The most important time limit in a personal injury compensation claim, is the three year limitation period. You must start court proceedings within three years of your accident, otherwise you will lose your legal right to claim compensation.
There are limited situations where a court may extend this period, but it is important to get advice from a compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Before you can start any court action, generally you must follow what are called pre-court steps.
Different types of accidents (e.g. motor vehicle accidents, workers compensation, public liability accidents) have slightly different pre-court steps that must be followed. There are also legal time limits that apply as to when you must start a compensation claim for personal injury.
Motor Vehicle Accident or Road Accident Claims
If you have details of the vehicle at fault and it is insured, then a Notice of Accident Claim form must be lodged with the CTP insurer either within one month of your consultation with a lawyer, or nine months from the date of the accident, whichever comes first.
If these requirements are not fulfilled, you must provide a reasonable excuse for delay. Should this be the case, we highly recommend obtaining legal advice.
Uninsured or unknown vehicle
If the vehicle at fault was not insured or is unknown (e.g. hit and run), then a Notice of Accident Claim form must be lodged with the Nominal Defendant. Claims against the Nominal Defendant have different limitation periods:
A Notice of Accident Claim form must be lodged within three months of the date of the motor vehicle accident;
If a Notice of Accident Claim form is lodged after three months of the date of the motor vehicle accident, then a reasonable excuse for delay must be provided; and
If a Notice of Accident Claim form is not lodged within nine months of the date of the motor vehicle accident, you will forever lose your legal right to claim compensation for personal injuries against the Nominal Defendant.
Applying for workers’ compensation
Following an injury at work, you must make an Application for Compensation to WorkCover Queensland or directly to your employer if they are self-insured, within six months of the injury.
There is a risk that you could lose your right to claim workers’ compensation if you do not make your application in time. There are certain instances in which you will be allowed to lodge your Application for Compensation after six months, but in such a case, it is essential you obtain legal advice from compensation lawyers.
Common law claim for damages/compensation
The general three year limitation period may be extended for workers’ compensation common law damages/compensation claims. Recent changes have been made to this area of the law, so it is essential you obtain legal advice about how this affects your rights to compensation.
Public Liability Claims
To start a public liability claim, you must lodge a Part 1 Notice of Claim under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act with the person or business who you hold responsible for causing your personal injury (the respondent). The Part 1 Notice of Claim must be lodged with the respondent either within one month of your first consultation with a lawyer or nine months from the date of the accident, whichever comes first.
If these requirements are not fulfilled, you must provide a reasonable excuse for delay. Should this be the case, we highly recommend obtaining legal advice from public liability lawyers.