Medical Negligence Injury Thresholds
As a consequence of Australia’s tort reform, there are now a number of jurisdictions with minimum ‘medical negligence injury thresholds’ that must be met before compensation can be payable.
These medical negligence injury thresholds (i.e. the amount you’re required to be injured) vary throughout Australia. However, most are very restrictive and can see injuries that significantly impact a person’s quality of life (e.g. substantial loss of movement in a limb, scaring, loss of fingers or toes, loss of taste, etc) not qualifying for medical negligence compensation.
In fact, numerous studies have found a massive reduction in claims since medical negligence injury thresholds have been introduced, with many victims of smaller injuries now left uncompensated.
Medical negligence injury thresholds in Australia:
- ACT – No injury thresholds
- NSW – 15% of the most serious case (in reality this is usually around $100k of financial loss/injury)
- NT – 5% permanent impairment is required for non-pecuniary loss (e.g. pain and suffering)
- QLD – No injury thresholds
- SA – Injured person’s ability to lead a normal life is significantly impaired for at least 7 days
- TAS – No injury thresholds
- VIC – 5% whole-person impairment for physical injuries
- WA – General damages not available where less than $18,000
Whole Person Impairment (WPI)
In NSW and Victoria medical negligence injury thresholds are measured by a percentage of ‘Whole Person Impairment’ (WPI). Whole Person Impairment is defined as an alteration to a person’s health status (i.e. loss, damage, malfunction, etc) that’s static, stabilised and unlikely to change substantially over the next year.
For medical negligence claims, the question of impairment is medical and is determined by independent medical specialists who are accredited to apply the authorised guidelines.
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