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Transport accident law

Cover Story

Cite as: (2003) 77(10) LIJ, p.28

In light of the increasing complexity of conducting litigation in the field of transport accident law, the LIJ has devoted a Special Issue to this important area of practice

By Simon French, Secretary of the Litigation Lawyers’ Section

In light of the increasing complexity of conducting litigation in the field of transport accident law, it was felt that an LIJ Special Issue devoted to this area of practice was needed. Transport accident law is an increasingly specialised area of practice and one that can leave the unwary and/or unfamiliar solicitor ruing their lack of familiarity with the terrain. The articles contained in this Special Issue, compiled by the Law Institute Litigation Section’s Transport Accident Committee, provide keen insight into how solicitors may avoid such an uncomfortable eventuality. The committee consists of plaintiff and defendant solicitors who practise extensively in this area.

Author Marie Booth discusses pitfalls relating to the recovery of social security benefits, examines issues surrounding the recovery of benefits from compensated persons, and describes the advisory duties that are then placed on their solicitors.

The knotty issue of Accident Compensation Act and Transport Accident Act overlap is looked at by Robert Burdeu. He brings his considerable experience to bear to tease out the problems that practitioners face and offers them practical guidance.

Pru Connolly deals with the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment. She concentrates on a recent case litigated in the High Court, which serves to highlight how the Guides can produce anomalous results unless given a generous interpretation by the courts.

Michael Lombard and Fiona Ryan consider the particular issues that arise when bringing a claim on behalf of a child in the context of a transport accident. They look at limitation issues, the nature of the solicitor’s duty and at tactics for maximising the recovery of damages.

Of particular practical interest will be the articles dealing with interstate claims, death claims, the use of s49 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 and the overlap between the Accident Compensation Act and the Transport Accident Act. In her article, dealing with death claims, Geraldine Collins examines the various heads of entitlement that need to be considered in the event of a death claim in the context of a transport accident. Recent judicial activity in the area of interstate tort claims has served to simplify this traditionally complex area and Don O’Halloran offers some thoughts on the position following John Pfeiffer Pty Ltd v Rogerson. John Voyage examines recent decisions dealing with the obligations on respondents to disclose documents in the connection with cases before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The authors are to be congratulated for their excellent contributions.

Simon French
Secretary of the Litigation Lawyers’ Section
Sfrench@liv.asn.au

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