Road accident victim loses damage claim against State

National, Normal


A SIMBU woman, seeking claims against the State as a result of a road accident has her application thrown out by the Waigani National Court because her lawyer failed to handle the matter properly.
Janet Karl, 30, of Chuave, Simbu province, received physical injuries in the motor vehicle accident near Tokarara, NCD, in June 2003.
According to court documents, the car she was in was hit by a police vehicle and she spent a month in hospital recovering from injuries to various parts of her body.
Mrs Karl took the driver of the police vehicle to court and successfully convicted the driver.
However, she never lodged any complaint of claim against the State until recently when she became aware of her right to pursue her claim.
She was also aware that she had to comply with the requirements of section 5 of the Claims By and Against the State Act, one of which is to give notice of intention to make a claim within six months of the accident.
In March last year, she engaged lawyers to pursue her claim and several letters were sent to the Attorney-General’s office seeking extension of time to give notice of claim by the applicants lawyers.
But the Attorney-General refused the extension, prompting Mrs Karl’s lawyers to take the matter to court, seeking the courts power to order extension of time.
Mrs Karl’s claim was statute barred under the Frauds and Limitation Act, and that was the reason why she sought orders for extension of statutory time limit under section 155(4) of the Constitution.
“From the way this file has been handled, it appears to me that no urgency was given to the matter. There appears to be a casual attendance to the matter rather than urgent,” Justice Salika said.