Time Limit for Work Accidents
What are the Time Limits for seeking Compensation for an Injury Sustained in Queensland?
Serious workplace injuries can have a devastating effect on your life and those of your loved ones. Many people that I have acted for in the past are so focused on undergoing rehabilitation and rebuilding their lives that they lose sight of the important time limits that apply to these type of accidents.
If you have suffered an injury at work you may be entitled to claim statutory workers’ compensation benefits (i.e. medical treatment, rehabilitation and incapacity benefits). To do this, you should first lodge an Application for Workers’ Compensation with the Workers’ Compensation Insurer within 6 months of the event.
Once your injury has stabilised, that is, you have reached your maximum medical improvement, you may be assessed for Permanent Impairment and issued with a Notice of Assessment. In that case, you have 20 business days from receipt of that Notice to accept, challenge or reject it. This time limit is particularly important if you have suffered a work injury on or after 15 October 2013 and the permanent impairment is assessed at 5% or less, because you may lose your entitlement to claim damages at Common Law for that injury altogether if you have not requested a review of that assessment within time.
Depending on the circumstances of the injury, you may be entitled to pursue a Common Law Damages claim for your work injury. Common Law damages are designed to compensate you for the effects of your injury on your life. Typically, these damages may compensate for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, income loss (including the future), out of pocket expenses and future expenses that may be incurred in treating your injury.
If you are eligible to pursue a Common Law claim for damages for your work injury, then you must start this process by lodging a compliant Notice of Claim for Damages form. You must lodge this form within 3 years of the date of your injury, otherwise you will lose your entitlement to claim those damages altogether. There are some exceptions to the “3 year” limitation period in the cases of persons who are under the age of 18 years or under a legal disability (e.g. incapable of providing legal instructions due to brain injury or otherwise).
In summary, the most important time limits are as follows:
Within 6 months of date of injury you should lodge an Application for Workers’ Compensation for statutory benefits.
Within 20 business days of receiving a Notice of Assessment (for permanent impairment), you must decide whether to accept, challenge or reject the assessment.
Within 3 years of date of injury, if you intend to claim compensation at Common Law for damages arising from your injury, you must lodge Notice of Accident Claim Form, otherwise you will likely lose your entitlement to claim altogether.
What should I do if my limitation date will expire soon or I’m not sure when the relevant time limits commenced?
If you think you may be approaching one of the above limitation dates or are unsure as to when the above time limits may have commenced in your case, you should immediately contact a lawyer.