How much compensation will I get for a public liability claim?

Quick answer

The amount of compensation you get in a public liability claim depends on:

  • The severity of your injuries.
  • Your state of residence.

Generally speaking, you’re entitled to claim for medical expenses related to your injuries. If you’re unable to work, you can also receive compensation for ‘economic’ losses like lost wages.

For more serious injuries, you may have a claim for ‘non-economic losses’ like pain and suffering, as well as the cost of at-home care.

To get advice on your particular situation, call us today. In a free consultation, we’ll outline your legal rights and how much compensation you could be entitled to.

In depth answer

In a public liability claim, you may be eligible to claim for ‘economic losses’, ‘non-economic losses’, essential medical treatment and equipment, and the cost of ongoing care and assistance.

While ‘economic losses’ are any income you’ve lost due to your injury, ‘non-economic losses’ compensate you for the harmful impact of the injury on your life.

In some states, non-economic loss does not have a specific dollar value attached, meaning you could be entitled to a substantial lump sum settlement. In other states, non-economic loss is capped by legislation.

Before starting a public liability claim, it’s important to speak to a specialist lawyer. We have an expert understanding of how public liability laws differ between states, and can provide free legal advice on your situation.

What you can claim

Economic loss

  • Lost income (past and future).
  • Lost superannuation (past and future).

Non-economic loss

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of opportunity.

Medical treatment and equipment

  • Medical treatment (past and future).
  • Medical expenses (past and future).
  • Travel between your home and medical appointments.
  • Vehicle modifications.
  • Home modifications.

Care and assistance

  • Professional care or unpaid care from a loved one. This also includes if you’ve lost the capacity to care for someone who depends on you.

Generally speaking, you’re entitled to compensation for medical treatment and equipment after a public liability accident. If you’re unable to work because of your injury, you will also get compensation to cover your economic losses.

To receive compensation for non-economic losses, as well as care and assistance, you will need to meet the specific criteria in your state.

Below, you’ll find our complete state-by-state guide to public liability compensation.

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, $722,000 is currently the maximum compensation for non-economic loss. This amount applies to claims as of 1 October 2023 and increases yearly with inflation.

Your compensation is calculated by comparing the severity of your injuries to the ‘Most Extreme Case (MEC). Your injuries must be 15% of the MEC (or greater) to claim compensation for non-economic loss. The exact amount you receive depends on your MEC percentage.

For injuries 35% and greater, you are entitled to 1% of the maximum compensation for every 1% of the MEC. So an MEC of 50% means you’ll receive 50% of the maximum compensation, which is $361,000.

For lower MEC percentages between 15 – 33%, your compensation is determined by the table in Section 16 of the Act. This operates like the 1% rule but your compensation increases in 0.5% increments.

If your MEC is below 15%, you can only claim for economic loss.


In Queensland, your compensation is based on your Injury Scale Value (ISV). This is a number between 0 and 100 determined by the Court, with help from relevant medical experts.

An ISV of 0 means your injury has completely healed and will have no lasting effect on your life. In contrast, an ISV of 100 is reserved for severe, permanent incapacity such as quadriplegia or a significant brain injury.

Your compensation is calculated by adding your ‘base compensation amount’ and ‘variable compensation amount’. For example, an ISV of 6 entitles you to a base compensation amount of $8,450 plus a variable compensation amount of (your ISV – 5) x $1,970. In this case, your variable compensation is $1,970.

At the other end of the scale, an ISV of 99 gives you a base compensation of $356,200 plus a variable compensation of (99 – 90) x $5,780. This makes your variable amount $52,020.

For the full compensation calculations table, see Schedule 7 of the Act.


In Victoria, the maximum compensation for non-economic loss is currently $713,780. This amount increases with inflation every year on July 1.

Once you begin your claim, a medical practitioner will assess your Whole Person Impairment (WPI). To be eligible for compensation, your WPI must be 5% or more for a physical injury. Psychiatric injuries require a WPI of 10% or more.

However, Victoria also allows non-economic loss claims for specific ‘significant’ injuries, including any of the following:

  • Loss of a breast.
  • Loss of a foetus.
  • Psychiatric injury caused by losing a child before, during or immediately after birth.

The court will determine your final compensation if you have a ‘significant’ injury or have met the minimum WPI.

South Australia

In South Australia, the maximum compensation for non-economic loss is $406,420.

Claims for non-economic loss are only allowed if you meet 1 of 2 requirements:

  • The injury significantly impacted your ability to lead a normal life for at least 7 days, or
  • Your medical expenses meet the ‘prescribed amount’.

Once you’ve met either requirement, your injuries will be examined by an independent medical practitioner. They will assign you an Injury Scale Value (ISV) between 0 and 60.

Your total compensation is then determined by a sliding scale outlined in Part 8 of the Act.

Western Australia

Western Australia has no cap on compensation for non-economic loss. However, you must meet the minimum Whole Person Impairment (WPI) and ‘claim value’ thresholds.

Whole Person Impairment

Your injuries must be assessed at a minimum of 5% WPI. If your injury is under 5% WPI, you are only entitled to economic loss compensation.

Claim value

The value of your claim must be $23,500 or more to get compensation for non-economic loss. The total compensation you receive depends on exactly how much your claim is worth:

  • $23,500 – $68,000: you receive the value of your claim minus $23,500.
  • $68,000 – $91,500: you receive the value of your claim minus a percentage of the first $23,500.
  • $91,500 and over: you will receive the exact value of your claim.

The only exception is a claim for ‘gratuitous services’, which are unpaid domestic tasks like childrearing, cooking and cleaning. Here, the minimum claim value is $7,000.


Tasmania has no cap on non-economic compensation. However, you will need to meet a minimum claim value threshold.

If the Court determines your claim is worth over $6,000, you’re entitled to compensation. For claims of $6,000 – $35,000, you will receive (claim value – $6,000) x 1.25.

For claims worth over $35,000, you’re entitled to that exact amount of compensation. This $35,000 figure is correct as of 1 July 2023 and will increase annually with inflation.

You cannot claim for non-economic loss if the Court determines your claim is worth $6,000 or less.

Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT, there is no cap on compensation for non-economic loss.

While you do not have to meet a minimum impairment threshold, your compensation will be proportionate to the impact of the injury on your life. In addition, the court will look at previous decisions similar to your case.

For more on the ACT’s non-economic loss compensation limits, head to section 139F of the Act.

How can a lawyer help me get more compensation?

Working with a public liability lawyer ensures you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. In our experience, insurers tend to lowball unrepresented claimants, pressuring them to accept less than they deserve. A specialist lawyer can help you avoid insurer scare tactics and negotiate a higher settlement.

If you’ve undergone an assessment to determine your impairment level, we’ll also ensure the results are fair and accurate. This is essential in all public liability cases since impairment levels heavily impact your final compensation. If the assessment is unfair or inaccurate, we’ll challenge the decision using our network of medical experts.

As a bonus, we offer an industry-best No Win No Fee guarantee. If we don’t win your claim, you’ll never receive a bill from us. We also cover all upfront costs, including independent medical assessments and expert evidence. That means no out-of-pocket expenses and nothing to pay until we successfully resolve your claim.

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