Samantha Downes

Samantha Downes
Special Counsel
Insurance Law & Litigation
Samantha Downes

Samantha has been practising as an insurance law specialist since 1993. She is experienced in all areas of general insurance litigation including personal injury, public and products liability, property damage and professional indemnity. She has also represented public and private sector clients in coronial inquests, which often attract media interest and invariably require sensitive management.


Samantha has provided strategic advice to Work Safe Victoria in the conduct, litigation and management of workers' compensation claims. Her focus is to provide a rapid and detailed assessment of potential liability and, where appropriate, negotiate the prompt resolution of claims to minimise unnecessary defence costs.

Samantha principally practises in the area of medical negligence. Since 2009 she has advised and represented the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and other medical clients in relation to medical indemnity claims, coronial investigations and policy interpretation.

Samantha advises and represents Australian and London-based insurer clients on a wide range of insurance matters including policy interpretation, strategic management of personal injury and property damage claims and the conduct of litigation. She also represents large public companies in the management of under deductible personal injury and property damage claims.

Samantha is recognised inĀ The Best Lawyers in Australia for her expertise in insurance law.

Career highlights

Samantha's experience includes advising or acting for:

  • public hospitals in high quantum medical malpractice claims with a focus on early identification of risk and scale, and strategic advice to facilitate prompt resolution in appropriate cases
  • government departments in the conduct of high profile coronial inquests and occupational health and safety prosecutions
  • a large Victorian public hospital in the inquest into the death of a track marshal during the 2001 Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix
  • a prominent hotel chain in the inquest into the death of Alisha Horan. The inquest was highly publicised, primarily because the deceased was in the company of a former AFL footballer at the time of her death
  • Australian and London-based insurer clients on a wide range of insurance matters.

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