Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can still occur even in places where you should have the right to feel safe. For instance, many customers often slip and fall in their local supermarket, which can lead to more serious back, neck or head injuries.
If have been injured on private property, due to the fault of another party, you may be entitled to make slip and fall claim, where you can receive compensation for your injuries.
What can I be compensated for?
How much compensation you can receive for your slip and fall claim will vary depending on your individual circumstances and is based on the amount of harm or loss you have suffered. The purpose of any compensation is to put the victim back to the position they would have been in had they not slipped and fell due to the negligence of another.
You may receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses: This may include hospital fees, doctors fees, cost of medication etc
- Cost of care (domestic assistance) provided by a professional, or by friends and family: applicable in cases where your injury may require you to seek assistance from other people to help with household duties
- Home modification: Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to make modifications to your home in order to accommodate your injuries (such as installing a ramp)
- Loss of past and future earnings: This may include time off work, loss of overtime or additional hours, or even a loss of a potential promotion
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
The victim of a slip and fall claim will be reimbursed for past medical expenses that arose because of the injury. For future medical expenses, compensation must be discounted by 5%, as per the Civil Liability Act 2002. If, due to your injury, you have received any government benefits relating to medical expenses (such as Centrelink), these benefits must be repaid from the compensation payout. Also, any medical expenses that were paid for by your private health insurer must also be repaid out of the compensation.
Cost of care (Domestic assistance)
Compensation for attendant care provided by friends and family (known as gratuitous care) can be awarded regardless of whether it was paid for or not. However, compensation in this area is subject to restrictions. Firstly, it must be shown that there was a reasonable need for the gratuitous care, solely due to the injury. Secondly, as per the Civil Liability Act 2002, the gratuitous care must have been given for more than six hours per week, for a period longer than six consecutive months.
For commercially paid for care, it must only be established that the need for care arose solely because of the injury and that the amount sought is reasonable.
Loss of earnings
Compensation for the loss of past or future earnings is restricted. The Civil Liability Act 2002 limits the compensation payout, stating that any amount by which the victim’s gross weekly earnings exceeds three times the average weekly earnings of all NSW employees in the most recent quarter must be disregarded. Compensation for loss of future earnings must also be discounted by 5%, if paid in a lump sum.
Pain and suffering
To be eligible for pain and suffering compensation, there are injury thresholds that must be met. This threshold is measured as a percentage of a whole person impairment. The requirement is that the injury sustained must result in a permanent impairment of at least 15% of the victim’s whole person. This will be assessed by medical professionals, who are under strict guidelines, and therefore only those injuries which significantly impact the victim’s health status are eligible for compensation.
Unfortunately, this means that some injuries, while significantly impacting the injured party, may not qualify for compensation. Injuries such as loss of fingers or toes, scarring or loss of taste often do not meet the threshold.
The Civil Liability Act 2002 has placed monetary caps on compensation for pain and suffering, stating that compensation cannot exceed $350,000, subject to indexation and that interest is not recoverable.
Contributory negligence occurs when the victim’s own negligence has contributed to the causation of their injury, due to a failure to take reasonable care for their own safety. For example, where a customer sees a ‘slippery when wet’ sign at the supermarket but proceeds to run through the area, and then they slip and fall, they may be considered partly or fully at fault for their injuries. If this is the case, responsibility for the injury will be apportioned between the victim and negligent party, and compensation will be reduced accordingly.
Lump sum payouts
Compensation is most commonly paid out in a lump sum. However, sometimes inaccurate predictions about the long-term nature of the injuries can leave victims with a payout that fails to meet their long-term needs. Therefore, it is best to seek legal advice in order to receive an appropriate compensation amount.
For more information about personal injury compensation, contact Schreuders today.