Pain and Suffering

If you’ve had an accident, what compensation can you expect to pay for pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is also called general damages or non-economic loss. It is what you are awarded as damages for the effect an injury has had on your life. It includes compensation for such things as;

  • Actual pain and suffering experienced
  • The pain and suffering you will experience in the future
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • The inability to participate in your pre-injury sports, hobbies and recreational activities.
Just because you have experienced or may experience pain and suffering does not necessarily mean that you will be entitled to compensation for it. It very much depends on the circumstances in which you were injured as to how much and even if you can claim for pain and suffering. As crazy as it may sound your entitlement to compensation for pain and suffering is different if you were injured in a car accident, at work or in a public place. The reason for this is that the law is different for each type of accident.

Pain and suffering compensation is a very important part of any claim. For many claimants such as students, housewives, retirees and the unemployed, who cannot claim any wage loss, this can often be the largest part their claim.

Below are short explanations of how pain and suffering compensation is assessed in different types of claims:
If you have had a motor vehicle accident you are only entitled to claim for pain and suffering compensation if you have a whole person impairment (often shorten to WPI) of 11% or more. If the insurer does not agree that you have WPI of 11% or more then you have to be assessed by a doctor appointed by the Motor Accidents Authority (MAS).

Most people think this should be fairly easy to establish. However, doctors who assess WPI are appointed by MAS and are required to apply a set of guides that were developed in America and which were never intended to be used for compensation purposes.

As a result we find that many clients, often with very serious injuries, are assessed at not having 11% WPI and therefore do not get anything for their pain and suffering. In fact, in our experience, at least 80% to 90% of all injured motor vehicle accident victims miss out on compensation for pain and suffering altogether.

Consequently it becomes all important in every case to do all that we possibly can to get the client assessed at 11% WPI or more. Our motto when it comes to this is, “If at first we don’t succeed then try, try again.”

If you are entitled to compensation for Pain and Suffering the most you can get is $477,000. However that amount is usually reserved for the most serious of injuries.

If you want the best chance of getting pain and suffering compensation call us today.
Pain and suffering compensation in a public liability/common law claim in NSW is worked out on a sliding scale by reference to a most extreme case.

There is no requirement for medical assessment to determine eligibility to claim pain and suffering compensation. However it is necessary for a judge to make an assessment as to how an injury has affected a person by reference to a most extreme case. A most extreme case would be injuries like paraplegia, serve brain damage or multiple amputations.

A judge will assess a person’s injuries and its effect on their life and give them a percentage of a most extreme case. That percentage then equates to a lump sum. A 100% of a most extreme case is entitled to $551,500. If a person is assessed at 14% or less they get nothing. 15% is worth only $5,500. A person needs to be assessed as being greater than 29% of a most extreme case to get more than a $100,000 for pain and suffering.

If you want the best chance of getting pain and suffering compensation call us today.
If you have had a work injury you are only entitled to claim for pain and suffering compensation if you have a whole person impairment (often shorten to WPI) of 11% or more. If the insurer does not agree that you have WPI of 11% or more then you have to be assessed by a doctor appointed by the Workers Compensation Commission called an Approved Medical Specialist (AMS).

The amount of compensation depends upon the level of WPI. For example 11% WPI would entitle you to $15,400, 30% $57,750 and 75% and over $220,000.

Most people think this should be fairly easy to establish. However, doctors who assess WPI are appointed by Workers Compensation Commission and are required to apply a set of guides that were developed in America and which were never intended to be used for compensation purposes.

For people who made claims for permanent impairment compensation before 19 June 2012 a separate allowance for pain and suffering could be awarded on top of the percentage of WPI.

If you want the best chance of getting pain and suffering compensation call us today.

Stephen Paul Firth
Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law

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