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How much is the average settlement for a back injury?

In Victoria, back injury compensations payouts and claims are regulated by various legislative schemes. The purpose of these schemes is to facilitate an efficient and fair outcome without the need for the matter to proceed to a trial. Most claims are settled outside of court, avoiding the high costs associated with going to trial and generally resulting in a better payout for the injured person.

The amount you may receive in a settlement for a back injury will largely depend on the severity of your suffered injuries, the impact it has had on your life and livelihood, and the governing legislative scheme. If you develop an injury at work or as the result of a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to claim under the WorkCover and TAC schemes respectively, regardless of who is at fault.

In circumstances where you have sustained a ‘serious injury’ as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may also be able to bring a common law claim. Settlement negotiations can occur at various times throughout the resolution process, and offers of settlement can be made at any point before or during legal proceedings.

The compensation amounts or damages that may be offered in a settlement will depend on the extent of your loss or pain and suffering. Damages are broadly classified in two ways: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages cover losses which have a direct financial impact on your life and are objectively quantifiable. These kinds of damages go towards compensating for past and future financial losses and out of pocket expenses. Primary examples include medical expenses and loss of earnings if you are unable to work as a result of your injuries.

Non-economic damages are more subjective in nature and therefore more difficult to quantify. Unlike economic damages, they are not capable of precise mathematical calculation. They include components such as compensation amounts for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities.

Depending on the nature of your back injury, you may be able to make a claim for both economic and non-economic damages. To get further information about your entitlements and maximising your claim, we recommend speaking with a back injury claims expert.

How much compensation do you get for lower back pain?

Lower back injuries can be complicated and the compensation amounts you may receive depends on a range of factors, including the severity of your injury and the impact it has had on your life and livelihood.

Broadly speaking, you may be able to claim:

  • Medical and hospital expenses including treatment and rehabilitation costs;
  • Compensation for loss of wages and superannuation;
  • A lump-sum payment if the accident results in permanent impairment;
  • A common law claim for damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities and potentially loss of income (past, present and future) if the injury occurred in negligent circumstances and is serious;
  • Legal costs associated with your back injury claim.

Personal injury legislation also imposes various caps on the amount you may be able to claim. To get further information about your entitlements and maximising your claim, we recommend speaking with a back injury claims expert.

How much compensation can you get for pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering damages are a form of non-economic loss which aim to compensate for the emotional distress, psychological impact, loss of amenities and loss of enjoyment of life that an injury may cause. These kinds of damages can form an integral part of your claim, particularly for those who are unable to claim lost wages such as retirees and unemployed people.

Victorian legislation imposes various statutory ceilings on the recovery of pain and suffering damages. The amount that you may be awarded will depend on the severity of your injury and whether your injury occurred in the course of your work or as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

As of July 2020, the caps and thresholds for pain and suffering damages are as follows:

  • Workers’ compensation common law claims: minimum $62,710 and maximum $636,470
  • Transport accident common law claims: minimum $56,960 and maximum $569,970

Other thresholds may apply to injuries suffered as a result of medical malpractice or injuries sustained in public places such as supermarkets or playgrounds. It is important to seek legal advice regarding your pain and suffering claim, and the potential application of these thresholds to your claim.

Is there a time limit for making a back injury claim?

Yes. Time limits vary between states and territories. Victorian legislation imposes strict time limits on bringing a claim for a back injury. These time limits vary depending on:

  • The way you sustained your injury – whether at work, in a transport accident or in some other context; and
  • The scheme under which the claim is brought – whether WorkCover, TAC or Common Law damages.

In order to access benefits under the TAC scheme, you must generally lodge a claim with the TAC within 12 months of your accident. The TAC has a discretion up to three years to accept lodgement of a claim. After three years, you cannot lodge a claim.

Under the WorkCover scheme, you must notify your employer of your back injury within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury or injuries sustained.

A Common Law claim in WorkCover and TAC claims must generally be commenced within six years of the date of your injury. However, for injuries that occur as a result of medical negligence or Public liability claims must be commenced within three years of the date of injury.

Under certain circumstances in certain types of claims, the time limit may be extended.

What to do if this information applies to you

At Gordon Legal, we understand that back injuries and back injury compensation payouts are a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on 1800 21 22 23 or our Geelong office on 1800 21 22 23 to speak with a member of our team.

Given the current environment, we are providing consultations over the phone or via video conferencing platforms.

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