The latest industry insights into compensation law.

If I make a personal injury claim, does that mean I am going to Court?

It is common for injured claimants to be under the misconception that if they decide to pursue a personal injury claim, that they will or are likely to find themselves in court.  The reality is quite the opposite, as only a very few personal injury cases proceed to a trial and there are a number of reasons for this.

There are three main pieces of legislation which govern personal injury claims in Queensland, being the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, and the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002.

One of the objectives of these Acts is to promote or to help facilitate the early resolution of claims to avoid the requirement for injured claimants to commence court proceedings.  For example, section 3 of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 lists a number of the Act’s objectives, with one being “to encourage the speedy resolution of personal injury claims resulting from motor vehicle accidents”.

In order to help facilitate these objectives, the Acts outline the various steps and procedures that injured claimants must take prior to being able to commence court proceedings against the party or parties at fault.  These steps are often referred to as the ‘pre-court procedures’.

One of the pre-court procedures requires the parties to the claim to attend a compulsory conference.  A compulsory conference involves the parties meeting to make a genuine attempt to resolve the claim.  At the conference, the parties will discuss the issues which are in dispute in the claim, which is often liability (who is at fault) and/or quantum (the value of the claim).

If the compulsory conference does not result in the resolution of the claim, it may then be necessary to commence court proceedings.  Despite this, there are still a number of opportunities for a claim to resolve prior to a trial.  It is common for the parties to reconvene closer to trial for a further settlement conference which is often held by way of a mediation.

In addition to these settlement conferences, the parties can make offers to resolve the claim at any time throughout the proceeding and they are not limited to resolving claims at settlement conferences.

Although the above Acts require parties to attend a compulsory conference to make a genuine attempt to resolve the claim prior to commencing court proceedings, it is not uncommon for injured claimants to be required to commence court proceedings in order to obtain an offer of settlement which is fair and reasonable.

In some rare instances, it is even necessary to proceed to a trial to obtain an outcome which may be unattainable during settlement negotiations.  A summary of the decision from a recent trial that our firm was involved in can be found here.  However, the significant majority of injured claimants never step foot in a court room, with approximately 98-99% of all personal injury claims resolving prior to a trial.

Having a team of experienced personal injury lawyers on your side will help you navigate the pre-court procedures and any offers of settlement which are made.  vbr Lawyers takes out the stress of the claims process and strives to provide our clients with guidance and support to make decisions which are in their best interests and which seek to maximise the value of their claim.

Daniel is an Associate in our Brisbane office with degrees in Business and Laws from QUT.
Greg is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading compensation law experts. Greg has a very healthy practice and enjoys providing his clients with superior personal service in every case. Greg is absolutely committed to achieving the best settlement outcomes for his clients while keeping the legal costs down.

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Your state has been updated to QLD. Practice areas on compensation law have been updated.