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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.

Sending a big thank you to Christian Foyle! - Such friendly & professional service.....Sorting legal documents is not a few of our favourite things! All of our questions were clearly answered, great advice given , so we confidently left with the documents signed, sealed & delivered in just one appointment- an extremely pleasant surprise. Happy to recommend Foyle Legal to everyone 😊read more
Cheryl Lennox
Cheryl Lennox
2019-05-23T12:43:11+0000
Christian Foyle was extremely helpful and helped me to get the best result in my workers compensation claim. Foyle Legal helped me at a WorkCover WA conciliation conference and I would have had a hard time doing it myself.read more
Chris Stevens
Chris Stevens
2019-05-13T02:50:16+0000
Foyle legal is by far the best legal service I have ever come across they went above and beyond for me. I had an extremely complicated case and they were there by my side the whole way. I had the best outcome with EXTREMELY fair prices!! Look no further then foyle legal. A++++++read more
Chloe Teresa
Chloe Teresa
2019-04-13T02:54:17+0000
I found Foyle Legal to be very professional and they met what I expected. I would be happy to recommend them to anyone I know who needs a personal injury lawyer. The workers compensation process was not what I expected and they helped a lot.read more
Teresa Culpin
Teresa Culpin
2019-03-19T06:04:59+0000
I came to see Foyle Legal because I was not sure how much my workers compensation claim was worth. They helped me to negotiate a settlement of my claim and I think I am sure the best possible outcome. These guys are worth contacting if you have any queries. Iread more
Brian Heberley
Brian Heberley
2019-01-14T03:32:30+0000
I was very happy as Foyle Legal got me almost double the amount I was expected for my foot amputation work injury.read more
Tim Martin
Tim Martin
2018-10-31T08:11:34+0000
I did not know what to do with my stress related Workers compensation claim. Foyle Legal helped me to get reports from my GP and a psychiatrist. They provided me with as lot of help preparing statements. I am happy I had their representation as i was very stressed and i am happy with the way things turned out.read more
Liliana Andri
Liliana Andri
2018-09-26T04:16:01+0000
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
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