For those who suffer an injury in the ACT, and wish to explore the possibility of a claim for compensation arising from that injury, it is important to understand that time limits apply in terms of the claims process.
Most injury claims are governed by a law called the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002. That law specifies that an injured person cannot simply commence legal proceedings in a court seeking compensation or some other outcome. The injured person must, first of all, give formal notification under the law.
Section 51(1) of that Act requires that there must be written notice given to the respondent to the claim, that is the body or person that is alleged to have caused the injury giving rise to the claim, and that such a notification must be given within 9 months of the incident giving rise to the injury or the day when the injury first appeared, or within 4 months after instructing a lawyer to advise about the claim or the date when the identity of the respondent is known. In other words, it is essential to get advice as soon as possible in order to ensure that there is compliance with these time limits.
If the injury occurred in a motor vehicle accident, there are specific time periods set out in the law governing such claims which is known as the Motor Accident Injury Act 2019. Those time periods apply to the remaining limited rights to seek common law damages arising from such a motor vehicle accident.
There is also a requirement in child abuse claims to give notification but in such claims, there is only a need to give notice at a reasonable time before commencing court proceedings.
The form of the notice is set out in the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act and includes details of the circumstances of the incident giving rise to injury and the injuries suffered.
In addition to the notification requirements, there are also limits as to the time in which legal proceedings can be commenced. Legal proceedings must be commenced during what is called the limitation period and that is dealt with under another law called the Limitation Act 1985. In general, for personal injury claims, the limitation period is 3 years and, except for workplace injuries, that time period is absolute and cannot be extended. In other words, if you have not commenced legal proceedings within 3 years of being injured, you will no longer have the right to do so.
In all the circumstances, it is important to get advice at an early time about whether or not there is a right to bring a claim for compensation, and also about the time limits which apply to such claims.
How can we help?
Contact our experience Personal Injury team at Snedden Hall & Gallop to see how we can assist you with your matter on 02 6285 8000 or by email.