Australia: “Personal injury claims plummet”

Yes, it can happen: following the enactment of sweeping state-level liability reforms, the rate of personal-injury filings in Australia is way down and legal practices are closing or shrinking as business declines. In the state of Victoria, claims over public liability, assault, dog bites, slip-falls and school accidents have dropped sharply and a total of 19 medical negligence claims were filed in the six months to April 29, down from “hundreds of claims two years before”. (Fergus Shiel, Melbourne Age, May 11). In the state of New South Wales, which includes Sydney, “The court’s Chief Judge, Reg Blanch, said statements of claim had fallen from a record 20,784 in 2001 to just under 8000 last year. …There are now only minor delays in bringing on a civil case, with the exception of motor vehicle claims, which require more documentation.” (Michael Pelly, “Lawyers in job void as claims drop”, Sydney Morning Herald, May 8). For more on the excesses which led to a public re-examination of “compensation culture” Down Under, see our Australia page.


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