The decision in Cameron v RACQ Insurance Limited 
QSC 124 is a useful reminder that the broad general duty upon
claimants and insurers to cooperate with one another is not always
confined to the particular matters stated in the legislation.
This case considered a provision in the Motor Accident
Insurance Act 1994 (Qld) (MAIA). However, the
Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld)
contains comparable provisions which could be similarly interpreted
by a court.
The applicant suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a
collision with a truck whilst cycling to work. The accident
occurred sometime between 5.30am and 6.02am. The applicant did not
have lights on his bicycle and the truck driver claims he did not
see him. The state of light at the time of the collision was a
The truck driver made two mobile telephone calls to his employer
very shortly after the incident. Pursuant to section 47 of the
MAIA, the applicant requested information from the insurer of the
vehicle (the respondent) about the telephone calls
made by the truck driver, including production of the telephone
records, or a signed authority enabling the applicant to obtain the
records from the service provider.
The respondent denied the request on the grounds that it was
outside the scope of section 47 of the MAIA as the records were not
relevant to the circumstances of the accident or reasons for the
accident. The respondent submitted that the documents were not in
the insurer's possession and that disclosure of the records
could result in the disclosure of certain irrelevant and/or private
The applicant sought orders to enforce the respondent's
statutory duty to cooperate with the claimant under section 47 of
The matter was decided in favour of the applicant. In reaching
this decision, Justice Applegarth found that information about the
time of the telephone calls was information about the circumstances
of the incident, specifically the time of the incident given that
telephone calls were made very shortly after the incident, and in
any event was required to be provided in accordance with the
general duty to cooperate in section 47.
The court commented that the insurer's duty to cooperate
would extend to information which is not in the insurer's
possession but may be able to be found out from the insured person
because the insured person knows of it, has documents in its
possession that reveal it, or can obtain that information
The legitimate concern about the width of the request and the
privacy of the driver might have been addressed by redacting
records so that they were confined to a more limited period of
The provision of telephone records would enable parties to
prepare for the compulsory conference, including obtaining
appropriate expert advice with more reliable information about the
precise time of the incident and, therefore, the state of any
daylight and moonlight at that time.
In this decision, the Court emphasised the need for insurers and
claimants to comply with their overarching duty to cooperate with
one another in resolving personal injuries claims, and indicated
that this duty may extend beyond disclosure of the specific
information/documentation referred to in the legislation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Contractors and principals should ensure they have appropriate insurance coverage instead of relying on indemnity clauses.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).