LAWYERS IN New South Wales have called on the people of Sydney suburb Marrickville to pressure their local candidates on the issue of tort reform in the lead up to a by-election this weekend.
In an unprecedented move, the NSW Law Society has taken out advertising in the by-election to protest at “draconian” changes to personal injury laws introduced by the State Government.
The decision to advertise in The Glebe newspaper came as a result of the Government’s lack of interest in the “mountain of evidence” that changes to personal injury compensation has literally added insult to injury for victims, said NSW Law Society president John McIntyre.
“This is an unprecedented move, but then, the circumstances surrounding our decision are also unprecedented,” he said. “Never before has a government been so disinterested when it comes to the plight of injured people.”
“Whether someone is hurt at work, at home, in a car accident or as a result of medical negligence, how they are compensated depends very often on who’s paying the bill. So two people with exactly the same injuries can get very different outcomes,” he said.
The Law Society is now aiming to put tort reform on the agenda, and is asking that Marrickville locals consider this issue when they go to the polls this Saturday. Residents should ask their local candidates what their policies on tort reform are, a spokesperson for the Law Society said.
“We are asking the people of Marrickville, before they cast their vote on 17 September, to ask candidates where they stand on this important issue,” said McIntyre. “The voters of Marrickville get their chance to have a say on the unfairness of the current system.”
The current system is “absolutely nonsensical”, said McIntyre. “It is broken and needs to be fixed. Victims are just asking for a fair go.” The Law Society claimed that evidence given to the Parliamentary Upper House Inquiry by victims has provided stark examples of the inconsistencies for the current system.
It argued that only the insurance industry benefited from personal injury laws. “While some of those injured are being denied proper compensation, major insurance companies continue to report record multi-billion dollar profits,” said McIntyre.