If you are injured, through no fault of your own, and are able to bring a common law claim for damages you may hear your lawyer talking about the ‘heads of damages’ that you are entitled to claim for. (Note – this is separate to any WorkCover claim.) Your lawyer should be discussing these heads of damages with you throughout the duration of your claim and taking your detailed instructions to ensure that all expenses and compensation entitlements are accounted for. We’ve broken the heads of damages down for you:
This is an award to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life. This means, you are compensated for the ways in which your injury has adversely affected your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. These damages are assessed pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2003.
Out of Pocket Expenses
This is self explanatory. It can also be called special damages. You can claim for the costs that you have incurred which relate directly to your injury such as medical rehabilitation and treatment. This includes obvious things such as trips to a doctor, surgery, hospital fees, taxi fares to relevant appointments, medication, bandages and the like.
Past Economic Loss
If you have needed to take time off work because of your injury, you are able to claim for the net income you should have received from your employment had you not been injured, and comparing that with the net income you have in fact received. In addition to past economic loss, you can also claim for your past loss of superannuation benefits.
Future Economic Loss
This head of damages is designed to compensate you for the way in which your injury has affected your ability to obtain and maintain an income in the future. Whether that be a change of employment (because of your injuries), reduced hours or an early retirement. This is assessed in conjunction with medical evidence. Similarly to past economic loss, you can also claim your future loss of superannuation benefits.
These are the expenses that you will incur in the future as a result of injuries and the requirements for future treatment. This may involve further surgery, ongoing GP appointments, radiological scans, medication, physiotherapy and the like. Again, this is assessed in conjunction with medical evidence.
Care & Assistance
You may also be eligible to claim for care and assistance that has been provided to you because of your injuries, however there is a threshold that you must meet before such a claim can be made. You need to show that the assistance that you have required was for at least six hours per week for a period exceeding six months. To claim for future care needs, there is no threshold, however this is care you will have to incur in the future on a commercial basis.
There may also be other heads of damages to claim as each individual case is different.
These are complex matters and you should seek legal advice before considering making or accepting an offer from insurers and at fault parties.
Contact our compensation team today on 07 4963 2000 or through our online contact form below should you require assistance.