Category: Social

Having read a recent article “Vicious Cycle” in the Geelong Advertiser on 29 November 2018, Tom Burgoyne of our Geelong office had cause to reflect on an article that appeared on 26 June 2013, “Motorbike Crash Crisis”.  These are Tom’s thoughts:

As noted in the “Vicious Cycle” article there were said to have been 84 motorcyclists hospitalised in the last year as a result of transport accidents on roads in our region.  There were said to be 4 fatal transport accidents which took the lives of motorcyclists.  Looking back at the article from 2013 it was noted by the CEO of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) at that time that “The statistics show the number of people needing more than 14 days hospitalisation after a crash is down by 45 per cent…so we know some improvements are being made”.  So, what has happened?

In my experience these accidents arise from a myriad of causes.  Victoria Police have noted speed, most particularly along our coastal roads as a factor for motorcyclists.  However, there are many safety-conscious motorcyclists who have sustained injury due to the inattention of drivers of 4-wheeled vehicles.

Safety and not blame is at the core of the TAC’s latest campaign “Driver Think Rider/Rider Think Driver” and I applaud this.  It strikes at the heart of the issue:  reciprocity of respect among road users is key.

Research from the Monash University Accident Research Centre is cited as revealing “a third of all motorcycle injury crashes occur on regional roads” .  With the inevitable rush of the festive season upon us, it is indeed time for patience and respect for all road users.  No family should suffer empty seats at their table.

Whilst most members of our community are aware that the TAC is the statutory insurer responsible for paying compensation to those injured in a transport accident, fewer are aware of the responsibilities that are delegated to our road authorities.  Our responsible road authorities include local councils and VicRoads.

Road authorities are responsible for construction, inspection and maintenance of our roads.  In circumstances where there is a hazard, of which the road authorities are aware, they are responsible for the investigation and rectification of the hazard.

Due to limited budgets, growing populations and expanding road networks, road authorities are under pressure to adequately maintain our roads. Sadly, regional people continue to be over represented in our road toll, with road infrastructure continuing to play a part in regional accidents.  Accident hot spots continue to exist on our road networks.  Of recent times in Ballarat, high profile accidents on Cherry Flat Road and the intersections along Sturt Street have made the state of our regional road infrastructure front of mind. A number of accidents in the Geelong region, such as at the intersection of Orton Street and Presidents Avenue in Ocean Grove, also highlight the need for road authorities to monitor and adapt their designs of existing dangerous intersections in line with community expectations around safety.  Listening to local residents should be at the heart of such reviews.

Whilst increased investment in our regional roads is a must to keep our friends and families safe,  our regional communities can assist the road authorities in the exercise of their responsibilities by providing prompt notification of hazards to ensure that improvements can occur expeditiously.

For those injured where the condition of a public road or infrastructure was a contributing factor, if commencing proceedings it is important to be aware that the Road Management Act requires a claimant to provide written notice of the incident to the responsible road authority within a “prescribed period”.  The prescribed period can be as short as 30 days from the date of the incident.  Failure to provide written notice within the prescribed period may prejudice a claimant’s ability to successfully prosecute a claim.

Utilisation of the notification provisions may also help to avoid harm to other road users.  Notification may lead the responsible authority to inspect the condition of the road or infrastructure and undertake repairs.  If a report is created by the responsible authority, it is required to provide a copy of the report to the person who provided the notice.

The completion of the notice of incident requires prescribed particulars to be included.  These details may be difficult to ascertain after the fact.  To assist in the completion of the required notice it is advisable to take photographs that enable the person to precisely identify the nature and location of the hazard.  In addition, it is important to take particulars of the date and time of the incident.

If you need assistance in providing notification of a hazard or defect, bringing or lodging a claim for compensation, contact your local Fortitude Legal expert.

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Tom Burgoyne has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Regional/Suburban Lawyer of the Year in the Australian legal industry’s most prestigious awards.

The Australian Law Awards recognise the outstanding contribution of Australia’s top lawyers and legal firms.

Having taken home the honours as Regional Lawyer of The Year 2018 at the recent Law Institute of Victoria Awards, it is no surprise to our team that Tom has again been recognised in this way.

At Fortitude Legal we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional legal services to regional Victorians and Tom lives and breathes that philosophy.

Well done Tom! We wish you all the best for the big announcement on 31 August 2018.

We are thrilled to announce that Tom Burgoyne was on Friday night awarded the honour of being named “Regional Lawyer of the Year 2018”, at the Law Institute of Victoria’s 14th Victorian Legal Awards.

The Victorian Legal Awards is the most prestigious legal awards program in Victoria celebrating the “best of the best” and publicly recognising those who demonstrate excellence in legal practice.

Tom, who opens our GEELONG office in June, fought off stiff competition including that of his colleagues, Cameron Cowan, who heads up our Ballarat team, and Fleur Jackson, who will soon open the doors to the Bendigo office of Fortitude Legal.

Tom has handled some of his region’s most significant cases. In doing so, he has highlighted the need for legislative change where he has seen inequity, deficiency or anomaly in the law. Tom’s article “Cyclist Beware” was published in the January/February edition of the Law Institute Journal. Tom sought to put a focus on a “glaring gap in compensation coverage for cyclists…which could be remedied by legislative change”.

In his acceptance speech Tom stated: “I see this Award as reflective of the fact that more broadly as a group there is excellent legal work happening in the regions. We have a lot of pride in being regional practitioners looking after people in our communities”.

We can’t wait to welcome Tom to our team next month!

Congratulations to Cameron Cowan, Tom Burgoyne and Fleur Jackson for being acknowledged as Finalists in the 14th Victorian Legal Awards.

The Victorian Legal Awards is the most prestigious legal awards program in Victoria celebrating the “best of the best” and publicly recognising those who demonstrate excellence in legal practice.

At Fortitude Legal we are thrilled that our very own Cam has been acknowledged in this way and that we will soon be welcoming into our team the also amazing Fleur and Tom.

Fortitude Legal – bringing the best to regional Victoria!