Injured People

How Much Injury Compensation Can I Claim?

TGB Personal Injury Lawyer Belal Moraby on how injury compensation claim payments are calculated.

TGB Personal Injury Lawyer Belal Moraby on how injury compensation claim payments are calculated.


For people injured in motor accidents in South Australia on or after 1 July 2013, laws have changed that impact your entitlements and this article may not be relevant to you. Click here for information relating to the new laws.

Claimants for personal injuries in South Australia can be entitled to compensation under a number of heads of damage.

These heads of damage are assessed by looking at case law and applying statutory rules.

Let’s break it down.

Pain & Suffering

This is typically the first head of damage looked at by lawyers and insurers.

It is based on a legislated points scale between 1 and 60.

For example, a person who has sustained injuries leaving them significantly impaired for a period of just over seven days may be entitled to at least one point on the scale.

At the other end of the spectrum, a person who has sustained catastrophic injuries and is, for example, wheelchair-bound for the rest of their life, may receive between 50 and 60 points.

Lawyers look to case law to provide guidance on the range of points one may receive under this head of damage.

In 2011, the multiplier is $1,450.00 for 1 to 10 on the points scale and increases to $8,690 from 50 to 60. The multiplier for earlier years is less.

The maximum award of 60 points for injuries sustained in 2011 equates to $303,980.00.

The majority of claims for pain and suffering fall in the range of five points ($7,240) to 15 points ($28,950).  Ultimately, your entitlement to damages under this head of damage will be based on the available medical evidence and case law.

Past Economic Loss

In order to obtain damages under this head of damage you need to prove that your injuries were productive of a loss.

There is no entitlement for the first five days off work.

Evidence in the form of a letter from your employer, sick certificates and tax returns may help to substantiate your claim for lost income.

It is also possible to claim interest and loss of superannuation.

Future Economic Loss

You may also have a claim for loss of future earnings.

Again, your injuries must be or likely to be productive of a loss for you to receive an award under this head of damage.

Any claim for future loss of earnings may be discounted on account of contingencies.

Tax returns can often be helpful but an opinion from your doctor or specialist about any permanent disability you may have will be critical.

When calculating a loss of future earnings, Courts consider that when you settle your claim you are receiving a lump sum now rather than over a period of time.

When working out future economic loss lawyers will use ‘actuarial’ calculations as a guide to determine your true entitlement on the premise that by receiving your damages today, the monetary amount is not being subjected to inflation and other factors.

Your lawyer will explain this in more detail.

Future Medical Expenses

Any entitlement under this head of damage will depend on the medical reports of your treating doctor or specialist.

Allowance can be made for aids and equipment as well as for replacements.

Voluntary and Paid Services  

You may be entitled to an amount for voluntary and/or paid services which you would not have needed had it not been for the accident.

You will be required to provide evidence to support the level of assistance you need and the cost of same.

Medicare

Any treatment that you have put through Medicare for which the insurer is responsible for can be recovered by Medicare.

Centrelink

If you have received Centrelink monies in the period post-injury, Centrelink may seek a recovery from your damages.

This is calculated according to a prescribed formula and will usually only apply when a settlement includes an amount in respect to lost earnings, or lost capacity to earn.

Summary

Each head of damage will need to be supported by evidence.

The above are not hard and fast rules but should give you a fair idea what Lawyers are thinking when crunching the numbers.

TGB is South Australia’s largest plaintiff law firm. For a free interview to find out if you are entitled to compensation, contact your nearest TGB office.