On a strict reading of Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) (‘the Act’), while the Act does not apply to dust-related injuries (such as Silicosis), it was open to interpretation that the Act does apply to secondary injuries (such as psychological conditions which arise from the dust-related condition).
This literal interpretation created an anomalous situation where a claim for a terminally ill plaintiff could be delayed until the pre-court procedures under the Act were completed in relation to the secondary injury only. Unnecessary costs were being incurred because legal representatives needed to apply to Court for orders dispensing away with the requirements to comply with the Act.
Her Honour Bowskill J, in taking a logical approach to the intention of the Act, has ruled that the Act does not apply to secondary psychological injuries (and arguably secondary injuries in general) which arise from a dust-related condition.
This case has ramifications for personal injuries lawyers and the insurance industry, as the door is now open to adopt a similar approach to other claims in which the Act does not apply to the primary condition/injury but does apply to secondary conditions/injuries.
List Member Dr Katrina Kluss appeared for the successful applicant, led by Mr Michael Grant-Taylor QC.