Car accident compensation for pain and suffering is a type compensation for non-pecuniary loss. Non-pecuniary loss is often referred to as general damages. In this article we have provided more detail about non-pecuniary loss.
Non-pecuniary loss / damage in a car accident injury claim
Non-pecuniary losses are the intangible losses that is not readily quantifiable by reference to a rate of pay or a cost that has actually been incurred. In a car accident personal injury case, if the injured person has a day off work due to their injury, the income loss is tangible, thus, this is not a non-pecuniary loss (i.e. it can be calculated by reference to the persons pay rate). However, if the person suffered from intangible loss due to the physical or physiological condition caused by the car accident, then a claim for damages would fall under the general damages or non-pecuniary loss head of damages.
In section 3C of the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943, non-pecuniary losses are divided in the five categories
- Pain and suffering: e.g, your pain and suffering caused by the accident such as medical treatments or operations
- Loss of amenities of life: e.g, you lost the ability to lift shopping bags due to the car accident injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life: e.g. you lost the ability to play with kids and participate in sport
- Curtailment of expectation of life: e.g, as a result of the accident you are likely to die 5 years earlier and
- Bodily or mental harm: e.g, depression, limited use your neck, limited use of your back
Please note, when injured person asked about “car accident compensation for pain and suffering”, they often refer to the compensation for the intangible loss in the above heads of damage (ie. non-pecuniary loss).
What can I expect from my pain and suffering settlements?
Pain and suffering settlements can be estimated by many methods. If you have been researching on this topic for a while, you may have read about “pain and suffering calculator”, “pain and suffering multiplier”, or “pain and suffering threshold amount”.
As at 1 July 2016, all claims for non-pecuniary loss have to exceed a minimum threshold of $20,500 and the maximum amount payable is $406,000. The threshold (deductible) amount gradually reduces for claims assessed between $61,500 and $82,000 and does not apply to assessments over $82,000. Insurance Commission of Western Australia sets Threshold Schedule annually. The Threshold Schedule is used to assess the amount payable.
As you can see, the range between minimum payout and maximum compensation is quite large. This is because there a large range of factors that may determine where you sit in the range.
If you have just suffered a personal injury in a car accident happened recently then your condition is unlikely to have stabilised and you will be unable to tell what the impact of the motor vehicle accident has been on you. You can use internet articles to find out the average pain and suffering settlements for whiplash, or other types of motor injuries, but the amount of pain and suffering from one case to another is vastly different. In most cases you would be better off revisiting the question later in your car accident injury claim when your condition is stabilised and have you a better understanding of the long term impact on you.
Settlement of your pain and suffering claim
If you have made a car accident personal injury claim, you need to be aware that settlement of your personal injury claim is a negotiation process. There are threshold amounts, limits and guidelines for the process. The actual settlement is negotiated outcome based on the case you present. Being able to build a strong case that supports your compensation expectation is vital in getting the fair compensation for your personal injury claim.
In the case of car accident injury compensation claim, managing a pain and suffering claim without a lawyer is possible but a good lawyer often has the ability to get you more compensation than you could.
No Win No Fee lawyers do not charge legal fees unless that successfully settle the client for their client. As one of the top No-Win-No-Fee compensation lawyers in Western Australia, Foyle Legal provides an obligation free consultation. If you have made a car accident personal injury claim, consult a lawyer on obligation free basis may assist you to understand how to best progress your claim.