If you have fallen victim to a personal injury due to no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. There are many things you may be able to claim for, one of them is pain and suffering damages. Here is a run-down of how they are calculated and assessed.
What is pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering is experiencing both physical and mental anguish due to an injury. This can be anything from minor discomforts right up to permanent impairment and a shortened life expectancy. It also includes the mental repercussions of dealing with an injury on a day to day basis.
What are deemed damages in a compensation claim?
In Queensland, damages come under two categories. Damages usually relate to the financial losses experienced from your injury and the finances you need to get you back on track and to some sense of normal post-injury. Medical expenses, the effect it has had on your livelihood and any associated costs to aid in your recovery are some examples.
Pain and suffering isn’t associated with financial loss but rather personal loss you have suffered as a result of an accident. This is usually centred around your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and if it has been negatively impacted by the injury. It is often easier to determine monetary damages as you will have a record of how much you have had to spend and how much money you have lost, whereas pain and suffering isn’t as straight forward.
Many factors come into play when calculating and assessing your right to pain and suffering damages. Some include:
- Your age, life expectancy and loss of amenities of life.
- The extent of your injuries and whether you have pre-existing injuries.
- The likelihood of your injury affecting your future employment or ability to make money.
- How your injury has affected your ability to earn an income up until this point.
- Medical costs and ongoing costs needed to assist you in your recovery.
- Voluntary and paid care required now and in the future.
- The circumstances surrounding your injury.
An injury lawyer can give you an idea of the kind of figure you are looking at based on cases they have handled previously, however, every case is different and this amount can vary greatly. Pain and suffering does not only relate to your physical injuries but also the psychological effects it has placed on your mental wellbeing.
How an amount is determined for pain and suffering
The Queensland government has implemented a numerical system that is carried out under the Civil Liability Act 2003 and is called an ISV scale. It can be used to establish how much compensation you may be entitled to. So how does it work? It uses a 1-100 calculation of how severe your injuries are. 0 is the minimum and 100, the most severe. This scale is used to assess your injuries and the ISV rating must be justified
What kind of injuries fall under the ISV scale?
Here is a general run-down of the main divisions:
- Facial injuries
- Psychological disorders
- Head injuries and central nervous system injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Orthopaedic injuries
- Skin conditions
- Hair-related conditions or injuries
- Loss of senses
If you have experienced any of the injuries listed, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have more than one injury, this will be considered when assessing your ISV rating. They usually base it on the most impactful injury with additional injuries adding to the rating. It is important to know, subsequent injuries are usually capped at 25% from the worst injury. For example, if your worst injury has an ISV rating of 40, then a maximum of 25% can be added to that for a secondary injury.
How much can you receive using the ISV scale?
The courts typically grant a base amount of compensation and then add variable damages. As mentioned, how much you will be compensated is dependent on your individual circumstances.
Can online pain and suffering damages calculators give me an idea of how much I can expect to receive?
In short, no. Using these are a waste of time. They can be extremely misleading and you may find yourself disappointed if your settlement doesn’t come close to the amount you were given via an online calculator. Online pain and suffering calculators don’t usually take into account who is liable for the injury or even partly. Your circumstances are unique and there are so many variables that can influence the amount you will be compensated. Rather than using these, speak with your lawyer, they will be able to give you a better idea.
Talk to a lawyer
The harsh reality is that not everyone gets compensated for the pain and suffering they have experienced due to an injury. To ensure you are fairly compensated, it is strongly recommended that you appoint an experienced injury lawyer as soon as you can. They can come up with a strategy and advise you what you should be doing to increase your chances of receiving a settlement you are happy with.
If you need professional legal advice and you are based in South East Queensland, get in contact with our highly skilled team of injury law experts here at South East Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. It pays nothing to know where you stand and we’d be happy to help if we can.