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Sarah Letcher

Special Counsel

Melbourne

+61 3 8687 7321

Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in insurance litigation delivering cost-effective solutions for clients through pro-active negotiation and practical advice.

Her expertise spans a diverse range of public liability, professional indemnity and property damage claims including class actions, personal injury claims, catastrophic injury claims, fire and machinery breakdown claims and commercial recovery actions.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Sarah has specialised in insurance litigation for over 20 years. She has considerable expertise defending a diverse range of claims as well as management of large commercial recoveries.

Sarah’s experience in handling personal injury claims includes catastrophic injury, workers’ common law claims and Victorian WorkCover Authority recovery claims.

Her experience in property claims ranges from failure of industrial equipment and large vehicles, to water damage, fire damage and arson fraud claims. 

Sarah also provides policy interpretation advice for both public liability and professional indemnity claims.

She has been involved in several notable class actions and has managed claims for professional misconduct against healthcare professionals covered by financial lines insurance.

Sarah’s main practice involves personal injury claims including workers’ common law claims and Victorian WorkCover Authority recovery actions. She also acts for the insurer of many Victorian schools and universities and has particular experience in handling sensitive claims, some of which involve bullying and sexual assaults of primary and secondary school students, and discrimination and harassment claims by university students and staff.

Sarah has defended personal injury claims against Parks Victoria involving catastrophic injuries occurring in national and state parks lodged by claimants who disregarded warning signs and placed themselves in risky situations. Most of these matters are settled before a hearing for amounts considerably less than our estimate of possible damages if the claim proceeded to verdict.

Sarah has experience defending claims issued against V/Line concerning the alleged lack of maintenance of rail infrastructure, resulting in the derailment of trains fully loaded with grain travelling from regional Victoria to container ports. All claims have been resolved on a cost-effective basis without proceeding to litigation.

Sarah has managed claims issued against the former Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (now Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions). These matters involved situations such as falls in railway underpasses managed by VicTrack, as well as claims by plaintiffs allegedly assaulted by ticket inspectors. For the latter group of claimants, early medical review has resulted in rapid, cost-effective settlements.

Sarah has also managed claims against cemetery trusts, including settlement of a claim made by a bereaved family in a dispute involving the right of interment in a Melbourne cemetery, following the family’s discovery that the grave selected and paid for by the family had been used for another interment. As a result of a sympathetic and carefully coordinated approach to discussion with the trust regarding the extremely distressing situation for the family, we attained a satisfactory solution involving allocation of an adjoining burial plot to the family plus payment of a modest amount of damages.

Sarah has acted for VicRoads in personal injury claims by drivers alleging that roads were unsafe, using expert witnesses in road safety and traffic management to achieve cost-effective settlements.

Other experience involves acting for several major insurers in complex and technical recovery proceedings for claims from industry sectors such as engineering, paper manufacturing, and livestock. Sarah’s credentials in this area include effective liaison with numerous expert witnesses and successfully settling proceedings with full recovery for her insurer and insured clients.

Sarah’s experience, careful preparation and negotiating skills enable her to manage complex claims with multiple stakeholders and achieve results appreciated by insurer and insured alike. She is able to manage a very wide variety of claims with energy and expertise and bring them to a timely resolution, minimising costs.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Sarah is known to be able to resolve sensitive and complex claims for clients in situations where claims might otherwise grind to a halt or result in damaging publicity. She has not only prevented problems escalating but turned them into opportunities for improvement, for example in multiple claims in the school sector.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, 1988, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Laws, 1990, Monash University

Memberships

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Women in Insurance