As explored in our previous post, How long do I have to decide whether I want to make a personal injury claim?, the Limitations of Actions Act 1974 provides that any claim for damages for personal injury must be brought within 3 years from the time the cause of action arose. In cases where the cause of action requires proof of damage (for example, negligence) then the limitation period commences at the time the injury was first suffered. In these circumstances, there may be grounds for an extension of the limitation period, which we will visit in another post. The most important thing that you need to know is that there are strict personal injury deadlines you need to adhere to in order to have any chance at success.
Personal Injury deadlines in PIPA
However, Queensland also has strict pre-court guidelines that must be adhered to so that you don’t void your ability to make a claim. Very important personal injury deadlines are found in the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) (“PIPA”). Section 9(1) to (3), which states that a person considering personal injury action must first give written notice of the claim, in the approved form, to the proposed defendant within the earlier of:
(a) the day 9 months after the day the incident giving rise to the personal injury happened or, if symptoms of the injury are not immediately apparent, the first appearance of symptoms of the injury; or
(b) the day 1 month after the day the claimant first instructs a law practice to act on the person’s behalf in seeking damages for the personal injury and the person against whom the proceeding is proposed to be started is identified.
If you fail to stay within these timeframes, you will encounter many difficulties when lodging a claim unless, among other things, the defendant waives the notice requirement or the court authorises the claim to proceed (as per section 18 of PIPA).
The bottom line is that the sooner you decide to take action, or seek advice, the better. If you are injured, or become aware of symptoms caused by injury, then you are best to see a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Even if your final decision is to not file a claim, or to be self-represented through litigation (acting without a lawyer), a timely initial consult with a personal injury lawyer could mean the difference between being eligible to claim damages, or not. Remember, in personal injury matters, time is of the essence!
If you wish to have a free consultation with one of our Queensland injury lawyers to ensure that you stick to your personal injury deadlines, you can contact our office on (07) 3252 0011 or through our general enquiries page.