This week Andrea has been out and about visiting clients. Whilst this doesn't sound like anything exciting, the feedback received from the clients has given some food for thought.
There are many occupations where a home visit is never given a second thought and is necessary - for example tradespeople actually working on your house, doctors offer home visits for those who need it most and some banks and finance professionals will offer house visits. But why is it that people don't seem to associate a home visit with their lawyer?
By visiting clients at home, we get to see who our clients really are, what they like, their favourite colours, hobbies they engage in and get to see projects that they might be working on and are passionate about. It's not just about going out to visit someone at home because they can't get to the office. Meeting someone at home creates a connection that you didn't previously have. In personal injuries law, where it's our job to tell our client's story to the defence and to outline how an injury has so badly impacted on their lives. It's these little details about someone that can make all the difference, like the one random step they might have in their home down to a slightly lower level that might jus be too much for them some days, or how their house might be elevated or on a hill that they used to walk daily, but can't any longer.
Clients are often more comfortable in their own homes. They have their chair that they know they can sit in for periods of time, they don't have to worry about unfamiliar environments, their pet can sit with them, or a neighbour or friend.
When the idea of Far North Injury Lawyers was being developed, we wanted to do things differently from the start. Ensuring that we offer all of our clients the chance to meet with us in their home was an important consideration. We understand that not everyone will be keen to have someone in their house, and that's ok. We want our clients to feel comfortable telling us that they don't want to or can't go out, so we are happy to jump in the car and go for a visit - especially if it means that we don't hold your claim up waiting for the next appointment.
So when we are talking about meeting for an appointment, please don't be shocked if we offer to come to you, it's just part of who we are! We can also bring the cake!
One of the hardest parts of my job as a personal injury lawyer is not being able to help. I have learned over the years that there will be times that I don't have a solution, that the 'system' doesn't have a solution and whilst I have come to terms with the fact I can't assist everyone, it is still hard having to tell someone that you aren't able to help.
I have lost count of the amount of front line, first response workers I have had in my office who have given themselves to their service and protection of the community and have paid the price by ultimately breaking down and suffering mental health illnesses as their resilience buckets could take no more. The sad reality was that for most of them, I was not able to assist, they were not eligible for workers' compensation benefits, nor were they even entitled to support services outside of their employers because the law on pure psychiatric injuries is such a high bar to meet, given the worker must demonstrate that the employer's actions, or perhaps inactions, were unreasonable. This has, historically been very hard, and often impossible for front line and emergency services workers to establish.
The Queensland Government has recently amended the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act to allow a certain group of workers, being First Responders and selected others to receive workers' compensation benefits where they have suffered PTSD as a result of their employment. It will automatically be deemed that this is work related.
It is important to note that this presumption is for certain workers and volunteers only and does not apply to everyone. This is a huge step forward to allow our front line workers to access early support and rehabilitation. It is certainly a very welcome step in my opinion.