Case Note: Crawford v Forna [2016] QSC 309

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Facts

Ms Crawford sustained injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident in December 2007. She commenced a claim under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld) in February 2008 against the other party’s insurance company, RACQ Insurance. Due to significant delays in the progression of her claim, Ms Crawford sought an extension of the three year limitation period for personal injury claims. [1] An extension was granted to her in December 2010. However, the court ordered that an action for damages be commenced within 60 days after a compulsory conference in which the parties come together in an attempt to resolve the issue, or within a further period agreed by the parties or ordered by the court.[2]

Following further yet delays, the court ordered that if the compulsory conference was not held on or before 28 November 2015 it was to be dispensed with, and proceedings commenced within 60 days therefrom.  No compulsory conference took place and Ms Crawford failed to commence proceedings within the 60 day period.

RACQ Insurance argued that the court order effectively imposed a time limit on the commencement of proceedings. Given that she did not do so, her claim was barred.[3]

Issue

The issue before the court was whether Ms Crawford’s failure to commence proceedings by the specified date barred her claim.

Held

Douglas J agreed with RACQ Insurance. His Honour stated that the court order fixed a time limit in which proceedings needed to be commenced. As Ms Crawford failed to do so, her action was barred and she was not granted permission to commence proceedings.

Lessons Learned

This case illustrates the importance of being diligent in commencing personal injury claims, as well as adhering to court orders.

For more information regarding injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident

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Written by Eduardo Cruz (Senior Associate) and Brooke Nickerson (Law Clerk).

[1] Section 11 Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld)

[2] Section 51D(1) of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld)

[3] See sections 51D(4)(b) and 51D(5) Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld)