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Quick Guide to Claiming for Pain and Suffering

Those who have been injured at work, due to someone else’s negligence, or in a motor vehicle accident are able to claim for pain and suffering. Many claimants are unaware that pain and suffering is usually a separate category of compensation to other compensation categories, for example, medical costs or wages forgone. If you have been injured and are seeking to claim for loss, it’s advisable to consult compensation lawyers in Sydney or in your local city as soon as possible for specific advice about your claim.

Claiming for Pain and Suffering under the Workers Compensation Scheme

Under s 67 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW), those who have been injured at work can claim for compensation for pain and suffering. Note that this pain and suffering is defined as that which arises from permanent impairment and not directly from the injury itself. Further, injured workers may be eligible for a lump sum payment for pain and suffering in addition to a lump sum for the permanent impairment itself.

The pain and suffering can be actual pain or distress or anxiety arising from the permanent impairment. Compensation for pain and suffering in this category is payable when the injured worker has experienced permanent impairment of 10 per cent or more.

Pain and Suffering for Motor Vehicle Accidents

Under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW), individuals who have been injured in a traffic accident can claim for non-economic loss. This is in addition to economic loss such medical expenses, as well as lost earnings arising from the accident.

Non-economic loss is also known as general damages in this category. Non-economic loss compensates the injured party for pain and suffering as well as loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities of life, loss of expectation of life, and/or disfigurement as a result of the accident.

As a general rule, non-economic loss is claimable by parties with a whole-person impairment of more than 10 per cent.

Pain and Suffering as a Result of Other Personal Injuries

Compensation for pain and suffering may be available for those who have been injured somewhere other than work or in a motor vehicle accident. These can fall under occupiers and/or public liability law. For example, if the claimant has been injured in a shopping mall, in a playground, or because of a defective product, they may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering as a result of the injury, in addition to compensation for economic loss.

The compensation may be available even where the individual was partly at fault. Generally, the injured party will be claiming from the party that caused the injury and/or the party that has a duty of care toward those that come on to the property, rather than a public compensation fund.

What to Do

If you’ve been injured, always seek medical advice in a timely manner and notify your employer when it’s a work-related injury. In addition, consult personal injury or workers compensation lawyers in Sydney (or your local area) as soon as possible to discuss your options for compensation. Keep defective products, photos of injuries, medical records and receipts, and all relevant documentation and evidence.