*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

How much is my medical negligence claim worth?

The amount someone can be awarded in a medical negligence claim varies depending on many factors including:

  • the nature and severity of the injury,
  • whether the injury is likely to resolve or whether the person is going to have lifelong issues,
  • the individual circumstances of the injured person, and
  • the jurisdiction (state) in which the claim is made.

You can claim generally for the same things in each state of territory but there are different rules, legislation and restrictions on the award of damages (compensation) between each state.

This article explores each of the above, with a focus on medical negligence claims in New South Wales.

Eligibility for Negligence Payout

A medical negligence payout is the award of compensation for a personal injury suffered in the course of medical treatment, whether it be in a hospital, aged care facility, during general practitioner or specialist visits or allied health and psychologist sessions.

In order to be eligible to claim medical negligence compensation, you must establish the elements of negligence – being that a healthcare practitioner or hospital or facility breached its duty of care to you which has caused you to suffer from some damage or harm.

Medical Negligence Payout, What is it?

In NSW, you can claim the following in a medical negligence claim:

  • Non-Economic loss – this is compensation for the ‘pain and suffering’ caused by an injury. A court will take into account things like the nature and severity of an injury, the impact it has on someone’s quality of life, the way in which the injury affects day to day functioning and whether the person is going to recover or not.  Non-economic loss is assessed on a scale of 0 to 100% of a most-extreme case.  100% of a most-extreme case is something like a young person who is rendered a quadriplegic – clearly a very serious injury.  Presently, 100% of a most-extreme case is awarded $693,500.00.  This amount is indexed at the beginning of October each year.
  • Out of pocket expenses – you can claim reimbursement for any past out of pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury. These are things like treatment, medication, mobility aids and the cost of travelling to appointments. Future out of pocket expenses are often treatment expenses, home modifications and any ongoing costs. Future out of pocket expense claims often need to be supported by expert evidence.
  • Domestic care and assistance – if you are unable to perform tasks around your home because of your injury and you receive help for those tasks, then this can be included in your claim. If the help you are getting is provided by family and friends on a gratuitous basis (for free), you can include this in your claim if you have received 6 hours of care and/or assistance for a consecutive 6 months or more. Similarly, if you have paid a cleaner or for someone to perform lawn or garden maintenance on a commercial basis, those costs can be claimed. A claim for any future domestic care and assistance must be supported by expert evidence, often from an occupational therapist.
  • Wage loss – if you have been unable to work because of your injury, then you can claim the total amount of your wage losses and lost superannuation. Your claim for future wage loss is calculated based on your capacity to engage in work, rather than the amount you are working at the time your compensation is claimed.

Case Study

For an example of a recent case, read our case study on a successful wrongful birth claim decided in 2022 where the plaintiff was awarded $408,700 plus costs.

How much payout money can you get for different claims?

The amount of compensation someone can claim depends on the injury. If your injury is serious, like a brain injury or quadriplegia, and it will have lifelong effects then the amount of compensation you can claim will be higher than someone who will make a full recovery from their injury.

Psychiatric injuries generally attract an award of between 25 and 40% of a most extreme case towards non-economic loss.

This is because courts have traditionally been hesitant to assess psychiatric injuries in the same way that physical injuries are assessed.  You can read more about psychiatric injuries here.

Entitlements to compensation vary when the claim is about someone’s avoidable death. There are a number of different avenues available in those circumstances. You can read more about the various types of claims here.

Medical negligence cases are complex and it is important to obtain early legal advice so that you know what your entitlements are and where you stand.

Get in touch with us

If you or anyone you know has suffered harm as a result of medical negligence and you would like to investigate a potential claim for compensation, please contact our medical negligence team on 13 43 63.

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our medical negligence lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in ParramattaSydneyWollongongNewcastle and Toronto.