. Chopra relied on her medical evidence that was included within her Pre-Filing Statement and the lack of clinical merit in her being subjected to undergo psychometric testing and the associated risk to her current psychological state should she be subjected to undergo the testing.
The District Court made the order giving ex tempore reasons. Ms. Chopra then sought leave to appeal. The grounds of her appeal included a contention that the primary judge erred in requiring her to undergo psychometric testing given that her unchallenged medical evidence raised serious concern that the testing would be detrimental to her psychological state and the also questioned the efficacy of the testing.
The Court found that the primary judge had not taken into account the unchallenged medical evidence that questioned the efficacy of the testing and raised concerns that it would be detrimental to Ms. Chopra’s health.
The Court re-exercised the discretion and held that Ms. Chopra should not be required to undergo psychometric testing.
You can read the full judgement here.
Please contact Hayley Aldrich if you have any queries around workers compensation claims.