Personal injury law firms in Queensland need to comply with specific legislation that outlines specific regulations for resolving injury claims. Commonly called PIPA, the laws within this Act regulate how personal injury lawyers can market their business and how injury claims are managed.
In this piece, we will explore an overview of the Personal Injury Proceedings Act and how it has helped injured people in Queensland.

 

How is a ‘personal injury’ defined?

Personal injuries can concern physical or psychological harm or damage. These categories are broad, and there are many circumstances where someone can have a personal injury claim. For example, suppose someone has been involved in a bicycle accident and sustained a spinal injury and broken leg – two harmful physical injuries. As a result of the crash, the same person also developed severe stress and anxiety – two equally serious psychological injuries.

 

What is the Personal Injury Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) – PIPA?

Now, imagine how many accidents and injuries occur in Australia daily! Wouldn’t it be convenient to have an appropriate balance between the benefits and costs of insurance premiums and ensure injured people receive adequate compensation? Luckily, Queensland Parliament beat us to this idea in 2002 by introducing a particular legislative method called the Personal Injury Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld). This legislation is often called “PIPA” and is used to govern the process of personal injury claims and how personal injury lawyers are allowed to describe their legal services. In Queensland, it’s essential to know that PIPA applies to all personal injury claims except in cases governed by separate legislation, such as motor vehicle accidents and workplace injuries. The following Acts regulate these types of accidents:

  • Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld)
  • Motor Vehicles Insurance Act 1936 (Qld)
  • Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld)
  • WorkCover Queensland Act 1996 (Qld)

 

Where did PIPA originate?

The introduction of PIPA aimed to facilitate the ongoing affordability of insurance through appropriate and sustainable awards of damages for personal injury. Before the collapse of HIH insurance and the terrorist attacks in New York on 11 September 2001, there was data that public liability insurance premiums were on the rise. The insurance industry was heavily impacted during these events, and consequently, public liability insurance premiums increased significantly (in some cases, up to 1000%). These massive premium hikes affected the viability of not-for-profit organisations and several small businesses, especially tourism operators. Although many factors contributed to insurance premium increases, Governments across Australia responded with a range of targeted legislation to contain the problem. This legislation included PIPA, which reduced the costs of legal proceedings by outlining a rigid process with which claimants must comply before legal proceedings proceed to Court.

 

How is PIPA applied in the real world?

While it’s fascinating to understand the history of personal injury law, it’s equally as fascinating to see some instances where the courts have applied PIPA. Under section 27(1)(b) of the Act, a claimant is entitled to ask a defendant for “evidence that is in the respondent’s custody about the circumstances of, or the reasons for, the incident”. In other words, the party accused of causing a personal injury must cooperate with the party seeking compensation by providing information related to the claim.

The courts considered this section of PIPA in a case called Haug v Jupiters Limited. This case involved Ian Haug, the guitarist of the famous Australian rock band Powderfinger. Haug pursued legal action against Jupiters Casino in Brisbane after he was injured in an altercation with security personnel. Haug requested detailed security information from the casino of “the identifying description of all cameras which filmed the incident and where they were located”. The Queensland Court of Appeal decided that this request was “not about the circumstances of, or reasons for, the incident” as required by the disclosure obligations under section 27. Instead, the Court found this information related to “matters of security-relevant to [the casino’s] proper functioning. These days turned out nothing like Haug had planned, and he was ordered to pay the casino’s legal costs.

Haug might have had his happiness creep back if he had known about Splatt Lawyers. Our ‘No Win No Fee’ funding policy means our clients will only be charged legal fees and outlays if their claim is successful – there is no risk to our client’s financial situation. Imagine you have been hurt in a car, workplace, or public place accident. In that case, personal injury accredited specialist lawyers right by your side will help alleviate the emotional and financial pressure of pursuing a personal injury claim.