How long do I have to make a medical negligence claim in the ACT or NSW?

If you are making a claim for a personal injury, time limits determine how long you have to make a claim. This time limit is called the “limitation period”, or commonly referred to as “statute of limitations”.

With medical negligence, people are often focused on getting better after they have been a victim of medical negligence. It is only down the track that they think to bring a claim. Sometimes it can be too late to bring a claim, which is why it is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

If you have been injured, it is very important that you know how long you have to bring a claim as the limitation periods are tight and quite strict.

Medical Negligence in the ACT

In the ACT, you have 3 years to bring a claim. The 3 years starts running from when you first know that medical negligence occurred. In some cases, people know right away that they suffered medical negligence. In other cases, people do not know that they have suffered medical until issues arise later.

Here are some examples:

  • Mrs A had surgery in January 2015. In January 2017 she discovered that the surgery was negligent. The 3 years starts in January 2017 and expires in January 2020.
  • Mr B had surgery in February 2020. He knew right away that the surgery was negligent. The time limit expires in February 2023 (3 years after the surgery date).

It is also important to note that in the ACT, there are also initial notice periods. You need to put the other side on notice of a potential claim soon after the accident or injury. If you see a lawyer, you have 4 months after instructing the solicitor to give the other side notice of a potential claim. If you do not see a lawyer, you have 9 months after the injury to give the other side notice of a potential claim.

Medical Negligence in NSW

In NSW, you must bring a medical negligence claim within either:

  • 3 years from when you discovered that the medical negligence occurred; or
  • 12 years from when the medical negligence occurred.

The date that expires first is that date that is used.

Here are some examples:

  • Mrs A had surgery in January 2015. In January 2017 she discovered that the surgery was negligent. The 3 years starts in January 2017 and expires in January 2020.
  • Mr B had surgery in February 2008. In February 2019 he discovered that the surgery was negligent. The 3 years does not apply to him. The time limit expires in February 2020 (12 years after the surgery date).
  • Miss C had surgery in January 2020. She knew right away that the surgery was negligent. The time limit expires in January 2023 (3 years after the surgery date).

What if I don’t know if I have a claim or not?

If you are outside of the limitation period, you may have lost your chance to make a claim. For this reason, it is best to deal with this as early as possible and if you decide later on that you do not want to continue the claim, you can let it go at a later date. By acting early, at least you have the opportunity available to you.

Limitation periods apply for all types of claims and the information provided here does not cover every possibility or individual circumstance. If you have suffered medical negligence but you think you are outside the timeframe, you should still seek legal advice to see if there is a possibility to make a claim. Feel free to get in touch with us and we can give you more information regarding the time limits relating to your circumstances.

If you have been injured and are thinking of making a claim, or if you are unsure about whether or not you can make one, contact us on 6206 1300.

More information:

Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence

Have you suffered as a result of malpractice or medical negligence? We know just how devastating this can be. We ...
Read More
Pregnancy - Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Pregnancy and Birth Claims

As part of our health and medical law speciality, we have had to advise expectant parents when things have gone ...
Read More
Diary Personal Injury Notebook Phone Computer

What should I keep track of after my personal injury? Our guide to your personal injury diary

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, at work, by medical negligence or suffered any other personal ...
Read More
surgical instruments

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors include cutting of arteries or nerves, performing the wrong procedures, improperly inserting a medical device, leaving instruments in ...
Read More
Wrong answer

Medical Misdiagnosis

When doctors don’t reach the right answer A doctor’s duty of care covers diagnosing health conditions and for many conditions ...
Read More
hospital operating room

Hospital Complications and Medical Negligence

By Tom Maling According to new research from the Grattan Institute, almost 11% of all people hospitalised have a complication ...
Read More

elringtons health law update – beware of the consent form

By Tom Maling A recent NSW Court case has highlighted the importance of reading consent forms thoroughly before you sign ...
Read More
Cocktail of tablets

Medications and Medical Negligence

By Tom Maling For anyone considering whether they have a medical negligence claim as a result of a medication error, ...
Read More
Row of orange pumpkins with one green one

What is Medical Negligence?

By Tom Maling A doctor owes you a ‘duty of care’ and breach of that duty which causes you an ...
Read More

Consenting to Health and Medical Treatment

By Tom Maling Consent is a fundamental part of health and medical treatment.  Without it, treatment is unlawful and a ...
Read More

Elringtons Lawyers secures $12 million settlement for client

elringtons has secured $12 million in compensation for a client in a medical negligence matter against a GP, Neurologist and ...
Read More