Supreme Court Orders solicitors disclose identity of insurer in public liability claim
The Personal Injury Lawyers achieved yet another "win" in the Supreme Court at Brisbane recently with the Court handing down the decision that the Solicitor for an insurer of a Respondent party disclose the identity of its client, who was not a party to the proceedings.
It has been a long practice for the identify of insurers of Respondents in personal injury claims to be kept closely guarded. However, in the case in question the identity of the insurer was required to ensure that all liable parties or any party having any liability to contribute to the injured worker's claim was included in the proceedings prior to expiration of the 3 year limitation date for bringing personal injury claims in Queensland.
In the subject case, the insured respondent had gone into liquidation and had been deregistered as a company. Its insurer at the time of the worker's injury occurring was alleging that its public liability policy did not respond to the worker's injury claim and the company was in no position to enforce its rights under the policy of insurance. Under the Corporations Act 2001, where a company becomes deregistered but there is insurance in existence responding to a claim, the insurer can be sued directly as a party to the proceedings that would have been brought against its insured. The solicitor for the insurer however was refusing to provide any information as to the identity of the insurer or regarding the terms of the policy of insurance, thereby disabling the injured worker from pursuing any potential claim against it.
In a first in Queensland, PIL brought an Application in the Queensland Supreme Court seeking an Order that the solicitor for the insurer in question provide disclosure of the insurer's identity and the insurance policy terms under section 229 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. Her Honour Justice Dalton, upon considering the information presented to her, Ordered that the solicitors for the insurer disclose the information sought. Accordingly, the injured worker's claim was able to be brought against the insurer of the deregistered Respondent company directly.
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