Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
Barney Must Die
Jul 21, 2008

Dog Crashes Car
Nothing is more awesome than a car crashing dog

Hoping someone might be able to give advise.

Basically the situation is that in May 2009 my wife witnessed a lady have a fall at our local shopping centre, at the time she gave her name and provided a witness statement (I believe this was added to the police report). Nothing happened after that and we never heard anything back.

Cut to now, and there is a "forensic" firm starting to harass her, they started by calling, and now today when I got back from a bike ride there was one at the front door, I asked him what he wanted and he just repeated her name to me and refused to identify himself.

Basically the conversation went like this>

Me> Hi
Him> Tina
Me> Sorry?
Me> She's asleep from doing night shifts
Him> I've left a letter for her to call me back, how is her cleaning job going?
Me> She's not a cleaner
Him> Ok

From a quick look at the letter the lady is suing the cleaning contractors at the shopping centre.

The bottom line here is that this was 3.5 years ago, my wife gave a statement back then and honestly can't recall anything about the event, and now we've got what appears to be some dodgy "we only pay if we win" type law company harassing her. She's being night shifts and has been in no mood to deal with these people so hasn't called them back as yet.

Questions are..

1/ What is the statute of limitations on this sort of civil case? ie. can this woman still sue the cleaning contractors after this period of time?

2/ Is it legal for this "forensic" company to hound my wife as she is only a witness and not suing or being sued? And is it legal for the person who came to the door to refuse to identify himself?

Thanks in advance.

Specifically we are in NSW (in case the legal for this changes state to state). This is the only info I've been able to find .. ,


johnny almond
Apr 20, 2009

I'm not an expert, but I have been subpoena'd to give evidence in civil proceedings.

If your wife is required to give evidence, it is up to the courts to find her, not some shady door knocker. The guy that gave me the subpoena came to my work, asked reception to summon me, politely explained he's a court representative and here is the paper work. Asked me if there is anything he could help with as far as general questions, then he left.

If at all possible, find out who the 'no win no fee' lawyer is.

Barney Must Die
Jul 21, 2008

Dog Crashes Car
Nothing is more awesome than a car crashing dog

Yeah, what he gave us wasn't a subpoena, it was just a templated letter with her name, the litigant and who being sued filled in on the blanks. It was so average the email address at the bottom had it's bottom half chopped off.

If it was a subpoena then it would be an entirely different matter, and they guy delivering it would legally be required to identify himself and give it to her personally.

I've done some further digging and the statute of limitations in this sort of case (as far as I can tell) is 3 years, so this has obviously been exceeded.


In NSW and Tasmania, the limitation period for a
personal injury claim continues to be three years for
adults, subject to a 'discoverability' criterion. Under
s50D of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW), an action
is not discoverable until such time as the plaintiff
knew or ought to have known that they were injured
or there was a death, that it was the fault of the
defendant and that the injury was sufficiently serious
to justify bringing an action. A long-stop limitation
period of 12 years after the act or omission allegedly
causing injury or death applies as the earlier

My wife doesn't want to call them so I'm going to call them on Monday and tell them to stop harassing us and if not we'll take it up with the police.

Jun 4, 2010

Not a personal injury lawyer myself but have two practising in NSW in the family.

Report them to the bar association if they're a legal firm. If they're a private investigator firm - which is highly likely if they're calling themselves "forensic" anything - report them to the police as licensing of PIs in NSW is handled by the NSW police.

Your wife doesn't have to talk to them or even acknowledge contact from them unless they subpoena her. While it seems odd that the police were involved, if this is a purely civil matter your wife's testimony is not going to be very useful if she can't recall what happened that night and they have only an unsworn statement from her.

Generally speaking the maximum statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years (it's two years in some cases). It is possible that the action was commenced within the SOL but that either the plaintiff's lawyers or the defendant's insurer's investigators (and it actually sound like this is who these people might be) are only now following up on statements made at the time.

If they turn up again, tell them you're going to call the police if they don't leave immediately. Have your wife advise them in writing to stop contacting her. If you can find out which insurance company is involved, make a complaint to them as well.

You don't ever have to talk to anyone who refuses to identify themselves.

Safe and Secure!
Jun 14, 2008


Maybe take pictures or video of the guy if he shows up at your doorstep again. If you can't identify him, someone else probably can.

Barney Must Die
Jul 21, 2008

Dog Crashes Car
Nothing is more awesome than a car crashing dog

I've had a chitchat to my wife about it again.

Basically she didn't see the lady fall, she was walking out of the bathroom with a friend of ours and saw the lady on the ground, she just put a tissue (or something similar) on the lady's head because she bumped it during the fall until the ambulance arrived. She gave her name at that time.

The statement was from when the lady's lawyer called her and asked some questions, they then sent what was said in written form and my wife confirmed (she can't remember if she had to sign it or not) it was right as per their conversation. So no it wasn't a police report or anything like that, it was just the lady's lawyer asking some questions to confirm what my wife saw on the day.

But yeah I agree I should have at a minimum taken down this guys license plate, I'm a bit peeved at myself right now I didn't think of it at the time


Eggplant Wizard
Jul 8, 2005

i loev catte

  • Post
  • Reply