When you see a lawyer and you tell them you have hurt yourself either in an accident, at work or as the result of someone else’s negligence then the first question they are likely to ask you is: “WHEN”?

Dates are very important when it comes to personal injury claims. This is because the law sets time limits for how long you have to make a claim. And it’s not the same for every type of claim.

Which time limit for which claim?

You have 12 months to lodge a TAC claim after you’ve had a car accident but the TAC has the discretion to accept it within 3 years. You have 30 days to lodge a workers’ compensation claim but the insurer has a discretion to extend that time limit. For some type of matters you have 6 years to claim lump sum compensation but for other matters this is 3 years and for some there might be no time limit! Sometimes the time limit will depend on whether or not you were an adult when you sustained injury and for others it won’t. 

What about if I don’t know when I sustained injury?

If the date that you sustained injury is not entirely clear but the injury came on gradually or you only recently became aware of it or only recently learnt how it happened, then the time limit may be up for debate. You should get urgent legal advice in this instance. 

What happens if the time limit has already passed?

For some matters, if you miss the applicable time limit you may be able to ask a court to extend your time limit. For other types of matters it’s ‘game over’.

Get legal advice

So there’s not one answer. It depends on a lot of factors. The best thing to do is see a lawyer as soon as you’re injured or at least as soon as you think you may have a claim. Even if you think you’re likely to be out of time to make a claim you should consult a lawyer. They worst that can happen is that they confirm your suspicions. Do not delay!