Public Liability

Claim Procedure Overview

Notice of Claim and Reply

The claimant must give written notice in the correct form to the respondent.  Notice must be given within 9 months for non medical negligence matters.  Within that period, 1 month after the day the claimant first instructs a law practice to act on the person’s behalf in seeking damages for the personal injury and the person against whom the proceeding is proposed to be started is identified.

A person to whom notice is given must, in writing and within 1 month after receiving it advise whether or not the person considers that it is a proper respondent to the claim.  If a respondent it must give the claimant written notice whether or not it is satisfied that the notice is a complying one.

A respondent who receives a complying notice may, within the time prescribed under the Regulations, add someone else as a contributor by written contribution notice claiming an indemnity from, or contribution towards, the respondent’s liability.  In turn a contributor must within 1 month after receiving a contribution notice, give the respondent who gave the contribution notice a written response.

Information Gathering

A claimant must cooperate with the respondent and, in particular must provide the respondent with copies of reports and other documentary material (including written statements made by the claimant or by witnesses) in the claimant’s possession about the circumstances of the accident or the claimant’s medical condition or prospects of rehabilitation.  The claimant must also comply with a request by the respondent to undergo, at the respondent’s expense a medical examination by a doctor to be selected by the claimant from a panel of at least 3 doctors nominated in the request.

Equally, the respondent must cooperate with a claimant and, in particular must provide the claimant with copies of reports and other documentary material in the respondent’s possession about the circumstances of the accident or the claimant’s medical condition or prospects of rehabilitation; and must, at the claimant’s request, give the claimant information that is in the respondent’s possession, or can be found out from the insured person, about the circumstances of, or the reasons for, the accident.

A claimant or respondent is not obliged to disclose information or documentary material if the information or documentary material is protected by legal professional privilege.

Decision on Liability

Within 6 months after an respondent receives a complying notice, the respondent must take reasonable steps to inform itself of the circumstances of the accident out of which the claim arises.  It must give the claimant written notice stating whether liability is admitted or denied; and if contributory negligence is claimed the degree of the contributory negligence expressed as a percentage.

Compulsory Conference

Before the claimant brings an action in a court for damages for personal injury arising out of an accident, there must be a conference of the parties (the compulsory conference).  Either party may call the compulsory conference at a time and place agreed between both parties; or if the relevant date (6 months after the claimant gave notice to the respondent of the claim) has passed—at a reasonable time and place nominated by the party calling the conference.

Source: Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2004