Simon Shaw, commercial director at Accident Claims Lawyers, on why it doesn’t pay to suffer in silence

No matter how stringent the safety regulations put in place, “accidents will happen” is less a saying and more an inescapable truth when working environments feature extreme heights, moving heavy machinery and operating high-risk plant equipment.

These proverbial pitfalls of a place of work may sound alien to those in accounting and the like, but they are commonplace when it comes to Western Australia’s mining industry.

And while miners themselves required no such chilling reminder, the deaths of two workers in the space of a fortnight last month emphatically reaffirmed the inherent risks associated with excavating a living in the sector to the wider population.

Fatalities and severe injuries are regrettably not a rarity – as evidenced by the 378 “serious” incidents recorded by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety in Western Australia during 2019-2020 – and demonstrate the fundamental need for workers’ compensation insurance, which ensures bereaved families are not faced with financial toil at a time of emotional turmoil.

However, such employee schemes – which are compulsory purchases for most businesses in Australia – serve to provide more than just fiscal relief in the event of the very worst happening or someone sustaining life-changing injuries.

Being part of an industry of extremes does not exclude individuals from making a claim in the wake of a work-place accident that results in any time away from their chosen career’s coalface.

Regardless of the relative severity of an injury or illness or the nature of employment, pain – and any financial hardship felt as a result – should not be put up with for fear of being seen to make a fuss.

Similarly, lips need not be bitten for the benefit of bosses and out of worry that pursuing a claim will shut the door to promotion or dissuade a potential future employer from considering a job application.

Company owners may not be fans of the rising premiums that come with administering claims, but they pay for workers’ compensation insurance for a reason – to cover their employees’ medical or care expenses, loss of earnings and give due consideration for any pain and suffering as a consequence of injury or illness.

After all, no medals are awarded to those suffering in silence or raiding their personal reserves to meet the cost of expensive rehabilitation.

To put it bluntly, workers’ compensation is there to be used when warranted.

However, just because something exists, does not make it user friendly, fair or easy to navigate without professional support.

Aside from the paperwork being plentiful, the insurance companies handling claims tend to be well-resourced, well-oiled operations with a reputation for having deep pockets and a vested interest in preserving the prosperity of Goliath rather than David.

Therefore, putting a “giant” such as Accident Claims Lawyers in your own corner is a sensible step to take and one that can prevent you from being outmuscled or becoming fatigued by the process.

Our in-house specialists are accustomed to exploring every facet of a claim and have a proven track record for securing the best possible outcomes for clients. We are not your average family firm of solicitors that juggles everything from real estate purchases to probate matters, but experts in our field.

That our specialism encompasses motor vehicle accidents is particularly noteworthy given the startling statistic that 43 per cent of all worker fatalities in 2019 were vehicle related.

Most importantly, instructing Accident Claims Lawyers puts your physical and mental health at the top of the agenda by affording you the greatest chance of securing the best available care, surgery and rehabilitation.

Our offices are open extended hours to support those who have already returned to their own and wish to talk away from their desks or are unable to make calls while at work, and those having to supplement already busy schedules with medical appointments.

We believe communication is key to resolving most issues in life and that is why talking to us about your work-place injury costs nothing. Seeking legal advice is a conversation worth having and one infinitely better than staying silent.