Are there maximum general damages payouts for personal injury claims?

Published 07 Aug 2018

Personal injury compensation in Queensland is split into two parts: economic losses and general damages. When someone is seriously hurt, they may take significant time off work, build up extensive medical bills and require future care. These expenses are repaid through compensation for economic losses.

However, general damages are designed to reimburse claimants for the less tangible aspects of injuries, such as pain and suffering, or a drop in their quality of life. These non-economic losses, as they are otherwise known, can be difficult to quantify.

Queensland’s Civil Liability Act 2003 has a scale to assist judges when they award general damages. But how does this work in practice? And are there maximum amounts plaintiffs can receive?

Understanding ISVs

Under the Act, injured parties may be eligible for a combination of base compensation and variable damages via an Injury Scale Value (ISV). Updated almost annually, the 0-100 scale provides a base amount of compensation, as well as variable damages.

The ISV awarded to an injury depends on its severity. For example, someone who suffers minor whiplash may be given an ISV range of between five and 10, while catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia would likely receive a value of 90 upwards.

Let’s look at how these two examples might play out in a real-life scenario.

Calculating general damages based on ISVs

If a whiplash injury occurred on or after July 1 2018 and was assigned an ISV of seven, it would fall within the range of ’10 or less but more than five’ on the scale. As such, the claimant would receive:

  • Base damages: $7,650.
  • Variable damages: $3,600.

A quadriplegic claimant with widespread and permanent paralysis of all four limbs could be assessed as having an ISV of 98. According to the scale, they would receive:

  • Base damages: $325,650.
  • Variable damages: $42,320.

The 2018 scale provides individuals with an ISV of 100 a total of $378,550 in base and general damages, which is the maximum available.

How much general damages will I receive?

You may be entitled to personal injury compensation for non-economic losses if you have hurt yourself as a result of someone else’s negligence.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers, we will assess your claim and provide an estimate of how much you could receive based on similar cases.

Our no-win, no-fee guarantee also means you can proceed with a claim safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to pay any legal fees until you’ve received a settlement. Contact us today to find out more.

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