Buoyed After Boating Accident
Tim Rigney was an avid fisherman and on a fateful night he was in a dinghy with his friend on the Nerang River near the Gold Coast Council Chambers when a crash occurred with passing speedboat. He suffered a fracture to his back as well as developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Rigney’s claim was with both the insurance company for the speedboat and the insurance company of the dinghy owned by his friend.
There was extensive debate about the factors that contributed to the collision between the 2 vessels. At the Trial Justice Holmes in the Supreme Court adjudicated in favour of Mr Rigney and decided that there were 2 main causes of the accident:
- The speed of the speedboat; and
- The positioning of the mooring of the dinghy, leaving it substantially out into the stream at the time that the men proposed to go to sleep, with nothing but the navigation light to protect them against collision.
The result positively supported Mr Rigney, who had retired early after the accident from his long time job with Australia Post.
Rigney v Browne and Nelson  QSC 265 (https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qsc/2004/265)
Famous Court Victory in Case Supporting Young Japanese Visitor, That is Now a Benchmark for the Quantification of Damages in Queensland
Mina Yamaguchi (and her friend Minfumi Takeo) arrived in Cairns for a short holiday from Toyoma City in Japan. They had just put their suitcases down at the local hotel and were out walking in Cairns when they were run over by a bus when crossing the street. They were both left with a range of permanent health impairments due to very serious injuries. They were both lucky to be alive yet tragically for young people (only 23 years of age) their lives were entirely changed in an instance of misfortune.
The insurance company connected to the at-fault bus was QBE. There was a dispute about the payout price and that was influenced by a number of factors including the extensive support which Ms Yamaguchi had received from her loving parents.
After a lengthy Trial, Justice Applegarth in the Supreme Court found in favour of Ms Yamaguchi and awarded an amount of compensation of over $2.1M. He also required QBE to be responsible to pay the fees of professional administration company to support Ms Yamaguchi in the management of her money during her lifetime. That requirement added an approximate additional $700,000 to the bill.
The comprehensive nature in which the Judge analysed the factors relevant to the quantification of claim (particularly for young person with interference to capacity to work) created an influential benchmark in this important field of the law.
Yamaguchi v Phipps  QSC 151 (https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qsc/2016/151)
There was an interesting, yet additional outcome in this case that was highly beneficial to Ms Yamaguchi and also created a further precedent.
The additional topic concerned the legal expenses payable by QBE (in addition to the compensation amount and the payment of the administration fees). The Judge ruled that QBE should be responsible to pay for a large portion of the legal expenses incurred by Ms Yamaguchi. This outcome was the result of a costs penalty being triggered against QBE due to Ms Yamaguchi making a very reasonable pre-Trial Offer of Settlement. QBE had rejected her Offer and the Judge decided that it was then QBE’s responsibility to pay for the expenses including the large expenses associated with Ms Yamaguchi and her family coming out from Japan to Brisbane to participate in the Trial. The Judge thought that those expenses should have been avoided if QBE had accepted Ms Yamaguchi’s Offer. The requirement was based on the indemnity basis which meant that almost all of Ms Yamaguchi actual legal expenses were paid by QBE.
Yamaguchi v Phipps (No 2)  QSC 170 (https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qsc/2016/170/pdf-view)
Successful Case Supports Pedestrian Seriously Injured When Hit By Car
Joshua Meagher was seriously injured when runover as he was walking along a road outside of Cairns on 6 October 1995. The insurer, Suncorp disputed responsibility because the accident occurred at night (approximately 9.40 pm) and the area was dark. The driver of the car claimed that she did not see Joshua or his companion. However, she had seen other pedestrians on the opposite side of the road. The vehicle struck Joshua’s companion who later died.
Through the success of the case, Joshua was financially supported and including the Court-sanctioned for his money to be managed by a professional administrator and the costs of that arrangement (an additional $120,000.00) were paid by Suncorp.
Meagher v Suncorp  QSC 300 (https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qsc/2005/300)
Victory in Court for Armed Robbery Victim
Chris McMillen was a Security Guard for Brambles when he was held hostage and subjected to an horrific armed robbery situation during his shift when visiting banks at Tweed Heads on Melbourne Cup Day (7 November 1995). He was held at gun point by 2 criminals and feared for his life. In the aftermath, he sustained a debilitating psychological condition.
The workers compensation claim in support of Chris was denied by Brambles, forcing Chris to take his case to the Supreme Court.
The outcome at the Trial turned on whether Chris had received direction from his work colleagues warning him about the suspicious behaviour of 2 men (who were later revealed to be feared criminals) prior to the commencement of the bank robbery.
In a brilliant piece of lawyering, the senior barrister for Chris was able to obtain admission from the key witness (Chris’s work colleague and driver of the armored car on the day) that whilst he later thought that he had given direction to Chris on the day (although he had not mentioned that to the police) that in fact he may have subsequently persuaded himself, albeit honestly, in the years following the incident in which he too suffered significant long-term distress, that he had told Mr McMillen to get back into the armoured car rather than investigate further, because of feelings of guilt and/or blame. That particular point in the Trial was specifically referenced by the Judge (Justice White) in her Decision and was influential in the adjudication of the case in favour of Chris.
McMillen v Brambles Security Services Limited  QSC 271 (https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qsc/2001/271)
Trial Victory Supports Family After Death of Husband / Father
In a tragic turn of events, Stephen Crouch died after leaving a friend’s party in Southport. His partner, Liz French who was heavily pregnant with their child, Naomi, had left the party earlier in the day with their young son, Isaac. She had taken their vehicle, leaving Mr Crouch to catch a taxi home. In the passage with the taxi driver, Mr Crouch was drunk, yet it was recognised that this was the reason for him taking the taxi home.
He was then dropped by the taxi at a house that was not his home (due to a misunderstanding about his home address) and some time later has then walked about a kilometre when he was struck by another vehicle on the road.
The claim for compensation was made for the support of Liz French (as the surviving partner) and on behalf of the 2 young children (who had lost their father and the breadwinner of the family). The case considered the legal responsibility of several parties including the taxi company. The success of the case turned on the Supreme Court accepting that the taxi driver should have done more to protect Mr Crouch.
French v QBE  QSC 105