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Whiplash Compensation Payouts Guide.

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents in Australia. But in NSW, whiplash is classified as a ‘minor injury’, and whiplash injury claim payouts are limited to weekly payments for a maximum of 26 weeks, on the basis that most people will recover and return to work in that time. However, many people who have suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident find that their injuries lead to other complications, and recovery can take longer than 26 weeks. In this article, we reveal the whiplash compensation average payout in NSW, and how you might be entitled to additional benefits or lump sum payouts you may not know about.

Whiplash Compensation Payouts Guide.

Whiplash compensation average payout Australia.

According to SIRA statistics for NSW, for the 12 months to February 2021, the whiplash compensation average payout is likely to be between $10k and $20k . This is paid as personal injury benefits over a period of up to 26 weeks from the date of the accident. You may come across online stories of much larger whiplash injury compensation amounts, however, these are generally for accidents prior to December 2017, when there was a significant change to the CTP scheme in NSW.

There are no specific statistics published by SIRA for whiplash injury compensation amounts. However, the average payout per claim in statutory benefits for this period was $26,673. And since only 55% of these claims were for ‘minor’ injuries like whiplash (that have a shorter entitlement period than non-minor injuries), we can estimate the average per whiplash injury claim is $10k-$20k*.

Looking at payouts for non-minor injuries for the same period, the average is in the range of $40k-$60k**. This is paid as personal injury benefit payments and may include additional lump sum amounts. So, if your whiplash injury has led to other injuries (either physical or psychological) or your injuries have worsened over time, you might be entitled to a much larger payout than if you simply claim whiplash injury compensation.

*According to SIRA Open Data – $260,746,920 was paid out in statutory benefits and 10,568 claims were submitted.

** According to SIRA Open Data – 45% of claims are assessed as non-minor, and an additional $124,249,430 was paid out in common law damages payments for non-minor injuries.

Why are whiplash injury compensation payments limited to six months?

To understand why whiplash injury compensation is limited to weekly benefits for a maximum of six months, it’s important to understand the difference between minor and non-minor injuries under the NSW CTP scheme. When you apply for compensation, your injuries will be classified according to the following table:

Physical Injury ClassificationExamples
  • Muscle injury
  • Sore back
  • Whiplash
  • Broken arm
  • Head or brain injury
  • Injuries that require surgery

As you can see, whiplash is classified as a minor injury. That means it’s considered to be similar to other soft tissue injuries including bruising and inflammation, where recovery usually takes less than six months. The following table shows NSW CTP claim entitlements for minor and non-minor injuries:

1. Minor injury
  • Income support, medical and home care expenses for up to 6 months
2. Non-minor injury
  • Income support, medical and home care expenses that can extend beyond 24 months if there’s a claim for damages
  • A lump sum for past and future lost income
3. Non-minor injury over 10% WPI^
  • An additional lump sum for pain and suffering

*WPI stands for whole person impairment, which is a measure of the extent of your injuries.

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Can I claim lump sum compensation payout for whiplash?

If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident, there are some circumstances where you might be able to claim compensation beyond the six-month limit, or even claim a lump sum payout.

Although most people will recover from a car accident whiplash injury within 26 weeks and return to work, there are exceptions where recovery can take a lot longer. Also, some car accident injuries can take time to develop, or may worsen over time so the original injury assessment might no longer apply.

If this has happened to you, the first thing to do is to have your injuries reassessed. If your new medical assessment confirms your injuries have worsened or you’ve developed additional complications, then it’s possible you could be reassessed as having non-minor injuries. That would mean you may be entitled to additional benefits including a lump sum payout.

How can I get advice on my claim?

Law Partners is Australia’s largest specialist personal injury firm, and we have some of the best car accident lawyers in NSW. If you’re unsure about your options and how to proceed, you’re welcome to call us on 13 15 15 and one of our lawyers will provide free advice over the phone. Or, read our CTP Claims Guide.

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