How much should I ask for pain and suffering from a car accident?
When it comes to claiming compensation for pain and suffering following a car accident in Victoria, your only option is to pursue a TAC claim.
You are entitled to pursue a TAC claim following an accident whether the accident was your fault or not.
If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to TAC assistance in the first place, you can visit this page.
In order to claim compensation for pain and suffering via a TAC claim, you need to lodge an initial TAC claim.
If you’re not sure how to lodge a TAC claim, you can visit this page which outlines how to lodge a claim.
This page outlines the TAC claim process.
Two pain and suffering lump sums under the TAC scheme
Under the TAC scheme, there are two ways that a person can be compensated for pain and suffering.
The first is via an impairment benefit lump sum claim and the second is via a common law claim.
An impairment claim is considered to be compensation for pain and suffering, however it doesn’t really take into account a person’s pain and suffering.
The process for an impairment claim (which she can read about in detail here) is that once your injuries and conditions have stabilised, that is they are not getting any better not getting any worse and after at least 12 months post accident, all of the injuries and conditions that you suffered in the accident and for which you wish to claim need to be assessed by a specialist doctors.
Each injury type will be assessed by a specialist in those types of injuries.
For example, if you have a spinal injury he may be asked to see an orthopaedic surgeon, if you have a psychological injury you may be asked to see a psychiatrist.
The doctors then put figures on each of the injuries or conditions which then get combined into one overall figure called your whole person impairment rating.
This whole person impairment rating then matches up to a corresponding compensation amount.
In relation to pain and suffering, when it comes to an impairment claim two people could have the same injury but the effects of the injury on one person could be much more than the other person.
However, they would both be entitled to the same amount.
That is how impairment claim works.
So in terms of how much you should ask for when it comes to pain and suffering under an impairment claim, you are limited because you don’t actually ask for compensation amounts.
The compensation amount that you are paid is based on your whole person impairment rating.
Yes, you can dispute an assessment of a doctor and the whole person impairment rating and argue that you’re entitled to more. However, this needs to be supported by medical material.
Common law claim
The second way that you could be compensated for pain and suffering under TAC claim is via a common law claim.
If a person has been involved in an accident and if there was negligence on behalf another party in relation to the accident, they can be compensated for both pain and suffering and loss of earnings.
With an impairment benefit claim, in most cases if two people have the same injury they’re going to be entitled to the same amount.
When it comes to pain and suffering under common law claim however, this is not likely to be the case.
This is because pain and suffering under a common law claim is based on a persons life and how their life has been impacted as a consequence of the injury suffered.
Generally speaking, the bigger the impact that an injury has on a persons life greater the amount of compensation that person will be entitled to ask for, as far as pain and suffering is concerned.
The following pain and suffering consequences that are taken into account (this is not an exhaustive list):
- The impact that an injury might have on your sleep
- Your ability to engage in sports and other activities and hobbies
- Work around the home such as house work, chores and gardening.
- Your ability to work
- Self care
How much you should ask for in terms of compensation for pain and suffering under a common law claim really does depend upon the nature of your injury effect it has on you.
Also, consideration needs to be given to cases that have come before yours.
When lawyers are determining how much to ask for when negotiating a case, they rely on their past experience as well as cases that have been determined before the courts to decide what’s appropriate.
If you wish to pursue pain and suffering after a car accident, the first step to lodge a TAC claim.
There are two lump sum claims under the TAC scheme that provide compensation for pain and suffering. The first is an impairment claim and the second is a common law claim for damages.
When it comes to an impairment claim, compensation is based upon your whole person impairment rating which is determined by medical assessments. You are not able to ask the TAC to pay you a particular amount by way of pain and suffering.
In relation to a common law claim for damages, the pain and suffering amount is based upon the impact that an injury has on you. It is also based upon past cases.