Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

2015/16 Annual Report

The Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Committee members are a combination of plaintiff and insurer firms’ representatives. The Committee convenes on a monthly basis. In the past year the Committee was involved in a variety of matters which affect compensation and damages.

The Committee participated in a review of WorkCover WA’s evaluation of the Conciliation and Arbitration Services. The review was led Professor Tania Sourdin of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation at Monash University. The Committee provided feedback to WorkCover on the new Standard Orders and Practice Directions and other practice related issues through its two representatives on WorkCover’s Conciliation and Arbitration Users’ Group. The Committee continues to exchange information on the WorkCover services and procedures.

The Committee was pleased to consider the Limitation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse Actions) Bill 2015 which seeks to remove the limitation period for person injury claims by victims of child sexual abuse. The Committee had previously lobbied the Western Australian Government to amend the Limitation Act 2005 (WA) to follow our New South Wales and Victoria counterparts. Both States amended their legislation in late 2015 and early 2016 to abolish the limitation period for personal injury claims.

The Committee made a submission to the Minister for Health in relation to the procedures by which public hospitals seek to recover monies from compensable patients. The Committee will review the Health Services Act 2016 (WA) to determine whether the new legislation clarifies their concerns raised in its submissions.

Other activities include:

• submissions to the Law Reform Commission of WA in relation to the Provisional damages and damages for gratuitous services – Project 106 Discussion Paper;
• meeting with Commissioner for Victims of Crime, with a view to establishing a relationship between the legal profession and the Victims of Crime Reference Group;
• reviewing the Insurance Council of Australia’s ‘A Best Practice Workers Compensation Scheme’ Report;
• considering the proposal by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to modernise certain aspects of the processes for publishing WA legislation; and
• considering percentage based contingency fees proposal.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au