In Queensland, the Limitation Act imposes strict time limits within which a personal injury claim can be commenced by court proceedings. If the legal proceedings are not commenced within these time limits or time frames, the claim is deemed to be statute barred. This forms what we call a complete defence to the claim.
How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
The time frame for claims for damages for personal injuries (whether it be a workplace accident or otherwise) must be commenced within three years of the injury occurring. For example, if your injury occurred on 1 July 2011, court proceedings must be commenced before 1 July 2014.
Can I get an extension of time to lodge a claim for personal injuries?
In very limited circumstances, a court has the discretion to allow an extension of time within which the proceedings can be commenced. This can include when a person suffers an injury but is unaware of the injury, or the extent of the injury, until the limitation period has expired i.e. lung disease.
This allowance may be made if it can be shown that the injured person did not have knowledge (or reasonable means of knowledge) of a critical aspect of their case until after the expiry of the limitation period. A critical aspect of one’s case must relate to either the accident or the damage suffered being beyond the injured person’s means of knowledge.
It does not include the failure to obtain legal advice to understand the impact of the damage suffered.
The court also considers whether or not the injured person acted reasonably in the circumstances, including the attendance upon a GP or other medical professionals to seek treatment and rehabilitation.
Should I get legal advice?
Each case is very different and other time limits and critical dates can apply depending on the circumstances of the event that caused your injury and what legislation applies.