Proudlove family hit with legal bill

Tim Edmunds, ALBANY ADVERTISER
Warrick Proudlove with his mother Trish and brother Mark at Parliament House yesterday. Picture: Gerald Moscarda

The family of Warrick Proudlove has been hit with a substantial legal bill by the State Government’s insurer after failing to prove their son’s injuries from a tragic car accident were caused by negligent driving.

After pursuing legal action against the driver, Harley Burridge, and having their claim for damages dismissed in court last month, the family’s bid for compensation has left them with a legal bill of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The State Opposition yesterday called on the Government to waive the legal costs from the Insurance Commission of WA, while also releasing their submission of support for a no-fault system for all people badly injured in car accidents.

The Proudlove family were forced to sue Mr Burridge due to the absence of no-fault third party insurance in WA after the crash near Mt Barker in 2011 that left Warrick with serious head injuries as a passenger in the car that hit a horse on Albany Highway.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan called on the Barnett Government to introduce a no-fault third-party insurance scheme to be operational by July 1.

Mr McGowan has called on the no-fault scheme to be labelled “Warrick’s Law” to bring WA in line with other States.

“The Proudloves don’t deserve this. They were forced to take legal action by the flawed nature of WA’s third-party insurance laws,” Mr McGowan said.

“Warrick’s Law is needed urgently and I offer full bipartisan support to the Government to get this legislation through Parliament as quickly as possible.

“I want to see a no-fault third-party insurance scheme in place by July 1 next year to make sure other West Australians will never be in the situation the Proudloves find themselves in.”

Speaking in Albany last week, Insurance Commission of WA chairman Frank Cooper said there was “no question” the Proudlove family case had hit home to him but he had yet to be briefed on the submissions received. “Nobody would ever wish that sort of injury on anyone,” Mr Cooper said.

“All I can say is I have enormous sympathy for an individual in those circumstances and the family.”

Albany MP Peter Watson, who met the Proudlove family last week, said most people would support the introduction of compulsory no-fault third-party insurance and it would take two years before any changes would come into effect.

“A Green Paper is put out when the Government doesn’t want to do anything,” he said. “I think most people wouldn’t mind paying that extra money knowing that their loved ones are protected.”

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