What Can Be Claimed
If you have suffered injury as a result of the negligence of another you are able to claim damages or compensation. That compensation may include:
a) Pain and suffering;
b) Loss of income;
c) Medical expenses, and
d) Domestic assistance.
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. The pain and suffering is demonstrated by comparing how your life was from before the accident to what it is like since the accident and the impact the accident has had on your life.
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 assessed by comparing you to a most extreme case. The threshold or level of impairment you need to be entitled to a claim for pain and suffering is greater than 15% of a most extreme case.
Once you have reached the threshold for pain and suffering you are then entitled to claim for your pain and suffering depending on the impairment. There is a scale which determines the value of the pain and suffering. For further information regarding the scale contact your solicitor or ISN who can assist you further.
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. If treatment such as surgery has not occurred then stabilisation would often occur approximately six to eight months after the accident.
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 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 would be able to make a claim for loss of income as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident.
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.
After you have suffered injury you will often find that you will, as a result of your injuries, require treatment. That may include:
a) Visits to the General Practitioner;
b) Visits to a Specialist;
c) Cost of surgery;
f) Hydrotherapy, and
These costs, depending on the injury, can be very expensive, which in part can be covered by medicare or private health.
When you have suffered injury due to another personís negligence you are able to recover the cost of these expenses. They include not only expenses paid by medicare or private health but it also includes expenses outstanding and those paid by yourself.
In addition to the payment of past expenses you are also able to claim for the cost of future medical expenses. The expenses are usually assessed in terms of those treatments you may require in the future. The expenses can be payable for your life expectancy.
For further information regarding medical expenses contact your Solicitor or ISN.
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 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 will often be performed by people who want to help you and simply provide that service for free. Often that care will be provided by family or friends. 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.
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 that claim.
For further information regarding paid or gratuitous care contact your Solicitor, or ISN.