EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE
Since 1984, he has worked exclusively in accident compensation, in particular CTP claims. He acts for private and government CTP insurers, self-insurers, and other public sector risk carriers and regulators. He has also acted on Nominal Defendant matters arising from the failure of FAI.
Simon is a highly skilled negotiator with substantial experience negotiating resolution of claims through mediation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and face to face conferences, most without the involvement of counsel.
His extensive track record includes regularly representing clients in regional Queensland, including Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns and Mt Isa, as well as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Simon has extensive experience conducting bulk settlement conferences in regional Queensland centres, in particular in central Queensland jurisdictions.
Simon has acted on behalf of CTP insurers in the defence of several major claims involving foreign nationals injured in Australia. Such claims require extensive detailed investigation of tax, health, social security and care regimes operating in countries including Japan, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. He has also represented insurers in several disputes involving interstate jurisdiction and choice of law issues.
Acting for government and semi-government entities such as the TAC and WorkCover Queensland, has rendered Simon highly familiar with conducting claims as a model litigant. Simon has formerly conducted a number of high profile plaintiff claims which have added to his understanding of the process as well as his ability to conduct litigation with empathy. These include:
- Acting for a Japanese tourist who sustained severe brain injury in an airplane crash at Currumbin
- Acting for a Japanese tourist who sustained severe brain injury in a motor vehicle accident in north Queensland.
Simon is familiar with the need to proactively manage claims and to resolve matters as quickly as possible.
He has advised numerous insurers on policy amendments and drafting and settling insurance policies as well as acting for insurers in relation to compliance and regulatory matters.
Simon has acted in many significant and leading cases for insurers including:
- Allianz v Wilkinson – acted for Allianz in claim involving an infant ventilated quadriplegic injured when she was four years old. This claim involved complex rehabilitation issues and using techniques previously devised in a similar claim (Nominal Defendant/FAI Mitchell). Simon engineered a solution to housing and transport needs through a complex interim settlement requiring sanction of the court. The interim settlement to enable housing and purchase of a motor vehicle was both a favourable outcome to Allianz and also the severely injured claimant; her family later thanked Allianz for their response. The claim resolved by negotiation for a sum well within the likely range of damages assessed by Simon and Senior Counsel.
- TAC v Forster – acting for the TAC in an indemnity dispute arising from the alleged improper loading of a vehicle. The claim was successfully resolved in favour of the insurer with costs orders being obtained against the plaintiff due to their failure to properly plead the identity of the nominated insured.
- Allianz v Boyland – acting for Allianz in a claim arising from a single vehicle rollover with complex liability issues including dangerous recreational activity and false statements provided by both driver and the severely injured claimant who was rendered a high level quadriplegic – successfully resolved by negotiation.
- NRMA v Bailey – acting for a CTP insurer in negotiating the resolution of an indemnity dispute arising from unloading heavy equipment which resulted in paraplegia. The matter was successfully resolved through ADR.
- Allianz Clay and O’Callaghan – acting for Allianz in two major claims by a seriously injured motorcyclist who collided with an articulated vehicle whose trailer section was insured by an interstate insurer. Simon successfully identified the interstate insurer and pursued them for contribution. The claims were eventually settled by negotiation with the Allianz exposure reduced by 50% and savings of several million dollars.
- TAC v Kang – acting for the TAC in a claim involving gross exaggeration and fraud. The claim involved the successful application to suppress video surveillance tapes and associated investigative reports. The matter was successfully resolved by way of mediation, and Simon used qualified disclosure of the suppressed material to the mediator to assist with a successful resolution of the claim.
- NRMA v Choi – acting for NRMA and negotiating the resolution of a quadriplegic claim which involved a foreign national in Australia on a temporary visa.
- Allianz v Ravenshoe – the Ravenshoe incident involved a single vehicle collision at a café in North Queensland in 2015. Simon was retained by Allianz early following the incident and was heavily involved in liability investigations which were complex and involved potential defences of inevitable accident. Seventeen people were directly injured in the explosion mostly suffering burn injuries and also associated psychiatric damage. Two people died, resulting in one substantial dependency claim. In addition, other claimants have bought actions for indirect nervous shock claims. Simon has successfully assisted Allianz in negotiating settlements in all but are of the claims. Settlements have been negotiated swiftly and, although entirely fair and reasonable, have been achieved well within Allianz’s reserves. The remaining claim will be conferenced shortly.
- NRMA v Jenkins – acting for NRMA in a complicated CTP claim giving rise to difficult indemnity, liability and quantum issues. The claim involved prior physical assault to the brain damaged claimant and allegations of attempted murder involving the use of a motor vehicle. The claim was successfully resolved with Simon negotiating with a Sydney based QC retained by the plaintiff.
- NRMA v DeValence – acting for NRMA in drafting detailed submissions to the Motor Accident Insurance Commission in a matter of a claims costs sharing and claim management dispute with another CTP insurer. The matter was successfully resolved in favour of our client.
- FAI / Nominal Defendant Mitchell – acting for the Nominal Defendant (subsequent to the demise of the private insurer) in a CTP claim involving an infant ventilated quadriplegic. During the course of this matter Simon successfully implemented a novel and complex partial settlement. The mother and injured child were living in very poor circumstances and required housing. Simon formulated an interim settlement which involved the purchase of a suitable dwelling but on terms which ultimately accounted for the capital cost of the premises being an advance against damages so as not to disadvantage the insurer while at the same time providing adequate housing for the injured infant.
- Allianz v Matthews – acting for Allianz defending a claim by a brain damaged infant with significant and complex behavioural problems which included potential suicidal tendencies. The claim was successfully resolved at mediation.
- Nominal Defendant v Holt – acting for the Nominal Defendant in a claim involving serious brain damage sustained to a Brisbane orthopaedic surgeon in a running down accident. Liability was heavily disputed and potential settlement jeopardised by the extent of statutory refunds. Simon successfully and legitimately structured the settlement utilising payment to the injured claimant’s service company which was also a claimant in the proceeding. The structuring of the settlement in that fashion enabled resolution at mediation without in any way unfairly disadvantaging the statutory agencies. The claim was resolved with a fairly nominal payment relative to the extent of the potential loss.
Ranked as a Leading Lawyer – Compulsory Third Party (Defendant) and Recommended Lawyer – Workers Compensation (Defendant) in Queensland by Doyle’s Guide 2020.