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Time Limits to Make a Personal Injury Claim

Sand timer to show personal injury time limits

If you have been injured and wish to make a claim for compensation, you will need to engage the services of a personal injury law expert who can help you through this legal process. As with most things in law, there are time limits associated with making a claim.

In order to first be able to make a claim for compensation you will need to show: 

  • That you have suffered a personal injury; and
  • that your injury resulted from someone else’s actions.

Once you have established that you may have a claim, you will have a specific timeframe in which to commence an action against the party who is responsible. As a general rule, a legal action for compensation must be commenced within three years of the date the personal injury occurred. However, there are specific laws which relate to injuries which arise due to:

If you miss the specific deadlines, your claim will be barred by the statutory limits and you will lose all rights to claim compensation. 

This article explains the general and specific time limits for different types of injuries, and also explains relevant time limits associated with court procedures. This information applies to incidents that occurred in the State of Queensland including Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane personal injuries.

Workplace injury claims

Calendar and time limits that apply to a workplace claim

While a general three year time limit exists for personal injury claims, the time limit for making a claim under WorkCover is much shorter. 

A claim for workers compensation must be made within six months of the date of your injury or incident. You must also ensure you report a work injury within 6 months.

  • You may be able to make a claim after this six month period has elapsed, but only if you can demonstrate that you were unable to make a claim previously. 
  • Reasons for being unable to make a claim may be because you were absent from the state in which your injury occurred, or if you were not aware of your injury until some time after the injury occurred. 

It is important that if you have been injured at work that you advise your employer of your injury as soon as possible. This is because you need to be able to prove that your injury happened at work or in connection with your employment. If you delay advising your employer it may be harder to connect your injury with the events as they happened at work. 

If you intend to then sue your employer for negligence (otherwise known as a common law claim) you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.

As with any other type of compensation, legal advice in the early stages is helpful in ensuring that time limits are met and that all relevant avenues for compensation are pursued.

Road injury claims

Starting a road injury compensation claim

Being injured in a road accident can be highly difficult and stressful. It is natural that you will want to get back on your feet again as soon as possible. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver you will be able to make a claim for motor vehicle injury compensation for the injuries and damage suffered in your accident. 

A claim for compensation must be made by providing written notice to the insurer against which the action is being brought within nine months of the accident (or the first symptom of your injury if not immediately apparent), or within one month of consulting a lawyer about your claim - whichever comes first. 

  • Road accident injury compensation claims are made by taking action against the at-fault driver’s compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance provider.
  • If you are injured by a driver who is uninsured or unidentifiable, you will be able to claim through the Nominal Defendant, a statutory body established under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 to compensate those injured by a driver with no CTP. 

We can provide advice on all types of compensation and assist with the process, but it is important that legal advice is obtained as soon as possible when making a claim for road injury compensation.

Delays in making a claim can be detrimental to the compensation process and may interfere with your ability to recover compensation.

Public place injury claims

When you have been injured in a public place such as a supermarket or playground and your injury was caused by the negligence of the party responsible for the public place, you may be able to seek compensation. A public place injury claim is made against the negligent party’s insurance provider. 

Trampoline playground public place injury

A claim for compensation must be made by way of official Notice of Claim served on the party you believe to be at fault within nine months of the injury, or within one month of consulting a solicitor about your claim, whichever is first.

  • If you fail to comply with the time limits set out then you will need to provide a reasonable excuse for the delay.
  • If the delay was found to be reasonable, then the usual three year limitation period for personal injury compensation applies. 

Depending on your accident and injuries, there may also be other time limits in place and relevant factors to adhere to. This is why early legal advice is vital to ensure your claim progresses smoothly and you are not barred from seeking appropriate compensation.

Injured and under the age of 18?

For minors, the obligation to serve the other party with a Notice of Claim begins when the child turns 18. That is, the relevant statutory time limit commences when a person turns 18.

For example, a child may have been injured at 16, but the limitation period commences when the child turns 18. 

Scale of justice and seeking expert legal advice

  • A parent or guardian may commence an action on behalf of a minor before they turn 18.
  • In the case of medical negligence claims, a parent or legal guardian of a minor must serve a Notice of Claim within 6 years of the day when the parent or guardian knew or ought to have known of the injury.

It is vital that you seek legal advice if your child has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence so that you have a full understanding of the rights and responsibilities you face in commencing action for compensation.

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Last update on:
September 7, 2020
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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