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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 threshold (minor) injury, and whiplash injury claim payouts are limited to weekly payments for a maximum of 52 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 52 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.

Woman suffering from whiplash after a car accident with a potential CTP claim.

Whiplash compensation average payout Australia.

According to SIRA statistics for NSW, for the 12 months to April 2023, the whiplash compensation average payout is likely to be between $10k and $20k . This was paid as personal injury benefits over a period of up to 26 weeks from the date of the accident, but the entitlement period increased to 52 weeks on April 1, 2023.

There are no specific statistics published by SIRA for whiplash injury compensation amounts. However during this period, $28,404 was paid out in statutory benefits for every new claim reported. And since only 54% of these claims were for threshold injuries like whiplash (that have a shorter entitlement period than above-threshold injuries), we can estimate the average per whiplash injury claim is likely to be in the range of $10k-$20k*.

Looking at payouts for above-threshold injuries for the same period, the average is likely to be over $100k**.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 – $318,384,912 was paid out in statutory benefits and 11,209 claims were reported.

** According to SIRA Open Data – 46% of claims are assessed as above threshold, and an additional $563,824,202 was paid out in common law damages and non-economic loss payments for above-threshold injuries.

Why are whiplash injury compensation payments limited to 12 months?

To understand why whiplash injury compensation is limited to weekly benefits for a maximum of 12 months, it’s important to understand the definition of threshold 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
Above threshold
  • Broken arm
  • Head or brain injury
  • Injuries that require surgery

As you can see, whiplash is classified as a threshold (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 12 months. The following table shows NSW CTP claim entitlements for threshold and above threshold injuries:

1. Threshold injury
  • Income support, medical and home care expenses for up to 12 months*
2. Above threshold 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. Above threshold 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.

*Note: if you were at-fault and your accident happened before April 1 2023, your income support, medical, and home care expenses

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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 12-month limit, or even claim a lump sum payout.

Although most people will recover from a car accident whiplash injury within 52 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 above threshold 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 no win no fee lawyers will provide free advice over the phone. Or, read our CTP Claims Guide.

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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