Time Limits in Personal Injury Claims

It never ceases to amaze me how many people in Queensland, even professionals like Doctors and Physiotherapists, do not know how long you have to sue for a personal injury claim. One Physiotherapist recently quoted 7 years as being the relevant time limit. Wrong!

In Qld an injured person only has 3 years from the date of their injury occurring (usually the date of accident) to commence proceedings in Court in relation to that injury. This is the longest period of time that you have. If you don’t sue within that timeframe, you lose all rights whatsoever to recover compensation for that injury.

But wait, there’s more!  In most cases, there are even stricter time limits within which certain steps have to be taken (inside the 3 year period) in relation to a personal injury claim.

For instance:

Where an unidentified motor vehicle (including cars, motorbikes, buses, trucks and any other vehicles travelling on the road) causes an accident, an injured person loses all rights whatsoever to bring a claim unless they have commenced proceedings in Court against the Nominal Defendant within 9 months from the date of accident.

In circumstances where WorkCover Queensland rejects a claim for compensation or makes any other decision in relation to a workers’ compensation claim (ie; like a decision to cease a claim), the injured worker only has 3 months to apply to Q-Comp for a review of that decision.

An injured person may have an entitlement to hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation but if they are out of time they are entitled to nothing and there are very few exceptions to that rule. It is extremely difficult (although not always impossible) to get an extension of the relevant timeframes.

The easiest way to avoid missing a time limit in a personal injuries claim is to ensure that if you’re injured or a decision is made on a workers’ compensation claim that effects your rights, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can provide you with advice on your rights and obligations. The initial advice will be free, so you lose nothing and potentially stand to gain a lot.

- Sean Delpopolo