Law firm Slater and Gordon is investigating the legal rights of residents and property owners following the destructive bushfire in Perth’s hills on January 12.
The Parkerville blaze tore through hundreds of hectares of bush, destroying 56 homes in its path.
Slater and Gordon commercial and project litigation lawyer Ben Hardwick said the firm would provide advice to bushfire victims about their rights to pursue compensation for their losses.
“The Parkerville bushfire has had a devastating impact on the residents of the Perth Hills community and dealing with the aftermath is extremely stressful,” Mr Hardwick said.
“We often find that even people with insurance will suffer losses which are not covered by their insurer and victims deserve to know where they stand legally.
“In a bid to make sure the interests of victims are represented, we will provide legal advice to people who suffered personal and property losses because of the fire.”
Prominent bushfire lawyer Kevin Banks-Smith said that he and Slater and Gordon would closely follow EnergySafety’s investigation into the fire.
“What’s clear at this early stage is the responsibility of maintaining power poles on private property needs to be reviewed and clarified,” he said.
“We don’t think it’s black and white that residents are legally responsible for the ongoing maintenance of private power poles generally, but in this case, we have what appears to be a Western Power meter on the pole which caused the fire.
“We believe there are questions to be answered about the extent of Western Power’s responsibility and what could have been done to prevent this fire.”
Mr Banks-Smith has been appointed to act as a consultant to the firm. He has previously represented groups impacted by the Tenterden Fire of 2003, the Toodyay Fires of 2007 and 2009, and the 2011 Roleystone/Kelmscott fire.
Mr Hardwick said Slater and Gordon had run a number of class actions representing people who had experienced personal and financial losses.
“We currently act for more than 60 property owners affected by the Margaret River bushfires, and if there is a case to be brought in this instance, we have the necessary experience,” he said.
Residents seeking further information about the legal implications and their rights regarding the Parkerville Fire can contact Slater and Gordon on 1800 555 777.