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The Personal Injury Commission (the Commission) commenced on 1 March 2021 and, with it, the publication of the majority of decisions issued by the Commission.

To help you navigate the recent decisions of the Motor Accidents Division (MAD) of the Personal Injury Commission, we are publishing weekly the relevant headnotes of published decisions with a link to the decisions on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.
All legislative provisions are from the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 unless otherwise noted.

Settlement approval

Brown v AAI Limited t/as GIO [2021] NSWPIC 106

MOTOR ACCIDENTS – Claims assessment – Settlement approval under s 6.23 if the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (the Act) - claimant was not employed at the time of accident – liability admitted – WPI assessed at not greater than 10% - claimant had a significant pre-accident medical history – claimant certified ‘unfit for work’ at the time of accident – buffer for future economic loss - claimant had ‘assistance’ but not legal representation -  settlement approved – no allowance for costs.

The claimant was 59 years old at the date of accident. He sustained a number of physical injuries, the most problematic of which was to the left shoulder, and psychological sequalae. He had a lengthy pre-accident medical history which included injuries to the right knee, left elbow, left ankle and fibula, gout, depression and alcohol dependence. At the time of the accident he was on the waiting list for a right knee replacement and was certified unfit for work.

Finding: Settlement was approved in the amount of $171,680. The claimant ‘received assistance’ for his claim from Mr John Pannucio of Compensation Claims Australia. However, because Mr Panuccio is not a legal practitioner, the claimant was not entitled to cover the costs of legal representation. Disbursements were allowed.

This case serves as a reminder that insurers should verify that persons purporting to represent claimants are qualified solicitors or barristers. In cases in which they are not, there should be no allowance for costs, and settlement will need to be approved pursuant to s 6.23 of the Act.

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