Coalition to introduce fairer laws for personal injury cases

• Coalition to improve access to compensation for personal injury victims
• Increased protection for victims
• Napthine Government building a better Victoria

A re-elected Coalition Government will introduce legislation into Parliament to reform the law relating to personal injuries.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the measures, contained in exposure draft legislation released today, are designed to address anomalies and inconsistencies in the law.

“These laws create fairer rules for people who are injured through the negligence of others,” Mr Clark said.

“The changes will offer increased protection while ensuring public liability and professional indemnity insurance remains affordable.”

The exposure draft gives effect to the Government’s response to recommendations from the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s review of the Wrongs Act that was commissioned by the Government.

The proposed changes include:
• a lower impairment threshold for access to damages for non-economic loss for claimants with psychiatric injuries, of greater than or equal to 10 per cent;
• an increase to the maximum amount of damages payable for non-economic loss, in line with the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act;
• a change to the way in which the cap on damages for economic loss is applied, to ensure that high income earners are not unfairly disadvantaged;
• providing a limited entitlement for damages for loss of capacity to care for others; and
• a power for the court to stay a proceeding in respect of a claim for damages for non-economic loss in cases where the claimant has not served a Certificate of Assessment on the respondent.

The proposed legislation does not include measures relating to VCEC’s recommendations regarding spinal injuries, to which the Government is giving further consideration.

The Government did not accept a further VCEC recommendation that would have reduced the damages that can be claimed for certain motor vehicle injuries.

The exposure draft is available on the Department of Justice website: www.justice.vic.gov.au. Submissions on the draft are sought by 5 December 2014.