January 5th, 2017 by Maree Lane
November 8th, 2016 by Maree Lane
COMPENSATION ON THE CARDS FOR FESTIVAL STAMPEDE VICTIMS
Injured and traumatised Falls Festival patrons left reeling after a stampede at the Lorne music event on 30 December last year may have grounds for compensation.
Maddens Lawyers, in Warrnambool, has been speaking with a number of festival patrons who were witness to, and caught up in the drama, which saw 19 people admitted to hospital and more than 60 people treated by on-site paramedics.
The firm is encouraging any other patrons left injured or traumatised by the incident to register their details with the firm as it investigates the details.
Maddens Lawyers Class Action principal Brendan Pendergast said early investigations pointed to site design being at the heart of the late-night catastrophe.
“Entrances and exits to the venue in question, barricades surrounding walkways, even the material on the walkways themselves… these were all conditions that were well outside the control of festival patrons.
“These revellers purchased their tickets to, and attended, the Falls event in good faith that their safety, health and wellbeing would be preserved,” Mr Pendergast said.
He urged anyone injured in, or traumatised by what happened in and outside the festival’s Grand Theatre tent on 30 December to contact Maddens Lawyers as soon as possible.
“Contacting us doesn’t instigate legal action, or mean that a patron has engaged a lawyer. It’s how we can assess the extent of the pain and suffering caused by this event, and the best grounds on which to pursue legal action and compensation on behalf of those affected.
“Registering isn’t necessarily a commitment to take action – at this early stage, it’s an excellent way to remain informed about the progress of our investigations and remain across what options are in relation to legal action and compensation,” Mr Pendergast explained.
“Registering with Maddens is free and it’s certainly not an obligation to take action – we see it as the best way for victims to be kept informed of the latest information.”
Maddens Lawyers has successfully represented hundreds of victims of bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales since 1983. This includes south west Victorians affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and, more recently, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Mr Pendergast directed anyone affected by the Falls Festival stampede to visit maddenslawyers.com.au to register their details.
November 19th, 2015 by Maree Lane
A south west law firm already has a register of more than two hundred sexual abuse victims likely to apply for compensation via the recently-announced institutional sexual abuse redress scheme.
The Federal Government has announced it will establish a dress scheme for victims of child institutional sexual abuse. The scheme was a key recommendation form the child sex abuse Royal Commission.
Maddens’ Personal Injury Law Specialist Gary Foster has been lobbying for more than 12 months for such a scheme. He already has a register of well over two hundred victims of sexual abuse – many from the south west – whose claims will name a variety of churches, schools and other institutions.
Mr Foster, who leads the firm’s Personal Injury department, said the redress scheme would be welcomed by thousands of victims across Australia, as it was likely to do away with a lot of the legal impediments and trauma associated with traditional avenues of compensation through the Courts.
“Victims have been through more than enough without having to get ‘beaten up’ in Courts by institutions seeking to protect their reputation or assets,” he said.
Anyone seeking to register for the redress scheme should contact Gary Foster at Maddens Lawyers, either by clicking here, or phoning 1800 815 228.
NEW LAWS TO MAKE SPINAL INJURY COMPENSATION MORE ACCESSIBLE
Western Victoria’s most experienced personal injury lawyer has applauded pending new laws that will make it easier for spinal injury sufferers to claim compensation for their impairment.
The Victorian Parliament is due to enact the Wrongs Amendment Bill 2015, which will modify a range of inequities in Victoria’s personal injuries legislation.
Gary Foster, an Accredited personal injury law specialist with Maddens Lawyers, said the changes to the Victorian Wrongs Act included lifting what was known as the spinal injury ‘impairment threshold’, making it easier for people injured in a public place or due to medical negligence to meet criteria for compensation.
“Previously, the Wrongs Act dictated that a person with a spinal injury could only claim compensation for pain and suffering if their injury resulted in what was medically assessed as more than five per cent permanent physical impairment,” he explained.
Mr Foster said changing the legislation from ‘more than’ to ‘including’ five per cent was a much bigger deal than it may seem – and it would make compensation available to a large number of people who, previously, had to be told they didn’t qualify.
“The complexities of the compensation system mean the medical ‘rating’ of an impairment increases in five per cent increments – the impact of a spinal injury is determined as either five per cent impairment, or 10% impairment, or 15% and so on.
“Until now, the legislation has determined a person with a spinal injury had to suffer ‘greater than five per cent’ impairment – effectively, a person had to suffer 10% impairment to be eligible for compensation. It excluded a whole range of injuries – and people – even though these people’s injuries were considerable and debilitating.
“By changing the legislation to include ‘five per cent impairment or more’ – even though it might seem a small thing – will make a huge difference to a great number of people who, until now, have had to accept that, according to the law, their suffering is not significant.”
Mr Foster added that the changes also made improved provisions for people who had suffered psychological injuries, also making it easier for them to claim compensation from those at fault.
“These changes are effectively about removing red tape in relation to compensation claims and making it more straight forward for the injured person to claim compensation. Previously, the Wrongs Act limited entitlements – this goes some way to rectifying that.”
Mr Foster encouraged anyone who had been injured in a public place, or as a result of medical negligence – whether it be spinal, psychological or otherwise – to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as the compensation process was governed by strict time limits.