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Compensation/Injury Claims: 3 Year Time Limit

Compensation / Injury Claims: The 3 Year Time Limit

Article by Townsville Lawyer, Ivan Baxter.

Senior Solicitor and Director of O’SheaDyer Solicitors Townsville.

26 August, 2021

The 3-year Time Limit

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, work accident, or in some other way because of someone’s negligence, you can pursue a claim for damages or compensation.

As a general rule, you have three years from the date of your injury to take steps to protect your legal rights or to commence a claim in a Court.


Know your Rights

Sadly, there are people who have suffered serious injuries, which have left them with ongoing symptoms and pain. The injuries have left them with physical, psychological, emotional, and financial consequences.

Many of these people may have the opportunity to pursue a claim for damages or compensation. Sometimes, after many months or even years of suffering, they still haven’t obtained legal advice or taken any steps to protect their legal rights.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Sometimes, after people receive treatment and rehabilitation, they are able to return to work, so they don’t see a lawyer or even consider they may have a claim.
  • Some people think their pain ‘is not so bad’ and don’t obtain legal advice or pursue a claim. Realistically though, as we age, the ongoing effects or symptoms of an early life injury will often become more severe.
  • Sometimes people think they will get better over time, but in fact, they actually get worse.
  • Some people don’t realise there is a possibility they can pursue a claim for damages.
  • Some people don‘t like the idea of bringing a legal action or suing someone.

While these situations are all understandable, none of them will allow you to bring an action if you are outside the 3-year time limit. The 3-year time limit is quite strict. It is critical to receive legal advice before the 3-year time limit expires.


It should cost you nothing to find out what your rights are.

Find an experienced lawyer who works in Personal Injury law and make an appointment to talk with them as soon as possible after your injury.

Most compensation/injury claim lawyers offer their services on a no win no fee basis, AND there are many who offer their first appointment as ‘no charge’.

It should cost you nothing to find out if you have a claim and to protect your future.


What if my injury prevents me from doing my usual job at work?

This is a concern that many people have after they suffer a significant injury.

While they initially return to work, ongoing symptoms may prevent them from working in their current position. This means they may need to obtain alternative employment which pays less. Or it may mean they are unable to continue working full-time and need to reduce their hours. This will also result in significant financial loss.

Many people who have suffered an injury are also worried about their long-term ability to continue working.

These are all reasons to urgently obtain legal advice from an experienced solicitor who works in Compensation / Personal Injury law. You may have a common law claim, where you can pursue damages or compensation for the financial consequences of your injury.


What if the 3-year time limit has expired?

In some very limited and very specific circumstances, the law may allow someone who has suffered an injury to pursue a claim even though the 3-year time limit has passed.

Sometimes, a person who has suffered an injury experiences a change in circumstances or has found out something ‘new’ after this 3-year period has passed. This may give them a legal basis to pursue a claim and you may be able to obtain the Court's permission to pursue a claim for damages after the 3-year time limitation has expired.

This is something you should definitely obtain legal advice about (and always from an experienced lawyer who works in this field).


What if I was a child when my injury occurred?

If someone is injured as a child, they have until they turn 21 years of age to commence a claim. However, you shouldn’t be waiting until then. A child’s parent or guardian should be getting legal advice about the circumstances as soon as possible.


What should I do?

  • Be aware there is a 3-year time limit.
  • If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, work accident, or in some other way because of someone’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim for damages or compensation.
  • It is important to get legal advice from an experienced lawyer who works in this field as soon as possible.
  • If the 3-year time limit is about to expire, you should urgently seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer to protect your rights and preserve your ability to pursue a claim.
  • Even if the 3-year period has passed, we recommend that you see a lawyer.

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Ivan Baxter is a Townsville lawyer with over 30 years of experience. He is the Director of OSheaDyer Solicitors Townsville. Ivan has experience in many areas of law including Wills + Estates, Family Law, and Litigation. He now practices exclusively in Litigation managing compensation claims.

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