What Compensation Am I Entitled to After a Car Crash?

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Often when we meet with a new client, one of the first questions they ask is what can they be compensated for after a car accident and how much compensation will they receive.

To properly answer this question, we like to break the type of compensation into categories to and explain the types of compensation that our clients are entitled to.  Then we begin investigating our client’s individual circumstances so as to be in a better position to more accurately calculate the exact amount of our client’s entitlements.

In undertaking this exercise we like to start by differentiating compensation claims between property damage and personal injuries.

Property Damage Compensation

Property damage compensation is compensation that is paid to you by either the driver responsible for the accident or their comprehensive insurer.

Property damage compensation itself can be broken into a number of sub-categories detailed below:

  1. The actual damage to your vehicle or personal property – Assuming your vehicle requires repair works for damages that has been caused to it by the accident (or alternatively is “written off”) you will be entitled to be compensated (reimbursed) for the cost of the repairs or the red book value of your vehicle in the event that it is written off. Alternatively, if you have property in your vehicle at the time of the accident that is damaged you will ordinarily be entitled to the costs associated with repairing the property (or replacing it in circumstances where it is destroyed).
  2. Costs of a hire car. – In the event that it is necessary for you to hire a car to use whilst your vehicle is being repaired you will ordinarily be entitled to recoup the hire costs.
  3. The financial loss of the use of your vehicle – In limited circumstances (e.g. where your vehicle is used for a commercial purpose such as a delivery truck or a taxi) you may be entitled to be compensated for the financial loss that you suffer as a result of your vehicle being off the road.

Personal Injury Compensation

A person injured as a result of a car accident is entitled to Compensation for personal injuries in circumstances where they have suffered an injury (irrespective of how significant) arising from an accident in which the other driver was at fault.

Injury compensation is itself broken into a number of distinct subcategories that are individually compensatable. These categories include:

1. General Damages or Pain and Suffering

An injured person is entitled to receive compensation for the pain and suffering that they have experienced as a consequence of their injuries. This category (or head) of compensation is often referred to as general damages. The exact amount of compensation that an injured person is entitled to receive under this category vary from case to case and is heavily influenced by medical evidence obtained during the claims process.

2. Economic Loss

In almost every case, an injured person will be entitled to compensation for both past and future economic loss. Economic loss in its simplest terms is the loss of wages (or profits in the case of a self-employed person) that has arisen as a consequence of an accident.

Economic loss is usually broken into two categories being past and future loss.

Past loss refers to the loss that an injured person has suffered at any time prior to a settlement of a claim and extends to reimbursement of sick leave taken and or WorkCover payment received during recovery.

Future economic loss generally falls into two categories being demonstrable loss or global loss. Demonstrable loss arises when a person is required to reduce their work on account of their injuries resulting in them being capable of demonstrating an ongoing loss of wages as a consequence of their injuries. Global loss arises when a person make effectively a full recovery such that they are capable of returning to their pre-injury work capacity (which whilst meaning they are not capable of demonstrating on-going loss still gives rise to a lump sum “global” economic loss payment).

3. Out of Pocket medical treatment or Special Damages

In circumstances where an injured person has suffered out of pocket costs for their medical treatment in connection with injuries (and or is likely to do so into the future), they are entitled to be compensated for such expenses on a dollar for dollar basis.

4. Care and Assistance

If an injured person has required the care or assistance of loved one, friend or a paid carer as a result of their injuries they are entitled to be compensated for the costs of the paid carer or on a notional hourly rate (approximately $30 an hour as at the date of writing this blog) for the unpaid time that their loved ones have spent assisting them in doing tasks they would have otherwise done for themselves. In order to be entitled to this category of compensation (or either a past or future basis) the injured person is required to meet certain thresholds.

5. Legal Costs

Provided an injured person is entitled to compensation above a particular level (approximately $74,000 at the date of writing this article) they will be entitled to recover part (approximately 50%) of the costs that they have incurred in bringing their claim for compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like more information on your right to compensation and the exact amounts you may be entitled to, please call Tim or Meegan to arrange an obligation free initial consultation.