Climate change protesters who block city streets could lose any rights to compensation if injured during an arrest but motorists are being warned they could be sued if they run over a protester.
That’s the view of prominent Brisbane injury compensation law specialist Mark O’Connor who says a volatile mix of climate change protesters, police and frustrated motorists could see tempers stretched.
He says protesters who refuse a police command to move and are injured during an arrest could waive any right to injury compensation unless it could be shown the police used unreasonable force.
However, Mark O’Connor, a Director with Bennett & Philp Lawyers, says motorists who encounter a street clogged with climate change protesters could be legally liable to compensation claims if they hit a protester.
Lawyers are saying city workers could sue protesters if they are late for work or suffer financially as a result of streets being blocked. Brisbane activists have been extreme, gluing themselves to the city streets and dangling over and under bridges, stopping cars and buses during the morning peak rush hour.
He says unless it could be proven police used unreasonable force in an arrest, protesters who defy an order to move would be out of luck if they suffered an injury during a forcible removal and arrest.
It’s different though if a protester is blocking the road and is clipped by a car. The protester would be entitled to pursue a compensation claim against the motorist for his or her injuries although their damages could be reduced if their actions increased the risk of injury,” he says.
Mark says motorists are expected to be alert to any unexpected hazards while driving and encountering a street blocked by protesters would be such a moment. Motorists should not think they can just drive around the protesters.
My advice to the climate change protesters is that once they have made their point they should follow lawful police directions to clear the street. If they refuse to move they bring any consequences upon themselves,” he says.
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