Public liability claims process

Step 1: Notice of Claim

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If you want to pursue a claim for compensation, you will need to serve the respondent (the person at fault) with a Part 1 Notice of Claim within 9 months of the date of your injury, or within 1 month of consulting a lawyer – whichever is earlier.

Once the Part 1 Notice of Claim is served on the respondent, the respondent will refer the Notice to their insurer. If the respondent does not have insurance, they need to deal with the claim themselves.

If the insurer/respondent considers your Notice is not compliant, you have 1 month to rectify the non-compliance.  The insurer/respondent has 1 month from the date of service of a Part 1 Notice of Claim in which to provide their response and advise whether they are a proper respondent.

Step 2: Investigation

The insurer/respondent has 6 months to investigate your claim before advising whether they accept or deny liability, and to make you an offer of settlement.

Step 3: Compulsory conference

Once the insurer/respondent has completed their investigation, you need to participate in a compulsory conference with them to try to negotiate a settlement.

If you can reach agreement, you and the insurer/respondent will enter into a Deed of Settlement, compensation will be paid, and the process ends.

What if I can’t agree on a settlement with the insurer/respondent?

If you can’t reach agreement at the compulsory conference, you need to start court proceedings. Depending on the nature of your injury, the court proceedings will involve the Magistrates Court, the District Court, or the Supreme Court of Queensland.

To commence proceedings, you file a claim and a Statement of Claim. The insurer/respondent will respond in a Notice of Intention to Defend and Defence. You will then file a Reply to the Defence before you can engage in formal disclosure to one another.

At the conclusion of disclosure, you will participate in a court ordered mediation. This is similar to the compulsory conference, but with the involvement of a mediator to help you reach an agreement.  A mediator is usually a senior barrister or a Queen’s Counsel (QC).

If you can reach agreement, you and the insurer/respondent will enter into a Deed of Settlement, compensation will be paid, and the process ends.

If your claim is still not settled at the end of a mediation, the claim will proceed to a trial, where the judge will make a determination on your claim by ruling:

  • whether the insurer/respondent is liable to compensate you for your injury
  • the amount of compensation that you are to receive
  • whether you or the insurer/respondent will be have to pay the legal costs of the trial.

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