What is claim farming?
Claim farming is the process by which someone – the claim farmer – approaches an individual and pressures or harasses them into making a compensation claim. Claim farmers use different tactics such as cold calling, offering assistance to make a claim or implying they act on behalf of a government agency or insurer. They then sell the potential claimants’ personal information from these interactions to a law practice or claims management service, who will handle the claim. The fees the claim farmer charges are often substantial and end up being passed on to potential clients.
How do the new claim farming laws work?
It is now an offence for lawyers and law practices to engage in claim farming for compensation claims for personal injuries, incidents at work and motor vehicle accidents. These new laws are intended to stop claim farmers from harassing or inducing potential victims to make claims. They don’t affect the ability for potential claimants to initiate and progress claims for personal injuries with their lawyer or on their own.
The claim farming laws:
- make it an offence for lawyers / law practices to pay claim farmers for the details of potential claimants or to receive payment for a claim referral or potential claim referral;
- prohibit claim farmers from cold calling or personally approaching another person to solicit or induce them to make a claim;
- require legal practitioners who represent claimants to certify by way of a law practice certificate that they have not paid a claim farmer for the claim at the beginning and end of the claim process (as is currently required for claims arising from motor vehicle accidents);
- prevents law firms from using inappropriate cost practices.
Am I a victim of claim farming?
You are not a victim of claim farming if you approached a lawyer of your choice to represent you following an injury. However, if someone has approached you and convinced you to make a claim for personal injury, you may have been claim farmed.
You can request:
- a copy of your costs agreement with your lawyer, if you do not already have a copy; and
- an itemised bill.
If there are costs on your itemised bill that you do not understand, you should discuss these with your lawyer. In particular, if there are payments made to a third party, this may be a payment to a claim farmer. Some payments to third parties may be legitimate – for example, if you attended a medical examination for a specialist report. However, if your lawyer can’t explain the costs to you, report it.
It is important to note that claim farming for personal injury and workers' compensation claims only became an offence in Queensland on 1 July 2022. Prior to this date, it was only an offence to engage in claim farming for CTP motor accident claims.
What is a legitimate claim?
The new laws do not prevent you from making a personal injury or workers' compensation claim. You can still make a claim for personal injuries or workers' compensation if you are injured. The new laws are aimed at preventing claim farmers from profiting by selling your information or claim. You can still make a claim yourself, or through a lawyer of your choice or an insurance provider.
What to do if you are claim farmed
If you believe you have been claim farmed – report it.
You may also wish to obtain independent legal advice from a lawyer of your choice, about how this will affect your personal injuries or workers' compensation claim. Visit the Queensland Law Society website to find a lawyer near you.
How can I avoid claims farmers?
- Be wary of cold callers – ask them where they are calling from and why they have called.
- Record their details so that you can then search for their name, organisation and phone number. You may also want to record their details in case you want to make a report.
- Hang up if you receive an unsolicited call.
- Don’t be pressured to do anything, and don’t provide any personal details over the phone. Providing personal information can put you at risk.
How do I report it?
The Worker's Compensation Regulatory Services under the Office of Industrial Relations is responsible for Workers Compensation claims and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission enforce the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 in respect of motor vehicle accidents.
The Legal Services Commission is responsible for monitoring and enforcing claim farming provisions within the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (PIPA) for all other personal injuries.
Please contact either one of these regulators to report claim farming practices.
Motor accident insurance claims
Worker’s compensation claims
all other personal injuries claims
What are the certificates my lawyer has mentioned?
If you make a personal injury or motor vehicle claim through a lawyer, you will be asked to complete a Claimant Certificate. If you make a workers’ compensation claim, this certificate won’t be required.
The Claimant Certificate requires you, as the claimant, to certify that you have made the claim on your own initiative, and must state:
- whether you were personally approached or contacted to solicit or induce to make the claim, and if so, provide details about this; and
- whether your lawyer (if you have one) gave consideration (e.g. money) to someone for referring your claim to them.
For CTP motor vehicle accident claims, the Claimant Certificate is in the Notice of Accident Claim Form.
For other personal injuries claims, use the Claimant Certificate .
Please ensure when you download this certificate, that you open Adobe to allow for electronic signatures to be included on the form.
Law Practice Certificate
In addition, your lawyer must complete a certificate called a Law Practice Certificate (LPC), which certifies that they have not engaged in claim farming by giving or receiving consideration for your claim or approaching or inducing you without your consent, to make a claim. You may receive a copy of the LPC at different points in the claim process – for example, if you engage a lawyer before you give notice of your claim, or if your lawyer sells their business. If you want further information, speak to your lawyer.