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VIC Personal Injury Compensation for Assault from Thirty Years Ago?

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by victim, 5 March 2016.

  1. victim

    victim Member

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    This is a probably a long shot, but here I go.

    Thirty-four years ago, when I was 14 years old, I was staying at Melbourne with my Aunt as my legal guardian. My cousin who was also 14-years old violently assaulted me with a 1x1 inch garden stake, causing me to have a dozen stitches on my forehead. This incident was never reported to the authorities and brushed under the carpet by my family. Recently, on Facebook he has bragged about this assault and admitted to it.

    I would like to settle this inequity and gain some peace of mind. What are the chances of me seeking legal retribution and compensation in this personal iinjury matter with a positive outcome in my favor?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi victim,

    Who is it that you wish to sue? Your cousin? Or your Aunt?

    In order to sue for compensation for personal injuries, you need to establish a breach of duty. In this case, the only person who would owe you a duty would be your aunt since she was looking after you.

    It's highly unlikely a court would find that your cousin as a child of equal age would owe you a duty of care at law. This type of action has a 6 year limitation period, after which you cannot bring a cause of action unless the court at its discretion (which is not exercised lightly) decides to extend the limitation period in your case and allow the cause of action.

    You can read here about what it takes into account when making that determination: LIMITATION OF ACTIONS ACT 1958 - SECT 23APersonal injuries

    Generally, it has been exercised in cases of sexual abuse and assault where the victim has had a well-founded fear of coming forward about the abuse because they were still under the care or guardianship of the abuser and such cases.

    If you wanted to sue your cousin, then your civil recourse would be to sue for assault or trespass to person, which I believe also has a 6 year limitation period. Likely an even less chance of obtaining leave to extend the limitation period.

    If you wanted to have him prosecuted criminally, I don't believe such limitation periods would apply. However, you wouldn't have the civil recourse to compensation.
     
  3. victim

    victim Member

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    I just want a pound of flesh through legal channels. Going by what you say, there would be no right to compensation through the civil courts. However, I will settle for criminal prosecution against my cousin or aunt if that would be possible.

    What are my chances?

    Would I have to approach a lawyer or the nearest police station to where the assault occurred? What evidence should I provide?
     

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