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Putting a Price on Pain & Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim

By GC Law15 Oct 2013

pain and suffering in a personal injury compensation claim

A question we often get asked at GC Law when reviewing a case file for the first time is “What is the amount I can claim for my injury?”

This is a hard question to answer, because the amount of compensation a person receives depends on the nature and extent of their injury, their age, their need for ongoing medical treatment and their ability to return to work.

This is never easy to explain. One reason why is that the lawyers have to put a price on something that is intangible, like pain and suffering, the loss of a limb or sometimes even a death.

The job of a personal injury lawyer is to get as much compensation for the injured person as they can, while the insurance company’s objective is to pay out as little as possible.

Liability

One of the first things to consider when determining a compensation personal injury claim is the responsibilities of the parties involved for causing the injury. In car accident compensation claims, liability is usually fairly easy to determine, particularly in cases where a person is rear ended, or for example if another driver is charged for going through a red light. Passengers in a car accident will always have a claim regardless who was at fault.

Work accidents are more difficult.  Often there may be defective plant and equipment, there may be failures to warn of the risks of injury or an absence of proper instructions, there can also be a failure to conduct assessments of risks for injury. In public liability claims there can be a lack of non-slip flooring, a tripping hazard for an injury due to something falling. 

Unless fault for the injury can be established against another person, generally there will be no entitlement to compensation for personal injury.

Compensation

The more substantial the injury suffered in a personal injury case, the higher the payment for compensation will be.  This is especially so where there will be long term disability.  Claims can be made for pain and suffering, past and future out of pocket expenses and loss of income.

A jury is not allowed to decide the amount of compensation a person might recover in a personal injury compensation claim because historically juries are too generous. 

Most people during their lives will be ripped off by an insurance claim, whether it be for damage to a house, a car or for something else.  For this reason most jurors will tend to punish insurers if they get a chance, so the law now prohibits trial by jury in a personal injury case in Australia. 

For more information on compensation claims for personal or work related injuries, contact us on 1300 302 318 or use our Free Case Review process to start your claim.