BUSHFIRE COMPENSATION EXPERTS LAUNCH CARWOOLA BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

BUSHFIRE COMPENSATION EXPERTS LAUNCH CARWOOLA BUSHFIRE CLASS ACTION

The lawyers that have previously secured millions in compensation for bushfire victims have launched a class action on behalf of those affected by the 17 February 2017 Carwoola bushfire.

Regional Victorian firm Maddens Lawyers has issued proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court against Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd, on behalf of residents and business owners burnt out by the Carwoola bushfire of 17 February this year.

The Carwoola bushfire burnt an area of approximately 3,500 hectares, destroying 11 houses and 45 outbuildings. A further 12 homes along with additional outbuildings were also badly damaged. The lawyer leading the class action has speculated a claim bill in excess of $15 million.

Madden’s Senior Partner Brendan Pendergast explained that the proceedings, issued in the New South Wales Supreme Court, allege the Carwoola fire started on private property in the course of an Advanced Plumbing employee undertaking work involving the use of a power cutting wheel that caused the discharge of sparks.

Mr Pendergast said that 17 February 2017 was a total fire ban day in the Carwoola region. “The conditions on the day were hot, dry and windy. The use of steel cutting equipment in these weather conditions, and on a rural property, carries with it a significant bushfire risk. Our preliminary inquiries indicate that appropriate precautions were not put in place to eliminate or reduce that risk.”

Mr Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim funds their insurance policies did not cover.

“Maddens has extensive experience in representing bushfire victims. We are acutely aware of the emotional and economic impact a bushfire can have on people.”

“We’ve successfully settled class actions for four different communities that were burnt out during the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7 2009. We have also represented hundreds of bushfire victims impacted by the October 2013 Springwood/Winmalee bushfire and secured millions of dollars of compensation for losses that occurred as a result of that fire” he explained.

“Quite simply, Carwoola residents have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed. There is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did.

“There is every reason for them to ask the question of what they are due, because it is what they deserve.”

Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd have until 26 May 2017 to file a defence to the proceeding.

The firm has also issued a separate class action proceeding in the New South Wales Supreme Court arising out of the Tarago/Currandooley bushfire which commenced on 17 January 2017 and caused extensive property damage.

Mr Pendergast urged any residents or business owners interested in knowing the options available to Carwoola bushfire victims to contact Maddens Lawyers tollfree on 1800 139 290, or by registering online at maddenslawyers.com.au.

CLASS ACTION FOR VICTIMS OF THE 17 JANUARY 2017 CURRANDOOLEY FIRE

MADDENS LAWYERS ISSUE CLASS ACTION FOR VICTIMS OF THE 17 JANUARY 2017 CURRANDOOLEY FIRE

Today Maddens Lawyers filed a class action against Infigen Energy Limited (Infigen) on behalf of land owners affected by the 17 January 2017 Currandooley Fire.

The fire was caused when a crow connected with overhead electrical infrastructure, caught alight and dropped into dry foliage underneath a powerline that transfers electricity from Infigen’s Woodlawn Windfarm to a substation at their Capital Wind Farm on the property known as Currandooley.

The fire burnt approximately 3,400 hectares completely destroying 1 residence, numerous sheds, hundreds of livestock as well as cars, fencing, trees and pasture.

The Statement of Claim Maddens have filed on behalf of lead plaintiffs Fred Kuhn and Liz Stewart of Mount Fairy alleges that Infigen was aware of the risk that a bird strike to its high voltage electrical infrastructure could cause a fire. It was aware of numerous previous similar incidents but failed to take appropriate steps to address the risk until after the fire.

The firm’s Class Action Principal, Brendan Pendergast, said “Infigen failed to exercise reasonable care and to address this very serious issue until after the fire.”

33 individual claimants from 22 fire affected properties have instructed Maddens Lawyers to seek compensation for their fire loss and damage. Maddens are aware of a further 6 properties which were fire affected but are yet to receive instructions from their owners.

Mr Pendergast explained that the matter has been referred the NSW Coroner and that Maddens Lawyers will seek leave to appear before the Coroner to represent the fire victims in the event that a full coronial inquiry is conducted.

Mr Pendergast who has attended several community meetings conducted at Tarago explained “there is a diversity of support for the presence of wind farms in the area amongst local landowners. The point here is the compelling fact whether you support the wind farms or not this fire could have been avoided by a simple and inexpensive design modification to the configuration of the lines and by institution of the fire mitigation steps that have now been completed post fire”. Mr Pendergast went on to say “it is regrettable that these simple steps were not taken sooner. If that had been done this fire would not have occurred.”