When you are injured in a motor accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. The amount of compensation you can claim is broken down into various components, called “heads of damage”, which represent the different types of loss you have suffered as a result of the motor accident. Some heads of damage represent financial losses such as loss of earnings and out-of-pocket expenses, however you can also claim compensation for other types of damage including non-economic loss (pain and suffering) and care and assistance provided gratuitously by your family.
Motor accident claims are different to most other personal injury claims because, under the motor accident scheme, claimants injured in a motor accident must meet certain thresholds in order to claim some heads of damage (such as non economic loss, gratuitous services and future loss of earning capacity).
In order to assess whether you meet the thresholds, your Injury Scale Value (“ISV”) must be determined. Your ISV is a numerical value between 0 and 100, which is based on the nature and severity of your injuries, medical evidence and the impact of the injuries on your life.
The ISV Medical Assessment
In order to determine your ISV, each of your injuries must be assessed and allocated an Item Number from the ISV Table. Each Item Number in the ISV Table represents a different injury, and most are categorised by severity of the injury (Extreme, Serious, Moderate or Minor).
Item Numbers provide a range from which your final ISV is determined. Essentially, the more severe the injury is, the higher the ISV range. For example:
|Item Number||Injury||ISV Range|
|90||Extreme shoulder injury||31 – 50|
|91||Serious shoulder injury||16 – 30|
|92||Moderate shoulder injury||6 – 15|
|93||Minor shoulder injury||0 – 5|
In order to determine the appropriate Item Number for each of your injuries, your injuries must be assessed by an expert medical practitioner accredited under the scheme. This assessment can only occur once your injuries have stabilised. You will need to attend an appointment with the expert so that they can examine you and provide a report.
The expert will provide their opinion as to the appropriate Item Number for each of your injuries; however, they do not determine your final ISV.
How your ISV is determined
Unfortunately your ISV is not calculated by adding together the impairments of all of your injuries; instead, it is based on the ISV range of your dominant injury (the injury with the highest ISV range).
The expert’s opinion regarding the appropriate Item Number for each of your injuries is one of the factors taken into consideration when determining your ISV. The court will consider other factors including the ISV range of your dominant injury, the adverse impact of your other injuries and your personal circumstances including age, life expectancy, pain and suffering.
Ultimately, your ISV is determined by negotiation and agreement with the defendant. If no agreement can be made between the parties, the Court will decide your ISV at trial.