Can I still make a claim if the company no longer exists?

PUBLISHED 26 May 2016

In Australia's competitive commercial world, companies and businesses can leave as fast as they come. For example, between 2014 and 2015 close to 3,400 companies entered into external administration in New South Wales because of insolvency, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Yet, what happens if you sustain an injury at a company's premise but it has deregistered by the time seek damages?

In Australia, a company can deregister if it meets a number of requirements. For instance, all financial members need to agree and the company's assets need to worth less than $1000. Additionally, a business can be forced to deregister if it has not responded to a compliance notice or has become insolvent.

Deregistered companies do not exist as a legal entity and cannot do anything of their own right. However, the ASIC keeps ahold of the name and continues to monitor it through a database.

So what does this mean when seeking damages?

Dale Erwin-Jones vs. Latitude Underwriting

A recent case before the District Court of New South Wales highlights that even if a company has deregistered you may be able to seek compensation elsewhere.

In 2010, the plaintiff suffered injuries while attending an Indian restaurant owned and operated by the Sitar Group. However, because the company disbanded in 2015, the underwriter stood in the place of the company.

The plaintiff was seeking damages because she believed that her fall in the restaurant was a result of the owner's negligence. The fall and subsequent injuries, she argued, were due to a puddle of water on the restaurant floor.

The plaintiff won the case against the defendant and was awarded just over $350,000. The court believed the injuries would negatively impact the plaintiff's future economic gains, and as a result $200,000 of that settlement came from this category.

This case shows that even if a company is deregistered, there are ways to obtain settlements in relation to any injuries you may have sustained. However, as each case is unique, a deregistered company still could be an obstacle to your ability to bring legal action against another party. Thus, it is important that you seek the experience of a compensation lawyer.

At Gerard Malouf and Partners, we offer a no win no fee guarantee that can help you avoid any fiscal issues. As we know, the effects money can have on a person's ability to make a claim we ensure that nothing stands in your way. In response, we do all we can to ensure this is not a problem for you. For instance, we attain our remuneration through your successful settlement rather than large upfront costs.

Contact Gerard Malouf and Partners today to find out more.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.