The term ‘non-economic loss’ was introduced in the legislative changes of the Civil Liability Act (Cth) 2002 (CLA) in October 2016 when the term ‘Pain and Suffering’ was effectively replaced.

Often when lay people hear their lawyer refer to a claim of non-economic loss, the connection to pain and suffering is not made.

Non-Economic Loss is a category of damages used in a claim in accordance with the Civil Liability Act (Cth) 2002 (CLA) to compensate you for the pain and suffering you experienced because of the accident. This can be anything from the loss of amenities of life, disfiguration, loss of life expectancy, disability, brain damage, depression, or amputation to name a few.

The reward of this type of damages is to account for aspects of your life that cannot be measured or recorded such as that of out of pocket expenses or medical treatment.

To be eligible for an award of non-economic loss you must have had suffered a serious injury with permanent damage as well as reach the legislative threshold of that serious and permanent damage. Different types of cases have different thresholds and measures of assessing non-economic loss. For example, in a motor accident case, your entitlement to compensation for non-economic loss is determined by reference to a medical test known as “whole person impairment” (WPI).

WPI can be attributed to a physical injury or to a psychiatric injury. Only a specially trained medico-legal doctor can conduct an assessment of your whole person impairment. This is one of the reasons why your lawyer will often refer you to a Medico-Legal practitioner who is more qualified to assess whole person impairment. It is important to be open with your doctors about the extent of your injury and how it has affected you life to assist them to calculate your whole person impairment.

The legislation provides a cap on the amount of non-economic loss that can be claimed for each type of compensation claim. These caps are reviewed in October of every year. For example, in a case brought under the CLA, as of 1 October 2016 the absolute maximum amount of damages that can be claimed for non-economic loss is $605,000.

If your or somebody you know has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out more, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 46 2359,or alternatively, make an online enquiry.

Written by Zoe Brindle.

Zoe Brindle is a paralegal in Victoria Roy’s Practice Group. Zoe provides Victoria and the rest of the travel accident law group with paralegal and administrative assistance.