The law in Queensland imposes strict time limits, referred to as limitation periods, within which a civil action must be commenced in court. Claimants must be aware of these statutory time frames, as a failure to comply with same may mean that you are unable to bring a claim for damages, even if it has merit. An often-cited rationale for the imposition of limitation periods is the principle that the administration of justice becomes less efficient the longer it takes for a matter to come before the courts. 

Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) 

As a starting point and general rule, s 11 of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) imposes a three-year limitation period for actions in respect of personal injury. This includes dependency claims wherein damages are claimed in respect of injury resulting from the death of another person. 

Other time-limits are imposed by the governing legislation for a particular type of injury, particularly with respect to pre-court procedure. Below is a brief and non-exhaustive examination of the relevant limitation periods and other time limits for public liability claims. Note, however, that the determination of a limitation period for a claim for damages for personal injury is often fact-dependent, and therefore, claimants should seek timely legal advice on the issue. 

 

Limitation Period for Public Liability Matters 

Generally, a claim for damages made pursuant to the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld), must be brought in court within three (3) years of the date of injury. Similarly, a dependency claim arising out of a public liability incident must also be brought within three (3) years of the date of injury.  

Specific provisions apply with respect to actions for damages in relation to the personal injury of a person resulting from the abuse of the person when the person was a child. Pursuant to s 11A of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) no limitation periods applying to such actions. This was a recent legislative amendment, introduced as a result of the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  

 

Other Time Limits for Public Liability Matters 

The Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) imposes other time-limits in respect of pre-court proceedings that claimants should be aware of. Pursuant to s 9(3) of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld), a Part 1 Notice of Claim must be given to the respondent/s within the period ending on the earlier of nine months after the date of incident, or if symptoms of the injury are not immediately apparent, the first appearance of symptoms of the injury, or within one month after the claimant first consults a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim. Other time limits apply to the provision of the Part 2 Notice of Claim.  

Similar but specific provisions apply to claims arising out of a medical incident, with an initial notice, separate to a Part 1 Notice of Claim,  generally due on the earlier of the day nine months after the day the medical incident happened or, if symptoms of the personal injury arising out of the incident were not immediately apparent, the first appearance of symptoms of the injury, or within one month after the claimant first consults a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim. 

Other time limits may apply to claims governed by the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) and the above should not be considered an exhaustive list.  

Conclusion 

There are a number of time limits that may apply to a claim that is brought pursuant to the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld). The implications of failing to act within these time limits can be disastrous for claimants. As such, it is important that claimants act swiftly, and obtain timely legal advice in the event that they wish to do so.  

Like? Share it with your friends.