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Personal injury lawyer providing Q & A on 2GB discussing compensation claims – 20 October 2020

Our Sydney's personal injury lawyer discussing compensation claims – 20 October 2020


DK – Deborah Knight/TF – Dennis Kim /C1,2,3, etc – Callers 


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Read the transcription below:

 DK      Turner Freeman Lawyers join us this time every week to talk legal matters, if you’ve got a question for them 131 873 is the number to call and as always we’ve got our $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the best call, 131 873. Dennis Kim is a personal injury lawyer with Turner Freeman in Sydney and he’s on the line for us now. Dennis thanks for joining us.

TF       Not a worry, how are you?

DK      Yeah, good, good. Now I’ll get to the calls in a moment but I came across a very interesting article the other day about what happens when a self-driving car is involved in an accident, and there are lots of questions about who’s responsible, what are the rights, what are the parties involved. Do existing laws around motor vehicle accidents take into account self-driving cars?

TF       Look, they don’t, not at the moment, I mean the way that it’s set up at the moment and I think it doesn’t have to only because in Australia my understanding is cars aren’t completely driverless, in that they require the human driver to have either their hands on the wheel or be able to take over at a moment’s notice, so in those circumstances you’d still be looking at whether the driver should be held accountable and liable for any accidents which were in their control to avoid cause they’re meant to be keeping attention still and take over if required. I mean it will be very interesting to see when cars become completely driverless and completely automated, that will be, that will then require the law to change. In cases now, where it’s a defect of a vehicle which causes the accident and not the fault of the driver, then that’s a product liability claim that you’re making against the manufacturer, so in a way yes the current law is set up to deal with it but not quite yet, because the technology hasn’t been applied to that level in Australia.

DK      Because that’s the thing isn’t it, often the law is well behind technological change.

TF       That’s right.

DK      And it will have to catch up when it does come to the situation which it probably will one day, where we’re robots and artificial intelligence will be what is in control of vehicles.

TF       Well that’s right and I mean it’s quite interesting because if you think about it there will be some very interesting ethical things for the law to decide on and that will dictate the programming of the avoidance software I guess, if you had the choice between colliding into a tree and swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian or you hit the pedestrian but at lower speeds to protect the driver, what is the overarching requirement of the software. I mean there’s going to be a lot of questions, very interesting ethical ones and legal ones.

DK      Yeah, absolutely. You might have a call that you want an answer to, Dennis Kim, personal injury lawyer with Turner Freeman 131 873. Margaret’s called in with a question for Dennis. Hi, Margaret.

Caller No: 1    Margaret

C1       Hi Deb, hi Dennis, love your show.

DK      Thank you.

C1       I had a bad fall at a back of a supermarket and it was where a bollard used to be and they never cut the screws down to the ground, now I thought it might have been the land of the person of the supermarket but I found out it was the government land and I can’t find no one to fight it. Now I’ve got to have a pin put in my toe.

DK      Oh dear, that doesn’t sound good Margaret. Any help for Margaret, Dennis?

C1       I went in and reported it to them but they didn’t seem to do much about it.

TF       Right okay, look Margaret happy to look into that with you and I’ll give you a call after the show, important questions will be whether or not the screw was something which could be seen by somebody reasonably or whether it was a hidden defect and also whether notice had been given to the council about it being a risk, but happy to go over all of that in detail with you after the show.

DK      Yeah, Margaret, if you can stay on the line we’ll get your details and we’ll pass them onto Dennis and just remind us too, because this is the thing isn’t it with personal injury claims, there is a time limit isn’t there.

TF       There is, it’s flexible time limits, for most claims it’s a flexible time limit of three years from the date it was discoverable to the plaintiff that they were injured, that their injury was severe enough to take legal action and that the injury was the fault of somebody. So in some cases it won’t be for a few years after the actual accident that those three things become discoverable, it does vary in different cases and the court can forgive you and give you time extensions but it’s always best to get it in within time. Three years being the standard to go by.

DK      Yeah, three years being the parameter to sort of stick by, and it’s great to have your company here on afternoons 12 minutes to 2 to 1 in Queensland, if you’ve got a question we are talking legal matters with Dennis Kim from Turner Freeman Lawyers, if you’ve got a question now’s your chance for some free legal advice 131 873 is the number, we’re looking at personal injury law, you might have suffered an injury, a fall and you think you  might have some rights to compensation but you’re not sure about it, call in now 131 873. Dennis we were talking about self-driving cars before the break but in terms of motor vehicle accidents more broadly, I know a lot of the disputes they usually resolve between insurance companies but at what point do you need to look at engaging lawyers.

TF       The matters which involve injury to the person basically, they’re the ones that you should be getting legal advice about especially at the beginning of the claim when you’re filling out the claim form, there’s many pitfalls for claimants and so it’s good just to have a lawyer to assist you with that, make sure you haven’t missed out any critical details and also to get some advice on time limits, for motor vehicle accidents it is still three years to lodge the court proceedings, but to get what’s called statutory benefits for things like income loss or treatment expenses, you’re meant to be getting your claim form in within twenty eight days of the actual accident and if not then at least within three months of the accident and if not then you need to have a good reason and to set it out in a Stat Dec, so all good reasons to get some legal advice straight off when you’ve been injured.

DK      I guess that beggars the question too though, because you know you might be involved in an accident, you might feel fine but you develop a pain, a back pain or you know some sort of pain a few months down the track, that twenty eight day time limit though, can you over ride that if the injury is apparent further down the track.

TF       That is a very good point, yes and that goes to the reasonable explanation for delay to excuse you for the late submission of the claim, so yes, especially if it’s been documented when you go to the doctor and say look I was in this car accident, it was maybe three/four months ago and I only started to hurt around now and nothing else has happened since then etc, etc and that’s all documented and supports your application, then yes that is all considered.

DK      And obviously with the having proof of what’s occurred, so many people have got cameras on their cars, that sort of evidence is pretty invaluable isn’t it?

TF       Yes, definitely.

DK      Yeah, alright 131 873, Peter’s got a question . Hi, Peter.

Caller No: 2    Peter

C2       Hi, yeah just to give you an example, I had a motor vehicle damaged on a road that was in a council area, when I first got the damage I contacted the roads and transport, they couldn’t have been more helpful, said we’d get a crew on it and go to this website, you may be able to make a claim for the damage to the vehicle, then they contacted me back and said no it’s a council road, and the council basically treated me extremely shabbily, I had the witnesses in the car because it was a hire care, they gave me their details, I took photographs of the huge hole that was in the road and the car was severely damaged, enough to push the rear axle back where the wheel was hitting the part of the car, so that was my business and I couldn’t operate whilst it was in that condition, so I had to get it repaired, took photographs of the area, of the car, got a report from my mechanic, the long and short of it is, I basically ran out of steam with writing to the council and they said to me look if we knew that road was in that condition before, we’d accept liability but they referred to me some council’s act, that because they weren’t aware of it and they probably wouldn’t know which contractor caused the damage to the road, that they said they had no, I had no recourse with them.

DK      Well let’s see if Dennis has got any recourse you might be able to take up, Dennis?

TF       Sure, look at first off that sounds like a commercial or a property dispute more than a personal injury one but we have lawyers that can help with that and they’ll get your details afterwards to pass you onto them, in terms of notice in council, if it’s the same principles which apply to personal injury matters then the council is correct in pointing out that they need to have had either actual notice or constructive notice, meaning that they ought to have known because the relevant people were informed of the defect in the road and that law protecting the council in personal injury matters anyways is because council can’t be expected to know and be aware of absolutely every hole in every road and every footpath, so if somebody has put them on notice about it, it’s been logged by the relevant parties, then they are liable if something actually happens. It is very tough for that reason.

DK      It’s a real chicken and egg though isn’t it, because you know, if someone suffers an injury because of it they’re letting them know but then they’re not able to get any compensation.

TF       It’s quite harsh because unless someone’s let them know before that injury, they could escape liability. It is quite a harsh rule, councils are quite protected in that way.

DK      Yeah, alright Peter, worth investigating, stay on the line we’ll get your details tough, and Steve a quick one from you.

Caller No; 3    Steve

C3       Yeah I was in a supermarket, I had a sense something was coming up behind, I turned around in time to have one of those really tall shelf trolleys slam into me, I was knocked out, I came to, I was helped up to the manager’s office, ambulances were called, I’ve had a sustained neck injury since then and knee injury as a result of it. I requested a copy of the through my solicitors and it’s a big well known supermarket chain, I requested a copy of the CCTV footage because my lawyer got to the fact that they were skylarking, there were two of them racing each other with these big shelf stacking trolleys.

DK      Steve I might.. I think you’re gonna definitely have some recourse here, I’m going to put you in contact with Dennis because I’m sure he wants to investigate it, time is against us unfortunately but Steve if you can stay on the line, I’ll put you through to Dennis and Dennis if you can follow that up with it that would be much appreciated.

TF       Sure thing Deb.

DK      Good on you, Dennis Kim there from Turner Freeman Lawyers. If you want to get in touch with them, Dennis or any of the lawyers visit or call 13 43 63.


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