It is important to know your compensation claim Time Limitation
If you suffer physical or mental injury in an accident, it is important to know that a time limitation begins to run from the date of your injury.
In South Australia, section 36 of the Limitation of Actions Act 1936 allows a person claiming damages for personal injuries 3 years from the date of injury within which to bring a claim.
What if I don’t’ claim in time?
If court proceedings have not been filed within 3 years, the claim becomes statute-barred. This means that the injured person has no entitlement to claim damages.
The situation is different for children who suffer injury. A child’s 3 year time limitation does not begin to run until they turn 18, meaning that court proceedings need to be issued prior to their 21st birthday.
One of the main reasons for this is that the full impact of an injury on a child often cannot be appropriately assessed until the child is an adult. Therefore, the law allows the issuing of court proceedings to be delayed until the child reaches adult age.
Filing Court Proceedings
When a person suffers an injury, it is understandable that they are concerned about their rehabilitation and recovery. They may also be focused on trying to return to work and attempting to get back to their usual activities at home and with friends and family. The 3 year time limitation is probably the last thing on their mind.
However, to ensure the preservation of any entitlements an injured person has, court proceedings must be filed before the 3 year limitation period expires.
It is preferable to have an experienced personal injury lawyer draft and file court proceedings to ensure your right to claim damages is properly protected.
Investigation of Claim
Ideally, you should engage an experienced personal injury lawyer soon after your injury so your claim can be properly investigated and appropriate evidence can be obtained to support your claim.
This will usually include obtaining copies of your relevant financial and medical records as well as obtaining independent medical reports and, if liability is an issue, expert liability reports may assist with the claim.
The investigation of your personal injury claim and obtaining evidence should occur well before your limitation period expires. One benefit of this is that attempts to resolve your claim can potentially be made before court proceedings need to be issued.
Exceptions to Time Limitations
There are exceptions which permit a personal injury claim to be made outside the 3 year limitation period, but the requirements of the exceptions are difficult to satisfy and you will need legal advice to assist with the claim.
Whether you have recently suffered personal injury or if you have suffered personal injury more than 3 years ago, you should speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. If your personal injury claim is statute-barred, your solicitor will need to obtain detailed instructions from you and provide you with advice about whether you have reasonable prospects of satisfying the requirements for an extension of time.
Lindbloms Lawyers have a team of experienced personal injury lawyers. If you would like to discuss a claim that you may have, then please give us a call.