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Liability of More Than One Person – Understanding Proportionate Liability

In 2002, following the collapse of HIH Insurance and other disasters such as the World Trade Centre incident in 2001, insurance premiums became more expensive. Insurers claimed that compensation payments relating to insurance policies were becoming unaffordable. Following the Ipp review, legislatures around Australia passed Civil Liability Acts which were similar in content. The New

In 2002, following the collapse of HIH Insurance and other disasters such as the World Trade Centre incident in 2001, insurance premiums became more expensive. Insurers claimed that compensation payments relating to insurance policies were becoming unaffordable. Following the Ipp review, legislatures around Australia passed Civil Liability Acts which were similar in content.

The New South Wales Civil Liability Act 2002 and the West Australian Civil Liability Act 2002 both contain provisions about civil proportionate liability stating that in civil claims, other that personal injury claims, a defendant will only need to pay a plaintiff damages to the extent that that defendant is liable for loss. In the event that a plaintiff sues one liable person and not another, the plaintiff will only be able to recover to the extent that the defendant(s) in the action are found liable.

For Example:

Dean was involved in a car accident caused by two cars driven by Carl and Vince entering into an intersection on a red light. Both Carl and Vince were 50% liable for the accident.

Dean finds out that Carl is insured and owns three houses, while Vince is uninsured and has no cash or other assets.

Dean decides to sue for the property damage to his car. Prior to the proportionate liability laws coming into effect, Dean could sue Carl for the whole amount of his loss and would be successful in recovering the whole amount from Carl. After the proportionate liability laws were passed, if Dean only chose to sue Carl, he would only get 50% his loss. From a practical point of view, if he sued Vince, he would be successful in obtaining an order for the other 50% of his loss but could end up with a judgment that is difficult to enforce. It may be that the legal fees incurred in suing Vince are greater than the amount of money Dean is able to get from Vince.

No Win No Fee Lawyers

Our guarantee to all qualified personal injury clients is that we don’t charge upfront legal fee unless you receive an award. Once you successfully receive compensation, we will try our best to recover most of our legal fees from the insurer to minimise your out-of-pocket expense.

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In the recent High Court decision of Hunt & Hunt Lawyers v Mitchell Morgan Nominees Pty Ltd [2013] HCA 10 the High Court considered a New South Wales case where:

  • Fraud was committed by two men (the fraudsters), who forged business partner Mr Alessia Vella’s signature so as to secure loans from the first and second respondents (Mitchell Morgan). The mortgage could not be voided.
  • Negligent drafting by Mitchell Morgan’s legal representatives at Hunt & Hunt Lawyers resulted in the mortgage being worded to secure money owed by Mr Vella to Mitchell Morgan. As Mr Vella was the victim of fraud, and was therefore not liable to pay Mitchell Morgan, the mortgage did not secure anything.
  • The issue at trial was whether Hunt & Hunt were concurrent wrongdoers and were therefore only liable to pay the proportion of Mitchell Morgan’s loss that reflected their responsibility.

The majority in this case found that Hunt & Hunt were only partially liable, while the minority found that Hunt & Hunt were fully liable. Hunt & Hunt only had to pay 12.5% of the loss. It should be noted that the decision was a narrow 3 to 2 decision of the High Court and it is therefore possible that future cases may not be decided in the same way.

The provisions of the New South Wales Civil Liability Act 2002 are similar to Part 1F of the West Australian Civil Liability Act 2002. Claimants considering bringing an action, other than a personal injury action, where more than one other person could be liable should investigate into the other parties involved at an early stage, and adjust their expectations accordingly. If you need a Compensation lawyer in Perth, Foyle Legal provides obligation free claim assessment.

christian foyle

Foyle Legal

Protecting your interests!

Foyle legal is a Perth Law firm specialises in compensation law. It is one of the most trusted and fast growing personal injury law firm in Western Australia. The firm offers No Win No Fee legal representation for all personal injury claims. If you have made a personal injury claim, contact Foyle legal for an obligation free claim review. We help you to maximise your injury compensation payout.

christian foyle

Foyle Legal

Protecting your interests!

Foyle legal is a Perth Law firm specialises in compensation law. It is one of the most trusted and fast growing personal injury law firm in Western Australia. The firm offers No Win No Fee legal representation for all personal injury claims. If you have made a personal injury claim, contact Foyle legal for an obligation free claim review. We help you to maximise your injury compensation payout.

I underwent several years of being abused by passengers as a bus driver. Foyle legal helped mw to get the medical reports i needed in circumstances where my gp was slow in providing a report.read more
Karen Nevard
Karen Nevard
2018-08-30T06:49:54+0000
Just received my settlement check in time for Christmas. I couldn't thank Christian enough for his assistance with my injury claim. There lots of factors made my claim difficult but Christian and Foyle Legal team dealt with professionalism and understanding. I am happy with my settlement outcome, and would definitely use them again for my future injury claims.read more
Anthony Daniels
Anthony Daniels
2017-12-21T08:56:31+0000
I was injured at work and had a workers Compensation claim. Foyle Legal Were very helpful and always got back to me about my queries in a relatively short period of time which I think you would not get in a larger firm. They advised me about the settlement of my case and help me to get the most out of itread more
Vijay Sourinathan
Vijay Sourinathan
2017-12-20T02:53:28+0000
I had a bad work injury to my knee and needed surgery. The insurer refuse to pay for the cost of my surgery and I had to go through WorkCover WA for an acceptance of liability to pay for the surgery. Foyle legal helped me to get the medical evidence that I needed to take the matter towards a finalisation of my claim.read more
Roxann Campbell
Roxann Campbell
2017-11-14T08:27:49+0000
I went to another lawfirm before I went to Foyle legal. At the other lawfirm I was treated like a number, but it won't legal they help to pay for my medical expenses to get the most out of my work is compensation claim and I answered all of my questions.read more
Daniela Colantropo
Daniela Colantropo
2017-10-23T02:32:55+0000
I had a workers compensation claim and the insurer wanted to fight me about whether I was entitled to weekly payments of compensation. Foyle Legal helped me to get medical evidence regarding my case, they were quick and very helpful and provided excellent service in relation to my personal injury claim.read more
Suman Thilak
Suman Thilak
2017-09-22T05:29:20+0000
Christian from Foyle Legal was very helpful given my lack of knowledge of the law in respect of workers compensation claims and I ended up with a better result than I ever expected.read more
Paul Beard
Paul Beard
2017-07-13T08:58:07+0000
Christian Foyle and Foyle Legal helped me a lot with my workers compensation claim and the doctors report they obtained was really helpful. If it was not for them i dont think I could have pushed my claim as hard.read more
Ajak Kuer Ajak
Ajak Kuer Ajak
2017-03-29T03:51:32+0000
I had a workers compensation claim which Foyle Legal helped me with. They helped me with the medical reports i needed and gave me emotional support and I am happy with the outcome.read more
Lucinda Hogan
Lucinda Hogan
2017-03-29T02:02:07+0000
Christian Foyle from Foyle Legal helped me out with my workers compensation claim a lot. He was very professional, polite and courteous and very approachable. I am happy with the way Foyle Legal handled my claim and I got a fair outcome. Christian is one of the nicest people in legal services I have ever met.read more
Theresa Southam
Theresa Southam
2017-02-23T03:03:41+0000
The service I received from Foyle Legal was second to none. Christian was well informed and quick to reply. Very happy how the case progressed and with the settlement I received. I would highly recommend Foyle Legal.read more
Brendan Arthur
Brendan Arthur
2016-12-20T00:56:43+0000
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