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The 10% WPI threshold

  • Case Study
  • 05 Jan 2018

These days one of the biggest problems we face in claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents is getting the client over the 10% threshold for pain and suffering. What a lot of people don’t realise is that unless you are assessed at at least 10% whole person impairment (WPI) you are not entitled to any amount for pain and suffering; no matter what you have been through since the accident.

This is why in all our cases for all our clients injured in motor vehicle accidents we leave no stone unturned in our endeavour to get the client assessed at greater than 10% WPI. The difference between 10% and 11% can mean over $100,000 additional compensation for pain and suffering.

A good example of this occurred for a woman from Moruya on the far south coast who came to us with a claim for quite serious injuries she suffered in a motor vehicle accident. As happens in most of these cases she went off to an independent medical assessor who assessed her as having 10% WPI. Because she needed greater than 10% she was not entitled to anything for pain and suffering even though she suffered quite serious injuries.

Not satisfied with that we made a further application for assessment on her behalf and on this occasion her impairment was increased by 1% to 11%. This made all the difference. Because she now had an assessment of greater than 10% WPI for the first time she became entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

As almost always happens in these circumstances the insurance company immediately made an application for further assessment. There was no way they wanted to pay any compensation for pain and suffering if they could possibly avoid it. Obviously we fought this further assessment very hard and in the outcome her WPI rating was increased by 3 percentage points from 11% to 14%. This meant that she held onto her entitlement to compensation for pain and suffering.

Having secured that for her we were then able to settle her matter for $235,000 and all costs were paid by the insurance company from the claim.

The moral of this story is: If at first you don’t succeed try and try again.

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