How much compensation can I get if I’ve been in a car accident?

Quick answer

You can get compensation for both economic and non-economic ‘losses’ in a road accident claim.

‘Economic loss’ is the actual cost of your injury, such as lost income and medical expenses.

If another person’s negligence caused your injury, you may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic loss. This includes pain, suffering and loss of opportunity.

Your exact compensation depends on your injuries and the state you live in. Contact us today to discuss your road accident claim.

In depth answer

Economic vs. Non-economic loss

After a road accident injury, it’s likely you can claim compensation for economic loss. This includes:

  • Loss of past and future wages
  • Past and future professional care costs
  • Past and future expenses (such as medical expenses, travel, and home and vehicle modifications)
  • Legal costs (in some situations)
  • Superannuation (in some situations).

Exactly what you can claim depends on the state where your accident happened.

Additionally, if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you can also make a common law damages claim for non-economic loss. This includes:

  • Loss of life expectation
  • Care from family and friends
  • Loss of enjoyment of life (including psychological injury)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of capacity to care for a dependant

Your total compensation is calculated according to the laws in your state.


Different laws apply in different states. Please choose your state below so we can show you the most relevant content.

New South Wales

In NSW, the compensation you can claim depends on whether you’re making a ‘no-fault’ claim or a ‘common law damages’ claim.

No-fault claims

With a no-fault claim, you can receive compensation regardless of who caused the accident. How much you can claim depends on whether you have a threshold (minor) injury or a non-minor injury.

Threshold injuries

A threshold injury is a minor injury. It can be a:

  • Soft tissue injury, or
  • Minor psychological injury

What are some examples of threshold injuries?

While whiplash is the most common soft tissue injury, other examples include muscle strain, sore backs or blood vessel damage.

A threshold psychological injury is any mental injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness. In addition, some recognised psychiatric illnesses, such as acute stress disorder or adjustment disorder, are also considered threshold injuries.

What can I claim for threshold injuries?

You can claim economic losses in a threshold injury claim. Your payments will cover:

  • Lost income if you’re unable to work.
  • Hospital, medical and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Professional care or domestic help from friends and family.

You are required to show that all expenses are ‘reasonable and necessary’. In addition, they must relate directly to injury and loss caused by the accident. You should also have a receipt or invoice for all expenses.

Your payments will cease after 12 months unless your insurer approves further treatment.

Payments for threshold injuries are designed to aid your recovery and do not compensate you for pain, suffering, or other non-economic loss. Though most people injured on the road experience some degree of pain or suffering, NSW legislation limits who can claim non-economic loss. This is done to keep the cost of CTP insurance down.

Non-minor injuries

Non-minor injuries include:

  • Significant physical injuries, or
  • Recognised psychological or psychiatric injuries

What are some examples of non-minor injuries?

Non-minor physical injuries cover any injuries to the brain, nerves, tendons or any other body part that requires surgery. It also includes broken bones, fractures, or severe scarring.

A non-minor psychological or psychiatric injury includes most diagnosed conditions. Most commonly, these are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression following an accident.

What can I claim for non-minor injuries?

Your non-minor injury claim can provide compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Depending on the severity of your injuries, this may include:

  • Weekly payments for lost income.
  • Hospital and medical expenses.
  • Rehabilitation and home care costs.

Generally speaking, you can only receive weekly payments for up to 24 months. However, if you begin a common law damages claim, you may receive weekly payments for up to 5 years.

What if I disagree with my insurer’s decision?

You can appeal your insurer’s decision if you disagree with their classification of your injuries. To do so, you must request an internal review within 28 days of receiving the liability notice letter from your insurer. You can submit updated information about your injuries at this stage. If you are unhappy with the internal review, you can appeal to the NSW Personal Injury Commission.

It is vital to speak to a lawyer before requesting a review. Having even one injury reclassified as ‘non-minor’ entitles you to substantially greater compensation. That’s why, in our experience, insurers are often unwilling to overturn their original decisions. Our team understands insurer processes and tactics, and we have the experience to get your insurer’s decision overturned.

Negligence claims

You may be entitled to make an additional common law damages claim if:

  • The accident was not your fault.
  • You have more than minor injuries.

The type of compensation you can claim depends on whether you have over 10% Whole Person Impairment (WPI).

10% or less WPI

You may be eligible to claim for past and future ‘economic losses’, such as:

  • Lost earnings.
  • Loss of future earning capacity.

More than 10% WPI

In addition to the economic losses listed above, a WPI of more than 10% means you can claim for ‘non-economic losses’. These include:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of amenities of life.
  • Reduced life expectancy.
  • Disfigurement.

Since non-economic losses do not have a strict dollar value attached, you could receive a substantial lump sum settlement.


The Transport Accident Commission (the TAC) handles Victoria’s road accident claims. How much you can claim depends on your type of injury and whether it resulted from:

  • A ‘no-fault’ accident, or
  • Someone else’s negligence.

No-fault claims

The TAC allows you to make a ‘no-fault’ claim for any road injury, regardless of how it happened.

What can I claim in a no-fault case?

You can claim weekly income replacement payments if you cannot work due to injury. You will also receive compensation for medical and hospital expenses, rehabilitation costs, physiotherapy treatments and medication.

You may also be entitled to a lump sum payment if you have a permanent or severe impairment.

Income replacement payments

You must be an ‘earner’ to receive income replacement payments. This means you were either working at the time of your injury or within the last 2 years. The amount of compensation you receive depends on your degree of impairment and the time since your injury.

First 5 daysNo compensation. Most workers use sick leave during this period.
First 18 months after the accident80% of pre-accident weekly earnings (if totally unable to work) or 85% of the difference between pre-accident and current earnings (if able to do some work).
18 months after the accidentCompensation is based on loss of earning capacity, not pre-injury earnings (if still unable to work)
3 years after the accidentPayment will only continue if: Assessed at over 50% impairment, and Totally or partially unable to work.

Medical expenses

A TAC-accredited provider must provide all medical services. You can claim all reasonable medical expenses and travel costs incurred.

To receive compensation for domestic care or home modifications, you must provide the TAC with a letter from your doctor that outlines your needs.

Permanent impairment benefit

You will also receive a lump sum ‘permanent impairment benefit’ if you are assessed at over 10% permanent impairment. This assessment is completed by the TAC around 18 months after your accident. The TAC is not obligated to organise this for you, so you’ll likely need to request the assessment yourself.

It’s crucial to speak to a lawyer once your impairment is assessed. Over the years, we’ve dealt with hundreds of permanent impairment claims. We have the experience to ensure your assessment is fair and correct so you receive the total compensation you deserve.

Negligence claims

You may have a common law damages claim for non-economic loss if the road accident was caused by someone else’s negligence and your injury is ‘serious’.

How do I know if my injury is ‘serious’?

The TAC will assess your injury, and your percentage of permanent impairment will be determined. You have a serious injury if:

  • Your permanent impairment is 30% or more, or
  • Your permanent impairment is less than 30% but you have a ‘serious injury certificate’ issued by the TAC.

To secure a serious injury certificate, you must lodge a serious injury application with the TAC. Your application must demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Long term impairment
  • Loss of a body function
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Severe mental or behavioural disorder
  • Loss of a foetus.

It’s essential to seek expert legal advice before lodging your application. A ‘serious’ injury entitles you to substantial common law damages for pain, suffering and other non-economic losses. Our lawyers specialise in serious injury applications and will give your application the best chance of success.

If the TAC rejects your serious injury application, we will take your claim to Court.


In Queensland, your compensation differs depending on the type of claim you’re making:

  • A ‘no-fault’ claim, or
  • A negligence claim.

You can only make a negligence claim if the accident was someone else’s fault.

No fault claims

A no-fault claim allows you to get compensation regardless of who caused the accident.

What can I claim in a no-fault case?

Your claim will cover the usual economic losses: past and future lost income, medical treatment, rehabilitation, domestic care and support service costs.

You must keep all receipts and records of treatments or medication to ensure reimbursement.

No-fault claim compensation provides financial support while you recover. It does not include non-economic losses like pain, suffering or loss of opportunity.

Negligence claims

You can make a common law damages claim if your injury is severe and was caused by someone else’s negligence.

How is the severity of my injury determined?

Queensland law requires your Injury Scale Value (ISV) to be assessed. The ISV system involves assessing injuries and assigning them a value between 0 and 100. This is 0 being an injury too minor to justify damages and 100 being the most severe injury.

Your ISV is calculated based on several factors, including:

  • The physical and emotional impact of the injury on your life
  • Ongoing care and treatment costs
  • Whether you sustained multiple injuries
  • Whether you have developed any mental illness

You can read more about how your ISV is calculated under Schedule 3 of the Act.

How much compensation will I receive?

Your compensation will correspond to your ISV. The exact amount is indexed annually on 1 July. For example, for the year from 1 July 2022–30 June 2023, a person with a:

  • Minimum ISV of 1 will receive $1,590
  • Medium ISV of 50 will receive $150,380
  • Severe ISV of 100 will receive $400,655

You can refer to the current ISV compensation table for more details.

South Australia

In South Australia, you are only entitled to compensation if you were not at fault. The only exception is if you are ‘catastrophically injured’.

Not at-fault claims

Only parties not at fault can claim road accident compensation. You must be able to show that:

  • You were injured in a crash, and
  • A vehicle registered in SA was at fault.

What can I claim in a not-at-fault claim?

While your insurer processes your claim, you are entitled to ‘necessary and reasonable’ medical expenses. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Hospital costs
  • Treatment and medication costs
  • Ambulance fees
  • Rehabilitation and chiropractic expenses

You are entitled to additional compensation if you have already established that you were injured by an SA-registered vehicle or if you qualify under the Nominal Defendant Scheme. This covers:

  • Lost income (excluding the first week)
  • Paid domestic care
  • Travel to and from treatment

Catastrophic injury

You may be entitled to care, treatment and support through the Lifetime Support Scheme if your injuries are catastrophic. The Scheme applies regardless of fault and provides economic support for severely injured people.

Catastrophic injuries are:

  • Spinal cord or brain injuries
  • Amputations
  • Severe burns
  • Blindness

Negligence claims

You are entitled to a common law negligence claim if your Injury Scale Value (ISV) is assessed at 11 or more.

How is my Injury Scale Value assessed?

Once your injuries stabilise, a qualified medical practitioner will assess your ISV.

What can I claim in a negligence case?

You are entitled to claim under different heads of damage depending on your ISV.

ISVEntitled to claim
8 or moreFuture loss of income or earning potential
11 or morePain and suffering, and Voluntary domestic care by a parent, spouse or child. Care must have been provided for at least six hours per week for six consecutive months. Loss of consortium (compensation for the impact of the injury on your relationship with your spouse)
Western Australia

All road accident claims in Western Australia are made through the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA). Generally, you will only be entitled to compensation if you are not at fault. The only exception is if you are ‘catastrophically injured’.

Not at-fault claims

Most road accident claims in WA are ‘not at-fault’ or negligence claims. This means you can make one claim for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost past and future income or loss of ability to earn income
  • Future treatment costs
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Care costs

Your claim must be worth over $23,500 to claim for pain and suffering. Additionally, the maximum compensation is $425,000. These figures increase annually with inflation.

Catastrophic injuries

You may qualify for the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme (CISS) if you were catastrophically injured in a road accident but cannot prove another person was at fault.

From 1 July 2016, anyone with a catastrophic injury will automatically have all necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support covered. Under the law, ‘catastrophic injuries’ are:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Amputations
  • Severe burns
  • Permanent blindness

What if I was partly at fault?

Partial fault can severely reduce your compensation. Examples of partial fault include not wearing a seat belt, driving at an unsafe speed or riding a bike without a helmet.


In Tasmania, your road accident claim is made to the Motor Accident Insurance Board (MAIB). The compensation you receive is determined by your type of injury and whether you’re at fault.

At-fault claims

You are entitled to compensation even if you caused the accident. Compensation is limited to economic losses resulting from your injuries. This includes:

  • Weekly income replacement payments (up to 80% of your pre-injury earnings for up to 2 years)
  • Medical expenses (up to $400,000)
  • Domestic care costs (for up to 26 weeks)

All registered Tasmanian drivers are covered, including those involved in accidents in other states.

It’s essential to note that the MAIB scheme will not pay compensation if you drive an unregistered vehicle or without a licence.

Negligence claims

You may have a common law negligence claim if another party was at fault. This includes all the usual negligence damages, including:

  • Loss of past income
  • Future loss of income (if you can’t return to work)
  • Estimated future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment and life expectation
Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT, the compensation you get is determined by the seriousness of your injuries and whether or not you were ‘at-fault’. You might have a common law negligence claim if you were not at-fault.

At-fault claims

You can claim compensation for medical expenses regardless of fault. This compensation is capped at $5,000 and limited to medical treatment and care costs in the first 6 months after the accident.

If you were at fault, you are not entitled to further compensation unless you have ‘at fault’ cover included in your insurance or meet the Quality of Life benefit criteria.

What is a ‘Quality of Life’ benefit?

Road accident victims who sustain permanent injuries may qualify for a Quality of Life benefit. This is paid on a no-fault basis, but your Whole Person Impairment (WPI) must be assessed at 5% or greater. Independent medical specialists conduct the assessment according to ACT guidelines.

Negligence claims

You can make a common law negligence claim if you were not at fault. You must show that the other party was negligent and you have suffered a loss. Unlike other states, the ACT does not require a minimum WPI percentage.

What can I claim in a negligence case?

In addition to basic medical expenses, a negligence claim entitles you to:

  • Treatment and care costs (past and future)
  • Loss of income and other economic loss
  • Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering

What if I was partly at fault?

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and personal injury if you were partly at fault. This could include failing to wear a safety belt, speeding, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. In these cases, your insurer may recover some of their costs from your compensation payment.

Catastrophic injuries

You may be eligible for the CT Lifetime Care and Support Scheme (LTCSS) if you were catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident. The LTCSS covers treatment and ongoing care needs for qualifying patients.

Catastrophic injuries include brain or spinal cord injuries, burns, amputations or blindness. You can read more about LTCSS on the ACT Treasury website.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, your road accident claim is made through the Motor Accidents Compensation Commission (MACC). The amount of compensation you receive depends on whether you’re at-fault for the accident or it happened because of someone else’s carelessness. While at-fault claims only provide basic financial assistance, a negligence claim offers more substantial compensation for the impact of the injury on your life.

At-fault claims

You’re entitled to compensation for your ‘economic losses’, regardless of who caused the accident. These include:

  • Wage-replacement payments.
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses.
  • A lump sum if your injuries are permanent.

At this stage, wage-replacement payments are only available to people under 67 (the retirement age).

Crucially, MACC allows you to claim compensation even if the vehicle that caused your injury is:

  • Unregistered.
  • Unidentified.
  • Registered in another jurisdiction in Australia.

Negligence claims

If the accident was caused by another person, you can also make a negligence claim. Your claim includes compensation for ‘non-economic losses’ such as:

  • Loss of life expectation.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life (including psychological injury).
  • Pain and suffering.

For claims worth under $25,000, you must take the matter to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If your claim is worth more than $25,000, you’re required to bring it before your local court.

How can a lawyer get me more compensation?

A road accident lawyer uses strong legal strategies and medical evidence to get you maximum compensation. We handle all insurer negotiations on your behalf, side-stepping scare tactics and ensuring they pay what your claim is worth.

You also have access to our national network of medical, automotive, and safety experts. Road accident claims rely heavily on medical evidence, so it’s crucial to support your claim with independent expert reports. Without sufficient evidence, you may receive a smaller settlement than you deserve—or have your claim denied entirely.

Throughout the process, your lawyer will ensure your claim meets all state-specific guidelines. This is essential for getting your claim approved fast and your compensation paid sooner.

Call us today for free legal advice on your road accident claim.

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