Can I Claim Compensation…
CAN I CLAIM COMPENSATION, IF NO POLICE ACTION WAS TAKEN?
On several occasions over the past few months, clients and patients of medical practitioners have enquired whether they may be entitled to “any” compensation even though the police had indicated that no action would be taken against the other person concerned. This has arisen not only with motor vehicle accidents (typically where the circumstances don’t appear “serious”), but also industrial accidents where the outcomes have been more serious, but investigators have not been able to identify
a particular breach of the law.
It must be remembered that Police investigators are principally concerned with upholding the criminal aspects of our legal system where a breach can lead to criminal charges and a penalty. They are not appointed to investigate and adjudicate on civil disputes, such as whether someone was negligent in causing an accident or failed to do something which led to an accident. Similarly the Workcover investigators, whose resources are typically overstretched, are concerned with policing safety legislation such as the Scaffolding and Lifts Regulations to ensure compliance in the future. Their focus is on the engineering, design and operation of equipment, – not so much on the civil liability of parties to an accident.
We are here to assist with a different type of investigation. Our job is to assess all the facts and circumstances, to advise you whether, on the balance of probabilities (not the criminal standard which requires proof “beyond reasonable doubt”), your patients have reasonable prospects of proving that the defendant acted negligently, and that their injuries, losses and other damage were the natural consequence of the defendants conduct or omission.
These are quite different issues to those confronting the police, and often lead to different results. In other words, in a large number of cases, we are able to advise your patients that they may be entitled to full compensation under our laws, notwithstanding the fact that investigators have not taken other proceedings against the party at fault.