When it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim in New South Wales, it is essential to be aware of the statutory time limits that apply to such claims. These time limits, also known as limitation periods, set a specific timeframe within which a claim must be filed. In this article, we will explore the importance of statutory time limits, their purpose, and the implications of missing these deadlines in personal injury claims in NSW.

Purpose of Statutory Time Limits

Statutory time limits serve several important purposes in personal injury claims:

1. Promoting Timely Resolution
Limitation periods encourage claimants to promptly pursue their claims, promoting the timely resolution of legal disputes. This ensures that evidence and witnesses’ recollection of events are still fresh, leading to a fairer and more accurate assessment of the claim.

2. Certainty and Finality
Time limits provide certainty and finality in legal proceedings. Once the limitation period expires, the claimant is generally barred from pursuing the claim, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

3. Protecting Defendants’ Interests
Statutory time limits also protect the interests of defendants by preventing claims from being brought after an extended period. This allows defendants to have certainty and closure, knowing that they will not be indefinitely exposed to potential legal action.

Statutory Time Limits in NSW

Some key limitation periods in NSW include:

1. Personal Injury Claims: The general limitation period for personal injury claims, including negligence claims, is three years from the date the cause of action arises. This means that a claim must be commenced within three years from the date the injury occurred or the date the claimant became aware of their injury or discovered that there was a cause of action (whichever is later).

2. Motor Accident Claims: these cases have very specific time limits in relation to lodgement of claim forms, reporting to police and commencement of proceedings. We intend to publish a separate article about this, but extreme care must be exercised when it comes to time limits and motor accident claims.

3. Claims for Institutional Abuse: statutory time limits have been removed in respect of these cases. This was a welcome development for survivors of institutional abuse. We refer the reader to our article on this subject, published on our website.

This is not a comprehensive list of all statutory time limits for personal injury claims and as outlined above, careful consideration must be given to this issue. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and it is necessary to look at the individual circumstances of each case. Legal advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.

Statutory time limits play a crucial role in personal injury claims in NSW. Understanding and adhering to these time limits is essential for claimants seeking compensation for their injuries. Failing to commence legal proceedings within the specified timeframe can have significant consequences, potentially depriving claimants of the compensation they deserve. It is advisable to seek legal advice promptly after sustaining an accident or injury, to ensure compliance with the applicable statutory time limits and protect one’s rights in pursuing a personal injury claim in NSW. We welcome your enquiries in this regard.