Professionals such as accountants, engineers and solicitors have a legal duty to complete their jobs ‘by the book’. If they fail to do so, and you suffer, then you may be entitled to compensation.
Whether it’s being pointed to a dodgy investment or being taken for a ride by a business advisor, nothing feels worse than being let down by a professional.
The big question is: what defines negligence in a professional context?
Here are some examples:
- Bad professional advice
- Misleading professional advice
- Errors in accounting
- Engineering mistakes
- Misrepresentation in Real Estate
- Wrong property evaluations
If you ticked off any of these, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Here are the things you need to prove in order to make a claim:
- The professional owed you a duty of care.
- They didn’t complete their job ‘by the book’
- Because of this negligence, you suffered a financial loss.
Compensation is paid by insurance companies and it’s the job of lawyers to find out who needs to be pursued, then put the claim forward in the best possible way. Most of these negligence claims are finalized within two years of a lawyer being engaged.
What you’ll need to gather and keep depends on the individual case of your professional negligence.
If you think you have a case, speak to a lawyer. They can help point you in the right direction when it comes to evidence gathering and pursuing legal action.
Regardless of whether a person is clumsy or has a skewed view of their own skills there are times in life when accidents and injuries happen that could be, in a court of law, deemed a result of obvious risk. Take, for instance, the case of Moor v Liverpool Catholic Club, an ice skating rink in Sydney where Moor’s lawyer argued that he was entitled to compensation for his injuries.
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The basic facts of the questioned incident are that Moor was wearing a pair of ice skating boots as he was about to begin skating. As Moor began to descend the stairs down to the ice rink he lost his footing and fell, fracturing his right ankle. The question that was then raised was is falling an obvious or inherent risk that comes with walking down stairs in ice skating boots.
When it came to working out whether walking down those stairs in ice skating boots was an obvious risk it was brought to the court’s attention that there was no warning or suggestion present from the actual club that doing such a thing would be dangerous. It was furthered argued that the fall wasn’t an obvious risk because CCTV footage showed that Moor wasn’t acting in a way that would’ve lead to a fall or injury, i.e. he was carefully walking down the stairs.
It might seem like an obvious risk to someone else that walking down a flight of stairs in a pair of shoes that aren’t made for walking could easily end badly, but the key to Moor receiving compensation was that the club hadn’t provided any warning or information to suggest that such a practice was dangerous. In the end, Moor received over $100,000 in compensation.
For information on achieving a successful compensation claim, see Being Honest to Get the Best Results: What You Need to Know About Workers Compensation.
With over a100,0000 peopleworking in Sydney a psychiatric injury can be the undoing for any worker, whether it’s from being involved in a harrowing robbery to working the front line as a police officer. The definition of worker’s compensation covers all types of injuries, not just the ones you can see like a broken leg, so obviously a matter like PTSD doesn’t need a lawyer to get a worker’s compensation claim fulfilled, does it?
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Joe Noonan is a former police officer suffering from PTSD after a series of very distressing incidents during the course of his time as a detective. He had a shotgun pointed at him in a situation where he genuinely feared for his life, he saw five deaths in one shift, he was shot at at close range, he was holding a colleague in his arms when they died of a gunshot to the head, along with many other situations that were either extremely distressing or that left him fearing for his life. If anyone’s entitled to compensation, it’d be Noonan, wouldn’t it?
Not so according to the County Court of Victoria and the Victorian WorkCover Authority. To receive compensation Noonan’s injuries would have to be classed as serious. Noonan argued that as a result of his job he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as depression, anxiety, panic disorder and nervousness, which all sounds like quite a handful. The judge found that Noonan’s symptoms couldn’t be considered severe enough to receive compensation as they didn’t meet the requirements of the severe injury test. But why?
The reason was that Noonan was quite a high-functioning person. His life now is quite good and he’s quite productive, which is what really what undid his case, though there is evidence that his experiences do still affect his life but it still wasn’t enough for the judge. Noonan attends to appeal this decision.
If you’d like to read more about worker’s compensation, check out How Facebook Can Kill Your Worker’s Compensation Claim.
There are plenty of places to gamble in Sydney but surely the people who choose to enter them and gamble are entirely responsible for any and all the money they lose? Is it just rubbish to try and argue that a casino made you lose all your money and get compensation for it? Whatever you think, one man tried to do exactly that.
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Harry Kakavas went to the High Court to argue that Crown Casino victimised him and made him lose 20 million dollars over a year. He claimed that the casino knew he had a gambling problem and that they offered him incentives to go there, including the use of a private jet.
Kakavas could be classed as a high-roller, a businessman on the Gold Coast who would often make a turnover of about one and a half billion dollars. The life blood of casinos are high-rollers and so plenty of incentives are used to encourage them to come back time after time. Not only was Kakavas given private jet rides to take him from the Gold Coast to Crown Casino in Melbourne, he was also given free luxury accommodation, gift boxes of cash and one and a half million dollars in credit. That’s certainly a lot to just get one man down to play at the tables.
Originally he tried to argue a negligence claim against the casino but when that looked like it would fail he changed his argument to one regarding poor treatment of a consumer by breaching consumer laws. However, from Crown’s side they didn’t do anything wrong. They may have allegedly been aware of Kakavas gambling problem and history of law proceedings against other casinos but he did present to the casino each time as a man who could afford to gamble and, more importantly, afford to lose large amounts of money. He would often come to the casino and place initial deposits of up to a million dollars.
As a result of this appearance of capability, the High Court decided that there was not enough premeditated or predatory behaviour to suggest that Crown Casino had actually gone out of its way to get such a large sum of money off Kakavas. To be realistic, he was the one accepting the incentives and deciding to continue to gamble.
It’s not just casinos that get drawn into gambling-related compensation cases, have a read of A Gamble on Love: The Not So Happily Married Couple Could Find Themselves in Family Court if They Win Big on Lotto to find out more.
It’s hard to ignore the debate that arises every now and again in the media about police chases. There are advocates who believe that if police can’t engage in high-speed pursuits then the entire of Sydney will be swamped with criminals, while others argue that the chases are too dangerous. Whatever side of the fence you are on you can’t deny that if someone were to be injured in a police chase then they should be duly compensated. You don’t have to be a lawyer to figure that one out.
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At the start of this year Susan Delaney was awarded more than nine million dollars in compensation after a high-speed pursuit in 2006 left her with brain injuries that have severely affected her ability to function and have a normal life.
The chase lasted 40 kilometres after police noticed that a motorcyclist was a member of the outlaw motorcycle gang Odin’s. This motorcyclist was Delaney’s then-boyfriend and she was sitting on the back of the motorcycle.
The chase only came to an end when the motorcycle crashed, resulting in Delaney’s boyfriend dying.
The main reason it took so long for Delaney to receive compensation was the existence of arguments that suggested that she had in some way contributed to the accident. There were also arguments that asked why she didn’t get off the motorbike at some point before the fatal crash.
However, this also proved to be the crux of the defendant’s argument.
In court Delaney argued that the police hadn’t even realised she was on the motorbike at all during the chase. Perhaps if she’d somehow been taunting or egging on police than she would’ve contributed to the accident but as they were unaware of her presence it could be seen that Delaney was entirely passive in the matter.
Delaney’s entire focus was on staying alive – she hadn’t wanted to enter this chase but had been pulled along into it.
Susan Delaney’s case will prove to be a landmark case in the realm of police chases and contributory negligence. In any other sort of incident she’d simply be seen as being in the wrong place at the wrong time but the circumstances of the case made details and evidence murky to say the least.
If you’re interested in learning more about compensation cases see How Victims Compensation Could Work for You.