How are personal injury compensation claims calculated?

In Queensland, personal injury claims are calculated based on a number of factors including medical expenses, loss of income (past and predicted future losses) and pain and suffering.

  • Compensation will depend on your individual circumstances so there is not a set answer for how much you'd receive for a particular injury such as loss of a finger or a back injury.

Factors used to help calculate a claim:

  • Medical expenses: This helps cover the out of pocket costs incurred for any treatment, surgery or medical care necessary as a result of the personal injury.
  • Lost income: If you're unable to work as a result of the injury, the potential income you've forfeited during the recovery period is considered.
  • Estimated Future loss of earnings: If the injury impairs your capacity to work in the future, this loss can also be factored into the claim. Lost superannuation contributions are also part of the calculations for past and future lost income.
  • Physical rehabilitation costs: If the injury requires physiotherapy or rehabilitation, these costs can be included in the claim.
  • Pain and suffering: The distress and suffering endured can also form part of the claim, although this is often more challenging to quantify. There are guides within Queensland on how much compensation for pain and suffering can be provided for particular injuries. These typically make up the minority of the claims value.

What Else Can Impact the Claims Value?

Calculating the value of personal injury claims is not a one size fits all process, but rather depends on several defining factors with direct impact on the amount. These include:

  • Recovery period: The length and nature of your recovery have a significant influence on your claim, as this may affect your capacity to work and necessitate ongoing medical expenses. If you recover way faster than expected during a claim then you may end up with a lower settlement than first expected but overall this is still a better life outcome as the impact of your injury is smaller.
  • Age to retirement: Your age and proximity to retirement also play a crucial role, as it can influence the calculation of potential future losses in income.
  • Impact on job: Assessment on your ability to perform your job post-injury is a vital factor. This could lead to a claim for future lost earnings if you're unable to return to your former employment, or to the same working capacity.

Same injury, Different Claims Value Example

Let's take two realistic scenarios for two people suffering the same type of injury:

Scenario 1: The first involves a 25-year-old electrician named Jack who recently sustained a shoulder injury in a car accident. This injury hinders his ability to perform manual tasks which are crucial to his job. Jack's vigorous recovery process is likely to last for a year, and his specialists have suggested he could permanently lose 30% of his upper-body strength. Therefore, his capacity to earn an income in his current work may be affected for an extended period, if not permanently. This scenario is likely to significantly raise the value of Jack's claim resulting from the accident.

The second scenario considers Jane, an 63-year-old university lecturer who suffered an identical shoulder injury from a car accident. Despite her injury's similarity to Jack's, the impact on Jane's work life is minimal as her occupation is less physically demanding. Additionally, Jane is nearing retirement and her loss of future income is less extensive when compared with Jack. Therefore, while Jane's claim will account for medical costs and personal suffering, it will be considerably less than Jack's claim due to her approaching retirement and the smaller impact on her working life.

Even though two people may suffer the same injury, the financial impact on their jobs, future recovery needs, and their age could result in dramatically different claim values.

This highlights the complexity of calculating personal injury claims. Getting professional legal advice will allow your individual circumstances to be assessed.

Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert car accident lawyers. We can explain your options to road accident injury claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

Back to Knowledge Base
Our company and team are members of