Any claim for damages for personal injury must be made within three years of the accident. With a claim for damages on behalf of a child the three year period does not commence until the child turns 18 years of age. However, most actions on behalf of infants are commenced and disposed of before then. The action is usually commenced in the name of one of the parents as the 'next friend of the child'. If an action has been commenced on behalf of the child and the claim is settled, that settlement is not operative until approved by a judge of the court in which the proceedings have been commenced.
When claiming compensation for personal injuries arising out of an accident, it is best to seek legal advice. Generally it will not be possible to settle a claim until the extent of the injuries are clear. This may not occur until a person recovers or until the injury stabilises. Depending on the nature of the claim and the seriousness of the injuries, the claim can be dealt with in one of two ways:
- the claim can be settled directly with the Allianz, or
- a common law action for damages can be taken and either settled during the proceedings or, if not settled, decided by a court.
If the injuries are minor and there is no continuing disability, it is usually advisable to attempt to settle the claim without going to court. This is done by giving Allianz the relevant information enabling them to assess the value of the claim and to pay an agreed figure. Usually this procedure will bring a quicker settlement. Where proceedings for personal injuries are taken in court, the Magistrates Court will hear claims up to $80 000, the District Court and the Supreme Court both have power to hear and determine claims for unlimited amounts. All actions for personal injury or death arising from motor vehicle accidents are now tried before a judge or a magistrate without a jury.
The first step in making a claim is to contact Allianz who will provide a claim form to be completed.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.