Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre (BMCLC), commUnity+

Relief from debt for BMCLC Client

John (name changed) is an asylum seeker from an African country and on a Temporary Protection Visa granted to asylum seekers in Australia. He speaks very little English. This did not hold him back from working casually to make a basic income to support himself. All the savings that he could build up were sent overseas to pay for the medical treatment of his ill mother.

Unfortunately, John got involved in a motor vehicle accident in mid-2016 where he believed he was not at fault. But in their insurance claim, the other driver stated that John had merged into their lane and caused the collision. John was subsequently pursued by the insurer of the other driver for a total of approximately $9,500!

During the course of this file, John also experienced medical issues requiring a knee reconstruction and mental health treatment. Understandably, this was a very tough situation for him, worsened with the constant psychological pressure of having a debt that he couldn’t possibly pay.

He then approached Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre (BMCLC) for help. Given that no independent witnesses made themselves available at the scene, the lawyer at BMCLC commenced disputing liability on behalf of John and requested that the matter be closed.

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To further demonstrate to the insurer that they should stop pursuing him, the lawyer completed a notice of financial hardship and provided the insurer with a statement of financial position which showed that John’s expenses were greater than his modest income.

Following 6+ months of negotiation, John could take a sigh of relief as the BMCLC lawyer successfully convinced the insurer to close their file and stop pursuing John for the approximate $9,500.

What a great example of the how our team at BMCLC helps the most vulnerable members of our community to access justice.