Liability and Limitations Periods

In contrast to the recent NSW District Court case of Brian v Burders Lane Enterprises Pty Ltd ,  the ACT Supreme Court recently extended the limitation period by 14 months in the case of Chitasing v Lennock Phillip Pty Ltd.

Background

Mr Chitasing claimed that in May 2006 he suffered an initial injury in the course of his employment which included fixing bullbars to motor vehicles. He submitted a workers’ compensation claim at the time which was accepted and his treatment expenses were paid. Mr Chitasing claimed that after he returned to work, his injuries were aggravated resulting in eventual surgery and an ability to only perform light duties. Mr Chitasing’s employment was terminated in January 2009 as his employer had no suitable work for him. He sought legal advice in July 2009 when he was first advised that he had already missed the time limit to commence legal proceedings.

Decision

The court considered its discretion to extend the limitation period if satisfied that it is just and reasonable to do so. The court took into account the relatively short delay of 14 months,  that the employer’s insurer had been notified of the injury shortly after it occurred and had been kept informed of the medical situation and obtained medical reports. Given the above, the court found that on balance, it was in the interests of the parties to grant the extension of time.

Lesson

If you are injured at would or otherwise, you have a limited time to commence legal proceedings. While the court does have a discretion to extend the time period, this is not guaranteed and there are other consequences, such as having to pay the other parties’ legal costs.

For more information contact:

Matthew Bridger | e: mbridger@elringtons.com.au | p: 02 6206 1300 http://elringtons.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Specialist-accreditaion.jpg