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Presumed liability - civil legislation

Eligibility - Queensland residents

Principal Petitioner:

David Sharp
47 Keogh Street

Total Signatures - 914

Sponsoring Member: Dr Bruce Flegg MP

Posting Date: 15/10/2014

Closing Date: 12/04/2015

Tabled Date: 5/05/2015

Responded By: Hon Mark Bailey MP on 4/06/2015

TO: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland

Queensland citizens draws to the attention of the House the concern that our civil compensation system for personal injury is fault-based when incidents occur between motorists and bicyclists. Thus, in a collision, driver error must be proven. Because the default assumption is that the driver has not contributed to the crash, their insurance company is not automatically liable for compensation.


Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to enact legislation for the reversal of the burden of proof in collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists. The onus should be on the driver's insurance company to prove that the casualty caused the collision. Presumed liability would only effect civil compensation charging standards, not those of criminal prosecution, where the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" would continue to apply. Pedestrians and cyclists involved in a collision - who have the least potential to cause death or injury, are usually the only casualty and often the only witness other than the driver - will often be unable to give evidence due to the injuries sustained. We also believe that pedestrians and cyclists with additional vulnerabilities, such as children, older people or those with disabilities, should receive full compensation, regardless of their actions. This would align us with many European nations. We believe that the introduction of presumed liability into Queensland civil law has the potential to improve outcomes for vulnerable road users, as well as contributing towards the Government's current Cycling Strategy, helping more Queenslanders enjoy a healthier, safer future.