Skip to main content
article thumbnail

Kerry Wood

Partner

Perth

+61 8 6317 0420

With over three decades’ experience in insurance law, Kerry currently acts for major insurers and public sector risk carriers in the areas of public liability (for both personal injury and property damage claims), workers’ compensation claims and in both high volume and complex property damage / recoveries.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Over the course of her career, Kerry has had the conduct of numerous public liability personal injury and property damage claims, settling the bulk of these claims in an expeditious and economical manner for her largely insurer clients, although she also acts for insureds with high policy deductibles.

Kerry also has extensive experience acting for a number of major workers’ compensation insurers and regularly attends WorkCover on conciliation conferences, directions hearings, pre-arbitration conferences and arbitration hearings.

In addition, Kerry acts for a number of major insurers in the areas of motor vehicle and other property damage recoveries and settlements.

Kerry has over 30 years of insurance and claims management expertise. She is very proactive in managing her claims and always ensures that her initial advice and subsequent updated advices contain comprehensive claims management recommendations, which include the need for medical reviews, surveillance, further factual investigations and enquiries. She ensures all relevant medical (including clinical records) and economic loss documentation is gathered promptly to ensure her quantum recommendations are as accurate as possible.

Kerry is keenly aware of the importance of early claims resolution and always looks for opportunities to arrange conferences with the other side to discuss settlement, once all the evidence is to hand. Kerry always ensures her insurer clients have comprehensive and updated opinions on all of the issues prior to settlement discussions taking place and that, by that time, all of her recommended strategies and investigations have been completed.

Kerry is an experienced negotiator in the settlement of personal injury and property damage claims (where liability is disputed or where only quantum is in dispute) and regularly attends informal and formal conciliation and pre-trial conferences to represent the interests of her insurer clients. She has a proven ability to discuss all legal and factual issues that may arise on a claim during settlement discussions.

Kerry is realistic and commercial in her approach to settlement negotiations, appreciating the very real risks of litigation acting for insurer clients and the preference to avoid the costs of trial.

Kerry has a good track record with settling claims and avoiding trial, and in almost all cases the recommended settlement range is achieved.

Kerry always conducts herself professionally and ethically at settlement negotiations and ensures that all discoverable documents, and settlement submissions or schedules of damages, are exchanged before settlement discussions take place to maximise the prospect of a claim’s resolution.

As the quantum of her claims varies from minor to catastrophic, Kerry strives to ensure that legal costs are never disproportionate to the quantum of the claim.

Kerry prides herself on having a well organised practice and always responds promptly to telephone calls or emails from her clients.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Recent examples of successful litigation for Kerry’s insurer clients include:

  • Defence of a claim by a truck driver who fell from a platform while loading fertiliser. He sued the owner of the truck (Kerry’s client’s insured) and the occupier of the premises, however, his claim was dismissed by the trial judge, saving Kerry’s client from a significant award of damages.
  • Defence of a claim involving an insured landlord who was found not liable for injuries sustained by a plaintiff when she suffered a severe injury to her left elbow when she was showering in a rental property. This decision was important for outlining the duties of landlords and highlighted that it is limited to taking reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risk of injury from defects of which a landlord is on notice. The plaintiff was unsuccessful on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
  • A claim which went to trial against a large retailer for contribution towards damages paid to a plaintiff who was injured when a truck reversed into him. The retailer strongly resisted the claim for contribution, but the trial judge found it breached its duty of care and was liable for 25% of the claim. This was a good outcome for Kerry’s client (an interstate third party motor vehicle insurer) as the large retailer made no offers of settlement, other than walk away offers. The large retailer was unsuccessful on appeal to the Court of Appeal.

RECOGNITION

Ranked as a Leading Lawyer – Public and Product Liability (Defendant) and Recommended Lawyer – Compulsory Third Party and Workers Compensation (Defendant) in WA by Doyle’s Guide 2020.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Jurisprudence, 1986, University of Western Australia
  • Bachelor of Laws, 1987, University of Western Australia

Specialist Accreditations

In 2013, Kerry undertook the ADR for Professionals course at UWA which included training in negotiation, conflict resolution and mediation skills, leading to a two year national mediation accreditation.

Memberships

  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Law Society of Western Australia