Understanding Time Limitations for Compensation Claims

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 27 January 2012

Strict time limitations apply for compensation claims in most cases. Whether the claim relates to a motor vehicle accident, is a work injury, or a personal injury, use this guide for a quick overview of time requirements for bringing an action or lodging a claim, though it’s always best to seek advice from compensation lawyers in Sydney or in your state or territory for specific information on time limitations for your claim.

Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

In NSW, the Motor Accidents Authority is responsible for administering the Compulsory Third Party Scheme. Generally, a time limit of three years applies for making and settling a claim with the Motor Accidents Authority applies. However, in most cases, claim forms for motor vehicle accident personal injury claims are required to be submitted within six months of the accident.

If you’re claiming through a court, you’ll also have three years from the date of the accident to commence proceedings at a court, though it’s always best to initiate a claim or proceedings as soon as possible.

If you fail to commence action within the three years, you may not be able to claim compensation for injuries unless you apply for an extension of time on permitted grounds to the court.

If you’re claiming for property damage, the time limitation is six years from the date of the accident; however, again, it’s always best for evidentiary purposes to look into claiming as soon as possible, and to seek professional advice for your claim.

Personal Injury Cases

In NSW, the time limitation for bringing a personal injury case is generally three years. However, the date from which the three-year period starts may not necessarily be the date of injury or accident. Under the NSW legislation, the date from which to start counting is the ‘discoverable date’.

The discoverable date is generally defined to be the date from the time the injured person knew or ought to have known that they were injured.

Alternatively, there’s a ‘long-stop’ limitation period of 12 years which will apply if it’s earlier than the three-year period after the discoverable date. The long-stop limitation period starts on the date of the injury or accident.

In some cases, an extension of time can be granted by the court. To avoid running the risk of missing out on compensation, always seek professional advice if you have any doubts about calculating time limitations for bring actions and claims.

Workplace Injuries

Individuals who have experienced a workplace injury in NSW can claim through the WorkCover Authority workers compensation scheme. The time limit for making claim through this scheme is six months after the date of the injury or accident.

In some cases, you can still make a claim after the initial six months has expired (where the failure to make a timely claim is due to ignorance, mistake or absence), or even after three years (in the case of serious permanent impairment). Always seek professional advice as quickly as possible. Workers compensation lawyers in Sydney or your local area can advise you on submitting a timely claim.