Who makes up 31% of Australia’s workforce but represents 58% of our accidents and serious injuries? You guessed it, trade workers.
While it may not be a huge surprise that a job involving physical exertion on a daily basis can lead to all sorts of injuries, the latest statistics from Safe Work Australia show that 190 serious injury claims are made by tradies each day.
These sobering statistics highlight that for a tradesperson, TPD insurance is one of the most important types of cover. It protects you financially in the event that you sustain an injury that renders you totally and permanently disabled.
As a tradesperson, it’s easy to brush off a strain or sprain as overuse on the job and assume that it’ll get better in time. But ignoring these small injuries can set you up for a more severe injury down the road. Whether you’re a plumber, carpenter, electrician or another type of trade professional, time off works means lost income. And if you’re suffering a total and permanent disability, the bills don’t stop. In fact they pile up as medical costs and rehabilitation fees come into play. Thankfully that’s where we can help.
Common tradesman injuries
There are many ways working as a trade professional could result in a serious injury, but the most common include injuries to the knees, neck, shoulders and elbows.
Knee injuries often occur through excessive or prolonged kneeling, which can increase the chance of osteoarthritis in a person’s later years. Alternatively, placing heavy objects on the knee, or placing your body weight on your knee for an extended period of time can result in serious injury to the knee. Even twisting and turning in confined spaces can damage the knee’s tendons or ligaments.
Neck and shoulder injuries
If your job involves overhead work, be aware of neck and shoulder injuries. While these could occur in a variety of ways, because overhead work forces the shoulders to support the arms in an unnatural position, inflammation of the tendons can occur. Inflammation on its own may not stop you from working, but when these warning signs are routinely ignored, they can lead to a long-term and debilitating injury.
Ever heard of tradie’s elbow? That’s a neat little play on words for tennis elbow, an injury which used to be reserved for tennis players. But forearm and elbow pain is something that can plague tradies.
If you’re using tools that screw, drill, whack or sand, you can expect to be exerting a lot of pressure on your forearms, which can result in elbow pain. Tradie’s elbow occurs when your forearm tugs relentlessly on the bony insertion around your elbow. As a result, the insertion or the tendons become inflamed or damaged. The constant griping, twisting and vibrating of a tradie’s tools can easily lead to tradie’s elbow.
So how does TPD come into it?
Whether it’s knee injuries, neck injuries, tradie’s elbow or another injury altogether, if you’ve got an injury that stops you returning to work, you may make a TPD claim off the back of this injury.
Distinguishing common injuries from TPD injuries
For tradies, the chance of getting injured comes with the territory. Unfortunately due to the nature of their work, it’s easy for all kinds of injuries to crop up. TPD insurance can assist in severe cases, where the injury in question means that you can no longer work. It’s important to remember that the success of your TPD claim is heavily impacted by whether or not you can return to work.
This will always be a question for a medical professional, but there are a few things you can start thinking about to determine whether you’re likely to return to work:
-Is your injury severe?
The greater your injury, the less likely you are to return to work.
-Could you recover from the injury with rehabilitation and/or medication?
If so, it may be difficult for you to meet the definition of ‘totally and permanently disabled.’
-Could you continue to work by making modifications to your workplace, to the injury or to your employment conditions?
Again, this may result in you not being considered ’totally and permanently disabled.’
The other thing to be aware of is that there are varying definitions of ‘totally and permanently disabled.’ Some definitions require that you are unable to return to work within your education, training and experience. Others are assessed on your ability to perform activities of daily living. Some have retraining clauses, and some contain different definitions altogether. So it’s very important to check the definition your insurer uses.
If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just want a professional to help you out, leave it to us. We think you’ve been through enough. Contact WKB TPD Lawyers on 1800 865 225 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a No-Win, No-Fee guarantee if we take your claim on.