In readiness for DWF's inaugural Virtual Cat PI and Occupational Health Insurance Conference 2020 on 18-21 May 2020, I have written this short blog to provide a taster about some of the current Casualty issues and market trends that DWF's Australian offices (Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle (NSW) and Sydney presently), are seeing, and which I shall be speaking about in more detail in my session.
Casualty issues and trends
In Australia, there has recently been an increasing focus from the government, courts and regulators towards protecting workers' health and for promoting a wider environment of Health and Safety for both employees and the general public.
Even before any impact of COVID-19 on economic loss fully lands, our Casualty/CAT PI teams are seeing a higher number of claims and increased damages awards trends, especially those relating to Workers Compensation and in Dust Disease related areas, including:
- Significant claims for silicosis from workers arising from the stone benchtop industry.
- Young men with significant exposure, a short latency period and the development of progressive massive fibrosis – a terminal condition with a lung transplant offering some (albeit still limited) hope for further life expectancy.
- Expect a series of claims for contribution against supplier and manufacturers of stone benchtops for failing in their duty to appropriately warn and instruct. That is, failing in their general obligation of product stewardship- the law with respect to product liability is expected to develop further.
- Increased awards for general damages for all serious injuries across all jurisdictions.
- Increased awards for gratuitous care for services provided to injured claimants further inflating damages awards.
- An expected increase in awards for economic loss in a post-COVID-19 environment, having regard to general economic uncertainty and a shrinking jobs market.
I shall be discussing these and covering other information about the Australian casualty/CAT PI market in my conference session, which I will be hosting over Microsoft Teams on Day 4, Thursday 21 May at 8am BST.
I hope some of you can join me then.