find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Lawyer calls for compensation overhaul

Lawyer calls for compensation overhaul

The legal profession needs to help abolish a flawed compensation framework, argues lawyer Rob Bryden.

The legal profession needs to help abolish a flawed compensation framework, argues lawyer Rob Bryden

With the end of the Motor Accident Insurers Profit inquiry looming in the air, the window to make the must-needed changes to the NSW Medical Assessment Service (MAS) framework is very small. As far as I am concerned, it needs to be abolished for the good of the legal profession, the good of clients we serve and the good of the insurance industry.

The MAS system is fundamentally flawed and should be abolished. Decisions are made for our clients by medical practitioners in the employment of the Motor Vehicle Accidents Authority, which is a conflict of interest for those charged with making assessments, lacking the necessary independence for fear of losing their own livelihoods. Truly independent decision making is the fundamental basis of the rule of the law.

Within the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) (MAC Act), MAS fortunately has a limited role to play in the CTP Scheme: to assess the 10 per cent whole person impairment (WPI) threshold and certain other disputes. Lawyers are seeing seriously injured clients who get over the 10 per cent threshold having the decision constantly reviewed at the request of the insurers and overturned because the system is not truly independent.

The current Motor Accident Insurers Profit enquiry is too focused on the profits of insurers instead of the limited compensation benefits for those severely impacted by pain and suffering. The $500 each person pays in their annual green slip offers millions of dollars of coverage, which is very affordable and shows the system is generally well run by insurance companies, Motor Accidents Authority and the profession.

The real concern should be on the Government’s Lifetime Care & Support Scheme — which adds a massive $170 on every green slip — has very limited benefit to clients and is fraught by expensive bureaucratic overheads that do little to benefit the community.

Lawyers need to link up with insurer groups and convince the government to walk away from this costly system. We must lobby for change now before its too late and challenge the bureaucracy at work here. Our responsibility is to be vigilant for our clients’ interests to ensure the legal system we operate has fully independent decision making. We need to see the reintroduction of a truly independent decision making system for injured motorists and workers.

We need a review of the currently severe restrictions on injured workers’’ rights in a system where the rights play second fiddle to the bureaucratic expenses involved in sustaining it.

The Workers Compensation system in NSW needs a total review with consideration of allowing the efficient private insurers back into underwriting. This would significantly increase efficiency, reduce the massive overheads and premium pressure as well as allowing fairer benefits for injured workers. Lawyers in my field often struggle to get fair compensation for because they are not in the work place— such as pensioners, students or mothers at home.

The history of the system shows that private insurers do a far better job at a lower cost to the community compared with the present WorkCover bureaucracy. If injured workers are looked after better they are liable to get back to work quicker. At present they are starved back to work or they are their families are starving due to the limited benefits received. They may as well queue up at Centrelink.

The return of worker injury is also the responsibility of the private insurance industry in order to increase competition, improve efficiency and keep premiums competitive.

That is why I will continue to call on the NSW Government to develop a new policy to help the everyday working Australian.

Rob Bryden is a partner at Brydens Lawyers.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyer calls for compensation overhaul
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
Dec 11 2017
Warm welcome for new district court judges
Three practitioners who were appointed as district court judges in WA have been congratulated by ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...