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Brisbane firm urges QLD to resist 'brutal' compo changes

Brisbane firm urges QLD to resist 'brutal' compo changes

Mark O'Connor

A Brisbane law firm has urged the Queensland government not to copy the compensation laws for motor vehicle injuries currently being planned in New South Wales, saying they will “devastate” victims’ lives.

The NSW government recently declared plans to overhaul its compulsory third-party insurance scheme.

Injury compensation law specialist from Bennett & Philp Lawyers Mark O’Connor said under the proposed changes, most people injured on the roads will face losing their common law rights to sue insurance companies for ongoing medical costs and lost wages.

Mr O’Connor said they would also lose their rights to any legal representation to challenge a disputed assessment of their insurance claim.

Mr O’Connor urged the Queensland government not to be influenced by the “nightmare scenario” in the neighbouring state.

“Under the NSW plan so many people are just going to be thrown on the scrapheap, it defies belief,” he said.

Mr O’Connor noted that the overhaul would only permit a minority of motorists who are most seriously injured to retain common law entitlements to lump sum compensation payments and legal representation.

Others with less serious injuries would be given limited statutory benefits to income replacement and medical benefits for a maximum of five years, he said.

“The great majority of injured motorists who suffer less serious injuries, which can still prevent them from returning to work, will have to fend for themselves under the planned changes,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Media reports say they will no longer be able to claim for a lump sum payment for future expenses and income loss. They will be cut from the defined benefits scheme after five years.

"What’s especially unfair and disturbing is that under the new laws, almost no one will have the right to a solicitor if they challenge a disputed assessment of their claim.”

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