Back Injury Payouts Australia – Your Guide.
Back injuries can be completely debilitating, and they can make it extremely difficult to keep working and doing what you love. Any injury to the back’s bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles or nerves can cause pain and discomfort.* Most back pain is experienced in the lower back, and the most common injuries include sprains and strains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae.
Depending on how you injured your back, compensation may be available to help you if you need time off work or treatment, and in some cases lump sums are available. Read on to learn everything you need to know about back injury payouts in Australia, including examples of successful claims.
Can I claim a compensation payout for a back injury in Australia?
Compensation may be available to you if you’ve sustained a back injury in any of these situations:
- If you suffered a back injury at work.
- If you injured your back in a motor vehicle accident as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcycle rider.
- If your back injury happened in a public place such as a supermarket or office building, where the owner or occupier acted in a negligent way and was responsible for your accident.
If your back injury stops you from returning to work in a job that you’re trained in, you may also be entitled to a total and permanent disability (TPD) lump sum payment through your super fund (more information on this below).
How can I prove I have back pain?
Back pain can be caused by a range of different conditions, so you’ll need to get an assessment from your doctor to identify the cause of your pain, and to build the evidence needed to claim a compensation payout for your back injury.
During the assessment, your doctor will ask questions and conduct tests to try to identify the cause of your back pain. This may include:
- Asking you about when the pain started, and whether you were doing anything physical that may have caused the pain, like heavy lifting.
- Asking you about recent illnesses, like coughs or fevers.
- A physical exam, where the doctor may be looking for signs of nerve damage, testing muscle strength, and looking for signs of tension in the sciatic nerve.
- Referring you for imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI scan.
- Nerve tests, which can predict the level of nerve root damage.
Your doctor’s assessment will form an essential part of your evidence if you’re claiming a compensation payout for your back injury.
If you’re not sure where to start with proving you have back pain, you can call 13 15 15 and get free legal advice. And if you’re entitled to compensation, Law Partners can fund all the medical reports needed to support your back injury compensation claim.
How much should I get for a back injury?
Here are two case studies to give you an indication of back injury payouts available in Australia:
Case study 1: Builder injured at work.
Peter* was carrying a large steel beam with a colleague who unintentionally let go – forcing all the weight to shift onto Peter and causing a serious back injury that required fusion surgery.
We managed his claim and in addition to having surgery approved, we helped Peter obtain a lump sum payout for permanent impairment that amounted to approximately $60,000.
We also built the evidence to show Peter met the threshold to bring a common law damages claim against his employer. In NSW, this type of claim is known as a Work Injury Damages claim and meant we could claim an additional lump sum payout for his past and future economic loss, which meant Peter’s total back injury payout was well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Case study 2: Customer injured in a fast-food restaurant.
Carlos* was similar in age and occupation to George but hurt his back when he slipped on a wet floor at a fast-food restaurant that didn’t have any warning signs.
Because his claim didn’t come under the workers compensation system but was a public liability claim, we were able to claim a lump sum that covered not just his economic loss (like George’s workers compensation claim) but also included amounts for his treatment needs, domestic assistance and a substantial payment for pain and suffering. Once again, his total back injury compensation payout was well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
*Names have been changed to protect our clients’ identities.
What’s the average payout for a back injury at work in Australia?
There’s no official data for the average payout for a back injury at work in Australia, but here’s a basic summary of how your total back injury compensation amount would be calculated:
- Work out how much you’ve lost in wages by being off work.
- Add all the medical expenses you’ve incurred, including the cost of travel and home help you’ve needed.
- Have your degree of permanent impairment assessed by an approved doctor.
- Your permanent impairment lump sum settlement will be calculated based on the table below.
- If your back injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, you might also be entitled to an additional work injury damages lump sum back injury payout.
Your permanent impairment rating is measured on a scale of 0-100% and is assessed by an approved doctor using NSW compensation guidelines. Here are the lump sum payout ranges for NSW:
|Degree of permanent impairment||Compensation range|
|0 – 10%||$0|
|11% – 20%||$22,480 – $53,970|
|21% – 30%||$51,880 – $86,370|
|31% – 40%||$83,040 – $139,760|
|41% – 50%||$131,440 – $193,160|
|51% – 60%||$242,010 – $341,270|
|61% – 70%||$376,030 – $489,280|
|71% – 74%||$510,040 – 563,270|
|75% – 100%||$577,050 – $637,290|
Estimating your total back injury payout for a work injury isn’t straightforward and depends on your individual circumstances. But you can get free legal advice by calling 13 15 15 and speaking to one of our specialist workers compensation lawyers.
What back problems qualify for total and permanent disability?
Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance is included in most super funds, and lump sum payouts can be substantial, although many Australians are unaware they have TPD cover.
There’s no specific list of back problems that qualify for a TPD payout, and different insurance policies have different definitions to qualify for a TPD payout. But as a general rule, if you’ve been unable to work due to your back injury for an extended period (usually more than three months) with no expectation to return to work, then you may be entitled to a TPD payout.
You can call 13 15 15 to find out if you have TPD insurance included in your super, whether you qualify for a TPD payout for your back injury, and whether you can make multiple TPD claims. There’s no cost for this service.
How can I get help claiming a back injury payout?
Law Partners is Australia’s largest specialist personal injury firm. If you’d like to know more about how to claim a back injury payout, you can call 13 15 15 and get free legal advice from one of our specialist personal injury lawyers.
Do I have a case?
Our senior lawyers will assess your case for free.