If you’ve been injured in an accident and you need medical treatment or you’ve had to take time off work to get better, there’s a good chance you’re due compensation. But figuring out what you’re actually eligible for can be a little confusing and time consuming.
To make the process as quick and straightforward as possible, this guide will talk you through the process and spare you the complicated legal jargon. We’ll explain who qualifies for compensation, what type of compensation you can get, how payouts are calculated and a couple of other important things to keep in mind.
Am I entitled to a compensation payout?
The first step is figuring out if you actually qualify for compensation. To do that, ask yourself these two questions:
- Have you been injured or fallen ill and it was someone else’s fault?
- Have you received medical treatment because of the accident and/or been forced to take time off work to get better because of the accident?
If you can answer yes, then you’re probably owed compensation. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if your injury or illness was due to a work-related incident, you’re still entitled to compensation even if nobody was at fault.
How is my compensation payout calculated?
It depends on your personal circumstances and how bad the injury was, but broken down, most compensation payouts are calculated by:
- Lost wages. The wages you’ve missed out on because you’ve been unable to work because of the accident.
- Medical expenses. This includes all the hospital and out of hospital treatment and care you’ve had to pay because of the accident.
- Estimated future lost wages. This compensates you if you’re still unable to work, can’t work as much or need to change your job role because of the accident.
- Non-economic loss. This is a legal term used to refer to compensation for the physical and emotional impact the accident has had on you, which can include pain and suffering and loss of quality of life damages.
To give you a better idea of how much compensation you may be owed, you can use our online claims calculator. We can also put you in touch with a personal injury lawyer who specialises in the type of compensation you’re seeking.
What are the main types of compensation payout?
Here’s a list of some of the most common types of compensation claims in NSW. If it doesn’t seem like the accident you were involved in applies to the types of compensation outlined below, don’t worry; it doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a payout. A lawyer will be able to quickly identify what type of personal injury claim you need to make.
Motor Vehicle Compensation Payout. Motor vehicle accident claims are really common in Australia. You might be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident (whether you were a driver, passenger, cyclist or rider) and it was someone else’s fault. You can receive compensation payouts for:
- Whiplash and back injuries
- A hit and run
- A pothole injury
- Bus accidents
- Motorbike accidents
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
Public Liability Compensation Payout. Public liability claims compensate you if you’re injured in a public place due to someone else’s negligence. It can include slips and falls in shopping centres, gyms and offices and sometimes leads to a serious injury claim payout depending on how bad the accident was. You can get compensated for:
- School injuries
- Restaurant injuries
- Slip and falls
- Rental property injuries
- Amusement park injuries
- Gym accidents
Workers’ Compensation Payout. Workers’ compensation protects employees if they’re injured or become ill because of a work-related incident. It doesn’t need to be anyone else’s fault for you to be entitled to compensation and you’re able to make claims for immediate and long term injuries. Depending on the type of injury you suffer you might be entitled to:
- A whole person permanent impairment payout
- A back injury compensation payout
- An RSI compensation payout
- A stress-related compensation payout
- A dust disease compensation payout
- Bullying and harassment compensation payout
Medical Negligence Compensation Payout. Medical negligence applies to situations in which a medical practitioner has been negligent, whether that’s been prescribing the wrong medicines, a surgical error or misdiagnosis. Common reasons for compensation payouts include:
- Medication errors
- Hospital negligence
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Plastic surgery
- Medical malpractice
- Prescription errors
- Surgical errors
Pain and Suffering Compensation Payout (Non-economic loss). Pain and suffering can fall under any of the types of compensation claims outlined above. It’s also sometimes called non-economic loss which is a type of compensation that essentially pays you for the detrimental effect the injury has had on your life, both physically and psychologically. According to NSW law, the maximum amount you can receive for pain and suffering for a motor vehicle accident claim is $521,000.
Pain and suffering compensation payouts – how they work
Pain and suffering claims aren’t quite as straightforward as other types of compensation because they’re not as simple as being reimbursed for lost wages or medical expenses. It’s often harder to provide valid evidence, which is why many people turn to a lawyer for help with non-economic loss damages. Claims can include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- Inability to participate in activities you used to take part in
- Functional capacity impact
- Psychological injuries, including stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of enjoyment
Whether or not you’re entitled to pain and suffering compensation depends on the circumstances surrounding your injury. For instance, if it was a motor vehicle accident and you make a CTP insurance claim, you’re entitled to pain and suffering compensation if you experienced a loss in excess of 10% of your capacities.
It’s a similar situation with claims for other personal injuries. If you were hurt in a public place or as a result of medical negligence, you are only entitled to pain and suffering if your injuries are at least 15% greater than the most extreme cases. In other words, eligibility depends on the permanent impact the accident has had on you.
Pain and suffering compensation might be a little overwhelming to try and work out for yourself but it’s something that a lawyer can assist you with. What’s My Claim Worth can put you in touch with legal professionals that work on a no win, no fee basis so that you’re not put out of pocket for seeking help. If you’re retired or don’t work, pain and suffering is often the only way to get the compensation you deserve, so it might be worth seeking professional help.
How to respond to a settlement offer
It’s common for the first settlement offer you receive to be well below what you’re entitled to. This is because when you claim compensation, it’s generally dealt with by the insurer of the individual responsible for your injury, so they’ll be reluctant to pay you the maximum compensation amount if they can help it. If you do receive a low settlement offer, here’s a summary of the next steps to take:
- Analyse the offer. You might just want to take the money and walk away, but it’s important to stay calm and consider whether you’re being properly compensated or not. This is when it can be helpful to have a lawyer analyse the contents of the offer and look at specific areas of the settlement where you may be entitled to more.
- Respond in writing. A lawyer can send a formal response in writing letting the insurer know that you’re rejecting the offer and on what grounds — for example, if you don’t feel the offer fairly reflects the pain and suffering compensation you’re entitled to, or it simply doesn’t reimburse you for all the time you’ve taken off work.
- Put together a counteroffer. A lawyer can put together a counteroffer, outlining specifically where the initial proposal fell short. At this stage, you’ll need to take into account the amount you think you deserve, the limits of the available insurance policy and the personal assets of the at-fault party in order to come to an agreement.
- Don’t settle until you’re better. You shouldn’t settle until you’re fully healed. Otherwise, it’s impossible to predict exactly how much your medical bills, lost income and non-economic damages will amount to.
When it comes to disputing settlements, getting compensation advice from a specialist lawyer is crucial, even if it’s just to seek free legal advice about the next steps to take.
How do you get the maximum compensation payout?
Follow these tips to get the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Submit your claim on time.There are time limits on how long you can wait before you make a claim. Generally, it helps to be as quick as possible so that you have no issues putting lots of evidence together.
- Get your injuries assessed. You need to go to a doctor or medical specialist and get your injuries properly assessed. Don’t be afraid to go back if you feel your injury is getting worse.
- Get all the relevant evidence. There’s no harm in being very thorough. Make sure you keep a hold of all relevant information which can include receipts, bank statements, invoices, written evidence, photos and videos.
- Speak to a lawyer. You can submit your claim by yourself but there’s a good chance you’ll overlook compensation you may be entitled to. A personal injury lawyer won’t. They’ll be able to pursue every avenue so you can get the maximum compensation payout.
What’s the average compensation payout in NSW?
Compensation payout amounts can vary massively. It all depends on the type of accident you’ve been involved in and the severity of your injuries. For instance, medical negligence compensation payouts tend to be significantly larger than damages for vehicle accidents. In 2020, the average CTP compensation payout in NSW was around $37,000*. Medical negligence claims, on the other hand, are normally finalised for less than $100,000 and around 6% of payouts are for more than $500,000**.
It’s worth keeping in mind that your compensation payout won’t be based on what others have received but rather your specific circumstances. Our online compensation calculator may be able to give you a better idea of what you can get. Once you’ve completed it, we can also help put you in touch with a no win, no fee lawyer.
*Based on SIRA Open Data, taken January 2021. There were 10,554 claims in 2020 and $393.69 million worth of payments.
**According to the data obtained from the National Claims and Policies Database (NCPD) in 2017 reported by the Australian Government Actuary.
Can I get free legal advice on compensation payouts in NSW?
Yes. Getting in touch with us at What’s My Claim Worth won’t cost you a thing. Our online claims calculator is a good place to start. It’ll give you an estimated claim range by taking into account your specific circumstances. Once you’ve done this, we can look into your case a little more and highlight what else you may be entitled to.
We can also put you in touch with a no win, no fee lawyer who’ll be able to set up a free case assessment for you. If you decide you’d like the lawyer to take your case, you’ll only be charged legal fees if your case is won.