Matter Examples


Cases where the issue of liability is the key issue
  • We acted in a matter involving an injured pedestrian who was struck by our client’s insured driver. Relying on various superior court decisions concerning the scope of the duty of care owed by a driver to pedestrians, we maintained a strong denial of liability and ultimately resolved the claim on favourable grounds.
  • We obtained a favourable judgment in the District Court on issues of causation and the plaintiff’s care claim. The amount awarded to the plaintiff was significantly less than the CTP insurer’s mandatory final offer and our recommended offers (both formal and informal) throughout the litigated claim. This resulted in a costs order against the plaintiff and a set-off of the awarded damages against those costs (Wolfgram v Cleator & Anor [2017] QDC).
  • The use of tow ropes or ‘snatch straps’ in four-wheel drive (4WD) recovery exercises is common in Queensland. We recently acted for a CTP insurer in response to a claim by a driver who suffered significant injuries in a 4WD training program run by his employer that involved the use of snatch straps. The matter involved multiple claims under the various personal injury legislative regimes, including against the CTP insurer, the claimant’s employer and the manufacturer of the vehicle involved in the recovery exercise. Liability for the claim against the CTP insurer was denied on the basis that the incident did not fall within the ambit of section 5 of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld). The claim was resolved on favourable terms to the CTP insurer at a pre-litigation mediation involving all parties.
  • We acted in a case where we proved that the claimant actually reversed into the insured vehicle, rather than that the collision was caused by the insured rear-ending the claimant, as alleged. In order to challenge the credibility of the claimant, we drew on our deep understanding of the investigations that were required to both meet and defeat the claim.
  • We acted in a nominal defendant claim where we argued successfully that an oil slick was not sufficient proof of negligence on the part of the insured.
Complex litigation involving major or catastropic injury
  • In complex litigation involving major or catastrophic injury such as brain damage or paralysis, we have represented insurers successfully before the Lifetime Care and Support Scheme. To assist the decision maker in these cases, we focus on the key issues, drawing on our knowledge of the medical issues involved and our skill in collating evidence, and we engage the best experts. The feedback from the clients we have acted for in these cases is that we do ‘fantastic work’.
High-volume and more complex claims
  • In high-volume and more complex claims, we achieve excellent interlocutory results before tribunals such as Medical Assessment Service (MAS) and Claims Assessment Resolution Service (CARS) a regular basis by preparing erudite submissions supported by good evidence preparation. Our submissions always focus on the important and integral aspect of claims.
Legitimate and higher-volume claims
  • Our approach to legitimate and higher-volume claims is to challenge causation in low-impact collisions, which leads to favourable judgments of low quantum. For example, where judgments are less than $40,000 we have applied careful legal argument and obtained orders for the insurer not to pay the plaintiff’s costs. Our knowledge and experience ensure that we retain the best experts to help collect the evidence required to achieve these excellent outcomes.
Multiple fraud claims
  • We have obtained judgment in favour of the insurer in multiple fraud claims. In many of these cases, our evidence gathering has led to the claimants withdrawing their claims. In a number of instances, these matters have been referred to the police for potential prosecution against the claimants for fraud. In short, we often work successfully with our clients to discourage, and even prevent, fraud.
Using evidence to obtain an advantageous settlement at mediation
  • We acted in three separate matters involving three family members who were injured when their stationary vehicle was struck by a truck that had left the highway after allegedly being blinded by the high-beam headlights of our client’s insured vehicle. At conference, the claimant and the insurer of the truck driver sought contribution from our client’s insured as a joint tortfeasor. We argued that our client’s insured faced no exposure to the claim, due to the unreliable evidence of the truck driver and favourable findings in the relevant police investigation report. All three matters were ultimately resolved at conference. Our client did not have to make a contribution.
  • We resolved a matter on favourable terms after obtaining evidence via social media and other online sources. The evidence showed that the claimant had been selected to play in the Queensland Oz-Tag representative team, alongside his solicitor, despite claiming to be suffering from a debilitating knee injury. When disclosed at the conference, the evidence assisted in settlement negotiations and a prompt finalisation of the matter.
  • We resolved a significant claim after uncovering an Instagram account operated by the plaintiff under a pseudonym. We confirmed the plaintiff as the operator of the Instagram account by cross-referencing it with other forms of social media. The Instagram account depicted the plaintiff engaging in overseas hiking and mountain bike tours, despite the plaintiff alleging a debilitating injury. We produced some of the photographs from the Instagram account at mediation, which helped us to resolve the matter on very favourable terms.
  • We have acted in various claims involving issues of intoxication and contributory negligence under the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld). In a recent matter, we acted for a CTP insurer in a claim by an injured passenger where anecdotal evidence suggested that both he and the driver were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the accident. No forensic analysis was able to be undertaken, as the insured driver could not be located following the accident. The claim was also complicated by the injured passenger’s incarceration due to unrelated criminal offences following the accident. Issues of voluntary assumption of risk, the content of any duty owed by an intoxicated driver to his intoxicated passenger and contributory negligence were all vigorously contested. The litigated claim was ultimately resolved at a pre-trial mediation for an amount well within our recommended claims reserve.
Using strategic approaches to obtain favourable settlements at mediation
  • We identified a litigated claim that ought to be targeted for early resolution. After the claim failed to resolve at compulsory conference with the parties having exchanged offers that were approximately $100,000 apart, we received instructions. Less than two months later, by highlighting various problems with the plaintiff’s substantial claim for past and future economic loss, we resolved the matter informally for an amount only marginally higher than the amount the plaintiff had rejected at the compulsory conference.
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