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Head and Brain Injury Claims and Payouts – Your Guide.

If you’ve been in an accident and injured your head or brain, you may be entitled to claim significant financial compensation. Head and brain injuries can be serious, which means you may be eligible to claim lump sum compensation on top of personal injury benefits.  

However, these lump sums are not paid to you automatically; you need to apply for them separately. Our experience with these claims has shown many people are unaware of this, and risk missing out on significant entitlements. 

Whether you’re looking for information for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, this guide covers everything you need to know about compensation for head and brain injuries, and how to claim all of your benefits and lump sum entitlements. 

Woman with head injury from car accident sitting next to damaged car.

Which accidents qualify for a head or brain injury claim?

In our experience, we’ve found the majority of brain injury claims are for motor vehicle accidents. However, compensation is also available for accidents in the workplace, or accidents in public places that are caused by negligence.

In this article, we focus on car accident head and brain injury claims in NSW. For more information on work accidents, read our workers compensation payout guide. Or if your injury happened in a public place like a shopping centre, learn more about claiming compensation in our public liability claims guide.

Does my injury qualify for a head or brain injury claim?

We’ve helped clients with a range of head and brain injuries to claim compensation – here are the most common injuries we come across:  

Cuts and tears on the face and head can be caused by impact, sharp objects, or trauma to the head. These types of injuries are generally considered minor as they can heal quickly, but there’s potential for infections or other injuries to make them more severe. 

A concussion can be caused by a sharp jolt or force to the head and is a form of soft tissue injury that affects the brain. Concussions usually heal within two weeks but can cause ongoing problems and put you at risk of being in other dangerous situations, like falling over due to lost balance. 

A contusion is generally caused by a blow to the head that causes internal bruising, bleeding, and swelling, but doesn’t break the skin.

A haematoma is when blood clots in places that it shouldn’t, and it can happen directly under your skin, between the brain and its outermost layers, or between the skull and the brain.

A haemorrhage is bleeding within the skull, which can put pressure on the brain and cause serious and long-term consequences. 

A penetrating TBI is caused when something like broken glass, airbag force, or crash material pierces your skull and enters the brain. These types of injuries are severe and can cause long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments.

Fractured bones in the neck or skull can be serious and may require surgery and other medical interventions.

Injuries that seem minor can become more serious, and a combination of injuries can make your claim more complex. While you may feel physically fine, head and brain injuries can develop slowly and you must seek medical treatment if you suffer any of these symptoms: 

  • Loss of consciousness (blacking out)  
  • Convulsions or seizures 
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea  
  • Loss of coordination  
  • Sensory problems (blurred vision, ringing in the ears, bad taste in your mouth, etc.)  
  • Any abnormal pain or problems like lost balance, memory trouble, or ongoing pain  


For motor accident head injury claims in NSW, the CTP scheme divides injuries into two categories: threshold (minor) injuries, and above-threshold (serious) injuries. Your head injuries must be assessed correctly, as even one missed detail can mean you can’t claim all the compensation you’re entitled to. Read on to find out how to make sure you don’t miss out on anything you’re eligible to claim.  

What head or brain injury compensation can I claim?

The compensation you can claim after a car accident will depend on how your head injuries are classified; either threshold (minor) or above threshold (non-minor). Threshold injuries are “soft-tissue” injuries like whiplash or concussion; above-threshold injuries are more serious injuries like spinal or skull fractures or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). If your injuries are classified as above threshold and the accident wasn’t your fault, then it’s very likely that you can claim a lump sum.  

Physical injury classification Examples of head and brain injuries 
Threshold (soft tissue injuries) Whiplash  
Lacerations (cuts)  
Above-threshold (fractures, brain damage)  Bone or skull fractures  
Penetrative TBI  

Your injuries will need to be assessed by a GP, and your injury classification will determine what you’re entitled to claim. However, not all GPs are familiar with the head injury claim process, and they might not document details that seem minor at the time but are critical to your overall assessment.  

Our experienced compensation lawyers for head and brain injury claims can refer you to doctors who are also familiar with these claims. Our team will make sure that all relevant injuries are included in your assessment so that you don’t miss out on anything you’re entitled to.  

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Personal injury benefits for car accident head injuries.  

When you make a head or brain injury claim, you’ll need to apply separately for ‘personal injury benefits’ and any lump sums you’re entitled to. Here’s an outline of how personal injury benefits are paid for motor accident claims in NSW through the CTP scheme:

CTP Benefit CTP Compensation Payment Process
Medical and treatment expenses
  • Your GP will provide the insurer with a treatment referral
  • CTP insurer will generally approve a number of sessions with your GP and other treatment providers
  • CTP insurer will generally write directly to your provider and notify them of the approval
  • CTP insurer will pay the GP or treatment provider directly – these expenses won’t form part of your regular payments
  • Benefits are capped depending on the severity of your injuries
  • You should receive whatever treatment is necessary to make sure you recover from your injuries
Care expenses
  • Generally treated in the same way as medical and treatment expenses.
Income support payments
  • Weeks 1-13: 95% of pre-accident earnings
  • Weeks 14 – 52: 80-85% of pre-accident earnings. If the CTP insurer cuts off your benefits it will need to give you four weeks’ written notice.
  • Beyond week 52 you can continue receiving weekly  benefits if you meet the following three conditions:
    1. Your injuries are deemed as above threshold (non minor) injuries
    2. You’re not mostly or wholly at fault
    3. You’re certified unfit to return to work

Can I claim a lump sum payout for my head or brain injury?  

You can claim a lump sum payout on top of your personal injury benefits if you meet the following conditions:  

There are two types of lump sum payment available: future income loss, and non-economic loss (sometimes known as pain and suffering).  

Lump sum payment Description
Future income loss

Covers your loss of earnings or reduced ability to earn income due to your injuries right up until the date of retirement. For example: if you can only work 20 hours a week because of your injuries, and you used to work 40 hours, your lump sum could include an amount to cover 20 hours a week in lost earnings for the rest of your working life.

Non-economic loss

Covers your reduced quality of life. Only a person with a whole person impairment of more than 10% can claim non-economic loss as well as income loss.

For more information about claiming a head or brain injury lump sum settlement, call 13 15 15 for free advice over the phone, or see our guide to lump sum CTP payments.

Head and brain injury compensation FAQs.

In the 12 months to January 2024, there were 12,398 motor accident injury claims reported in NSW and $1.35 billion was paid out in benefits and lump sums. That’s $108,889 paid out for every new claim reported.*

It’s important to understand that your head or brain injury car accident settlement will depend on the extent of your injuries and losses (such as lost income). However, these injuries can be significant, and the payouts are often higher than the average. To get an indication of your CTP payout amount, you can use this CTP calculator.

*Based on SIRA Open Data, February 2024 

Even if you’re at fault, or mostly at fault for an accident, you can make a claim for your car accident head injury.  Your personal injury benefits will be restricted to lost income, treatment, and care expenses for a maximum of 52 weeks after the accident, or 26 weeks if your accident happened before April 1, 2023.  

If you were at fault and have caused injury to someone else, the injured party may claim personal injury benefits under your vehicle’s CTP insurance policy. You should provide the other driver with your CTP insurance information.  

Once you’ve submitted your car accident head or brain injury claim it will be reviewed by the insurer, and they’ll send you a letter within four weeks to tell you whether they’re accepting or denying the claim. The insurer will start making payments within 14 days of accepting your claim.  

The insurer will then send you a second liability decision within three months of your claim being lodged. This liability decision will indicate whether your injuries have been classified as above or below threshold injuries, and who is at fault for the accident.  

Yes, if your injury was caused by an accident involving a motor vehicle, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. You can get free advice on what you can claim by talking to one of our bicycle accident lawyers.

How do I claim compensation for my head or brain injury?

The motor accident injury claim process in NSW is designed so that you can submit your own claim. For more information about the step-by-step process, see our article on how to lodge a claim.

However, it’s important to understand that compensation claims for head or brain injuries can be significant, and even if you’re not using a lawyer, the insurer will have lawyers on its side. Your best chance of making a successful compensation claim is to seek advice from one of our lawyers with experience in brain injury claims. Our specialist lawyers will make sure your injuries are properly assessed through our network of doctors, to make sure you receive your full entitlements.

How do I get free legal help with my claim? 

You can get help with your claim by contacting a specialist lawyer on 13 15 15. At Law Partners, we’ve helped thousands of Australians with head or brain injuries to claim compensation, including lump sums that they may not have been aware of. We win over 99% of our cases and we operate on a no win, no fee basis.


Tanja Maksimovic

Managing Solicitor

An accredited specialist in personal injury law, backed by over 10 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to with their motor accident claim.

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