Lead Article – December 2018


Trick or Treat?

You may have read an article last month in a state-wide newspaper concerning “claim farming”. Some of the figures quoted were rather alarming – for instance, a figure of $75 per year increase to the cost of CTP coverage for every vehicle in NSW was connected to “dodgy compensation claims”. The author cited his own experience of receiving a cold call following lodging a claim for minor vehicle damage. Apparently, once it was established that no personal injury had been sustained, the caller terminated the call abruptly. The story reminded me of the days of “ambulance chasers”, with which you are no doubt familiar.


In the same week, Bunnings announced a staff directive regarding the production of sausage sandwiches at their outlets. What a kerfuffle this caused! Everyone, from journalists across the board to the general public expressing their opinions in letters to the editor and on social media, had something to say. Largely, the whole situation was treated as comic relief, despite Bunnings seemingly having a genuine concern for the sausage-munching public.


My thoughts when considering both these stories immediately flew to the issue of vexatious personal injury claims. Claim farming obviously already has a foothold in our national insurance industry and likewise, we are all familiar with stories involving shoppers slipping on lettuce leaves, grapes and spilt liquid in the aisles of our supermarkets. I wondered how long it would take before we see potential litigants lining up at legal offices carrying an array of injuries purportedly sustained at the time of slipping on fried onions that, because they were placed incorrectly in the sausage sandwich, have led to a variety of maladies. Will we be faced with the prospect that this delicacy is banned, not only from Bunnings, but from polling booths, school fetes, fund raising tents outside supermarkets and all manner of other venues that could now be deemed “danger zones”?


Perhaps both our professions will see an increase in business as a direct result of this media frenzy. I seriously doubt that great satisfaction can be taken from this perceived possible advantage by either of our worlds. The path to medicolegal litigation can sometimes be winding – let us hope we do not also hit snags along the way.

Merry Christmas!

David Morgan