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Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering relates to the pain and difficulties you have suffered as a result of the injury. It includes the pain associated with the injury and any treatment such as surgery. It also includes suffering such as your inability to play sport, perform your old job, perform those activities you did before the accident and the stress related to the accident.
In order for you to be entitled to claim for pain and suffering you must register a level of impairment above a certain percentage. The impairment is determined in accordance with American Guidelines which are assessed as a whole person impairment. The threshold or level of impairment you need to be entitled to a claim for pain and suffering is greater than 10%.
You are normally able to be assessed for the condition after it has stabilised. This will occur at some point after you have had any major treatment such as surgery or your condition has not changed for some period of time.
If the insurer does not agree that you have reached the threshold then it will be necessary for you to be assessed by an independent assessor, appointed by the Motor Accidents Authority, who will then provide a binding determination as to whether you are over the threshold.
You can review some of the guidelines relevant to the assessment of impairment at the Motor Accidents Authority website. Otherwise for further information contact your Solicitor or ISN.

Loss of Income

Often after an accident you may not be able to return to work for a period of time, and in some cases not at all. As a result you will suffer a loss of wages or income due to being unable to return to work. At other times you may be fit to return to work but in restricted or limited duties. In these circumstances you may also be suffering a loss of income and would therefore be entitled to make a claim for that loss.
A loss of income may also be available in circumstances where you have returned to work and sometimes have returned to your normal duties however your injuries may give rise to either difficulties down the track or alternatively your injuries may over time naturally deteriorate or get worse which may result in a loss of income in the future. In those cases you may be able to claim for a loss of income on the basis that you are suffering from a loss of earning capacity or claim for a lump sum which represents that potential loss.
The claim for loss of income is payable in the past and also into the future. Any claim for loss of income is based on a net weekly rate, or after tax rate.
It is important you keep a record of any employment you have obtained after the accident as you will need to provide documents which show what earnings you have had since the accident. You would also need to show what earnings you would have earned had you not suffered the injury.
For further information regarding any claim for loss of income or economic loss you should contact your Solicitor or ISN who can provide you with further information.

Medical Expenses

After an accident you will require medical treatment. That may include treatment such as:

  1. Treatment in hospital;
  2. Consultations with your general practitioner;
  3. Consultations with specialists;
  4. Surgery;
  5. Physiotherapy and similar treatments;
  6. Medications.

You are entitled to claim for the cost of medical treatment that relates to your injuries from the accident. The expenses that can be claimed are for both expenses in the past and also into the future. For expenses in the past, it would include not only those expenses you may have paid directly but also includes expenses that are outstanding and any repayment to medicare, if medicare has paid any expenses.
You should also remember that the claim for medical expenses includes the cost of travel to and from the doctors or treatment providers. If you travel by car then you claim per kilometre, and if you travel by public transport then you claim the actual cost of the travel.
In addition to the past expenses there is also an entitlement to claim for the cost of future medical expenses. Those expenses can be assessed by a doctor who is qualified to provide comment in relation to the need for future expenses and how they will be necessary.
For further information regarding medical expenses contact ISN.

Domestic Assistance

When you have suffered injury there may be circumstances where you are unable to perform work around the house such as household cleaning duties or perhaps in circumstances where you are unable to maintain the garden or the lawns. Often, it is the same limitations and restrictions that would prevent someone performing their work duties that would prevent them from performing their domestic duties provided those restrictions are related to the injury from the motor vehicle accident.
There are two types of domestic assistance claims. The first is gratuitous care, or care provided by others such as family or friends which you do not pay for, and paid care which is care provided to you for which you pay money. 

Gratuitous Care

Gratuitous care will often be performed by people who want to help you such as family or friends and simply provide that service for free. In those circumstances, the law says that if the level of care is at least six hours per week for at least six months then you are able to claim for that care from the insurer. There are set amounts that are able to be claimed. Gratuitous care can be claimed in the past and also into the future. For details on the amounts claimed contact your Solicitor or ISN.

Paid Care

The second type of care is paid care. That is care which you have paid for such as to have the gardens done, lawn mowed or for someone to come in from an agency to have the house cleaned. In those circumstances you are entitled to claim for the money spent on those services. The claim for paid care is again payable in the past and also into the future. In the past it is claimed on the basis of what has been paid. In the future it is claimed on the basis of what is a reasonable commercial rate. The claim for care into the future is payable only after there is sufficient evidence to justify the need for care in the future.
For further information regarding paid or gratuitous care contact your Solicitor, the Motor Accidents Authority or ISN.

Further Reading


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