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Thread: Qld Lifesavers Sued

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    Default Qld Lifesavers Sued

    FFS.....litigation gone mad IMHO. Whats going on with society?

    May be paywalled

    Queensland lifesavers sued by the very people they are rescuing
    Peter Hall, The Courier-Mail
    August 12, 2017 12:00am
    Subscriber only

    SURF lifesavers are being sued by the very people whose lives they are saving.

    In the ultimate insult to our heroes of the surf, The Courier-Mail can reveal that the rising tide of public liability lawsuits has become so costly it could threaten the future of the iconic movement.

    Surf Life Saving Queensland says the state has emerged a happy hunting ground for those looking to cash in on incidents and accidents at beaches, in clubhouse surrounds, or at supporters’ clubs that raise vital funds.

    Surprisingly, action is being launched by stricken swimmers hurt outside the red and yellow flags and attended by SLSQ members prepared to go the extra distance to help them.

    This includes a beachgoer injured in a collision with a surfer 300m from the patrol at Noosa, and a triathlete who almost drowned because of a medical episode in north Queensland.
    Volunteer lifesaver Robert Lemon on his rescue board at Noosa’s Main Beach. Picture: Lachie Millard

    Even a city council is suing the key water safety body after one of its lifeguards fell on wet tiles and was injured in the shower area at a local surf club, which council leases to lifesaving.

    Most cases involve members of the public, but some are launched by lifesavers injured during training or patrols.

    SLSQ administration and compliance manager Craig Williams said the state organisation had been swamped with 32 recent claims and related costs of almost $1 million.

    Mr Williams said current cases were likely to see additional losses of more than $500,000.

    He said public liability insurance was arranged nationally with the annual premium of about $1 million shared between states.

    However, because of Queensland’s high number of claims – and payouts – it now had to pay half the premium.

    “We self-insure for the first $50,000 of every claim and because many are in the low range, we’re taking quite a few hits,’’ Mr Williams said.

    “The impact of the litigation is significant and it means we have to fundraise more and, obviously, money that should be spent protecting beachgoers is going towards paying these people.’’

    Mr Williams said he believed no-win, no-fee “billboard’’ lawyers were exploiting opportunities.

    Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth said Queensland had one of the fairest common-law compensation schemes in the world and it was important anyone visiting one of the state’s many pristine beaches was protected against injury, due to negligence.

    Ms Smyth defended “no-win, no fee’’ lawyers, saying they would only take on a claim when they believed their client’s case had legal merit.

    “If there has been an increase in claims, SLSQ may need to consider reviewing its practices and venues to ensure they are safe and do not pose any unreasonable risk of injury,’’ she said.

    A legal expert said Queensland, like other states, had a Civil Liability Act, but also added a Personal Injuries Proceedings Act.

    This implemented a pre-court procedure for the handling of personal injury claims and aimed to provide swifter resolutions and earlier settlements.

    However, the expert said a concern was there were “no-costs consequences for pursuing unmeritorious claims in the PIPA phase of claims, or mechanism available to a respondent served with a spurious claim to have it disposed of summarily’’.

    “As a respondent served has no recourse to recover costs from the PIPA phase, considerable cost can be incurred, and faced with the threat of this being magnified in litigation, a respondent, or their insurer, is often faced with the dilemma that a claim can be settled for a smaller sum than may be expended in legal costs to contest the matter.’’
    Volunteer lifesaver Jordan Mercer on Noosa’s Main Beach. Picture: Lachie Millard


    A FEMALE in her 20s pursued legal action for alleged physical and psychological damages sustained after contact with an Inflatable Rescue Boat at Maroochydore. The IRB crew was taking part in a rescue and at very low speed “brushed’’ the woman who was on a body board. Status: Ongoing

    A CLAIM was lodged by a swimmer hurt when struck by a Brazilian backpacker surfing 300m from the beach patrol at Noosa. SLSQ-paid lifeguards (contracted to council) attended the man, administered first aid and cared for him until paramedics arrived.

    Status: Finalised

    A TRIATHLETE who almost drowned at an event in North Queensland is suing lifesavers who pulled him from the water after a medical episode. He alleged his rescuers who were handling water safety for the race should have identified that he was at risk sooner.

    Status: Ongoing

    IN a freakish case, SLSQ was hit with a claim by a man who suffered serious spinal injuries while being arrested by police outside Surfers Paradise SLSC. He had run on to club property and police, in detaining him, pushed him up against a block wall that collapsed, resulting in the man falling 3m into the club’s underground carpark.

    Status: Ongoing

    A CITY Council launched action against SLSQ after one of its lifeguards slipped and fell on wet tiles in the shower area at a local SLSC. Council owns the building and leases it to lifesaving which allows council lifeguards to share the facilities.

    Status: Ongoing

    A SURF lifesaver lodged a claim for an ankle injury sustained in a mishap while he performed water safety duties as a crewman in an IRB during a major surf carnival. A tradesman, he lost his job because of the injury and received a hefty payout.

    Status: Finalised

    ANOTHER volunteer launched action after suffering a severe leg fracture in an accident during a Rescue Water Craft (jet ski) driver training course at Southport Spit.

    Status: Ongoing

    A MEMBER of the public lodged a claim after injuring himself by tripping and falling over a raised section of footpath as he approached the toilets at Port Douglas.

    Status: Finalised

    A PATRON launched action after being injured when he slipped and fell “on a liquid near the bar’’ at Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Supporters’ Club on Australia Day.

    Status: Ongoing
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  • #2
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    Mr 672A's Avatar
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    The only Country in the English speaking World where you cannot sue your Solicitor or Barrister.
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    The scum of the Earth. LAWYERS. Only one exception to this is my mate that helps the people with no money once released from Prison.
    Not responsible for any post written after the 28/10/2014. My pet hate, Corrupt Politicians, Corrupt Legal System + a legal system Australia wide that does not allow you to sue a Solicitor or Barrister for Professional Negligence (as Stated by the Law Society and prominent Lawyers) and Corrupt Cops. Not necessarily in this order. Please Note Lawyers are PROTECTED SPECIES IN THIS COUNTRY, PROTECTED FROM THEIR F..K UPS

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    I'm not so sure that the entire problem is the lawyers, but those who choose to sue. Legislation must needs be tightened up to prevent frivolous claims. Why should council be sued because some little old duck tripped and fell when all she need do was pick up her feet. Who does she sue if she trips over a stone in her garden? Yes, Surf Life Savers do put themselves at risk when performing rescues, and, as such risk injury to themselves, that is why, especially if you are a volunteer, you should have income protection insurance. Slipping over on wet tiles in a bathroom, who'd have thought that they would be slippery? Lawyers, unfortunately must pursue claims based on law, that is not to say that all lawyers are crooks, or otherwise. E&OE.
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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