Time limits for personal injury claims in Queensland

by | Injury Compensation, Personal Injury, QLD

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you can make a compensation claim under personal injury law.

However, you should act promptly as there are time limits (or statute of limitations) on personal injury claims. And different claim types have different limits.

Missing the time limits for notifications and claim submissions could cause your claim to be rejected. Find out more about time limits for a range of personal injury claims.

Types of personal injury

A ‘personal injury’ can be physical, psychological or emotional, including a fatal injury. If you have suffered a personal injury caused by someone else, you may be able to claim compensation to assist you and your family while you recover.

There are several different types of personal injury claim. The main ones are:

  • public liability claim – through insurance that covers organisations if someone is injured on their premises
  • motor vehicle claim – through compulsory third party insurance that covers vehicle owners if someone is injured in an accident they cause
  • medical negligence claim – through insurance that covers medical professionals if someone suffers physical, mental or emotional harm or loss due to their negligence
  • workers compensation insurance – a no-fault scheme that provides compensation for employees who become injured or unwell due to their work
  • total permanent disability claim – a lump sum payout if an injury or illness is serious enough to prevent someone from working.

Time limits for various personal injury claims

There are time limits for different stages of the personal injury claim process, including notifying the other party that you’re making a claim against them and submitting a claim/commencing court action.

These are the different statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Queensland.

Public liability

Under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002, you must send the other party a Part 1 – Notice of Claim within either:

  • 9 months of the incident that caused the injury or when symptoms first appeared 
  • 1 month of instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf.

You have 3 years to make all legal action from the day the incident occurred.

Medical malpractice

Under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002, if your claim relates to medical treatments or procedures, you must provide a brief Initial Notice within either:

  • 9 months of the incident that caused the injury or when symptoms first appeared 
  • 1 month of instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf.

You must then provide a Part 1 – Notice of Claim within 1 year of getting a response to the initial notice (or 6 years if the injured person is a child).

Workers compensation

Under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, if your injury is work related, you must provide an Application for Compensation within 6 months of the injury. 

Motor vehicle 

Under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, if your claim relates to a motor vehicle accident, you must provide a Notice of Accident Claim Form within:

  • 9 months of the injury 
  • 1 month of consulting a lawyer (rather than instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf).

If the at-fault vehicle is unregistered or the driver can’t be identified, you must notify the Nominal Defendant within 3 months of the accident. If you don’t provide this notice, you will lose the right to make a claim after 9 months.

You generally have 6 months from the accident date to make a claim.

When children are the injured party

When a child is the injured party, the obligation to notify the other party starts when the child turns 18. They have 3 years (until they’re 21) to make a claim. A child under the age of 18 can’t lodge a claim themselves.

However, if you’re the parent or guardian, you have the right to claim compensation on behalf of your injured child. You can send the notification before the child turns 18.

If a child suffers a personal injury, the time limit to make a compensation claim is different than for adults. And it depends on the type of claim you’re making. It’s best to get legal advice if you need to make a claim for a child.

How long to wait before making a claim for personal injury

As you only have 1 month to notify the other party if you consult or instruct a lawyer (depending on the claim), you should start your claim as soon as possible.

Claiming compensation after statute of limitations expires?

While there are some exceptions, generally you must provide the necessary notification within the prescribed time limits.

This is particularly important if you wish to commence legal proceedings. If the statute of limitations expires, you may lose your right to bring legal action except under exceptional circumstances.

A court may choose to grant an extension in these circumstances, after considering factors such as:

  • how long the delay has been
  • what caused the delay
  • the type and extent of the injury.

It’s up to the court to decide whether to grant the extension, and you shouldn’t assume that you will get one. Always aim to make your claim before the time limits expire.

Getting experienced legal help

It’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side when you need to make a claim. Someone with knowledge of this area of law will:

  • diarise important dates
  • check the legislation for time limits
  • respond promptly to all requests for information and documents
  • never assume that a court will waive a time limit or grant and extension
  • always be aware of pending expiry dates when negotiating with other parties
  • have processes in place to prevent delays when business changes and other disruptions occur
  • never leave important tasks to the last minute.

At Main Lawyers, we have years of experience with different types of personal injury claims. We stay on top of every important date so we don’t miss a thing.

If you have suffered a personal injury, don’t delay making a compensation claim. Contact us today to get started.

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