What is a Personal Injury Claim? A Brisbane Lawyer Explains

Ryan Stehlik  |  November 22, 2023

Navigating the legal landscape can be complex, especially when dealing with a personal injury. At Best Injury Lawyers, we believe in the power of information. In this blog post, learn about the intricacies of personal injury claims, tailored to Brisbane’s unique legal environment.

What is the meaning of personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal process initiated by an individual who believes they’ve been harmed due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another party. This claim seeks compensation for the injuries sustained and any consequential damages, such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, and emotional distress.

What is the legal definition of personal injury in Australia?

In Australia, personal injury refers to any harm, whether physical or psychological, that an individual sustains as a result of another party’s actions or negligence. This could range from injuries sustained in car accidents to psychological trauma experienced after witnessing a traumatic event.

Why make a personal injury claim?

There are many reasons you may be entitled to a claim, and there are several reasons you should consider making one:

  • Compensation: A personal injury claim provides a way for victims to receive financial compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.
  • Accountability: It holds negligent parties accountable for their actions, potentially preventing future incidents.
  • Closure: For many, achieving justice through a successful claim can offer a sense of closure and validation after a traumatic event.

What is the difference between personal accident and personal injury?

Personal Accident refers specifically to unexpected events leading to physical harm, often where no specific fault or negligence can be attributed to another party. Personal Injury is a broader term that encompasses both physical and psychological harm, typically resulting from another party’s negligence or intentional actions.

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are clear distinctions:

Personal Accident

Defining Factor: Unexpected and Unintentional Events
Personal accident specifically relates to events that cause physical harm unexpectedly and without intent. This implies that the incident was unforeseen and unintentional, where no particular party can be deemed at fault or negligent.

Coverage Scope: Physical Harm Only
Compensation claims under personal accident generally cater only to the physical harm experienced, without delving into psychological or emotional impacts.

Liability Aspect: No Fault Attributed
The critical aspect here is that no blame is assigned. The injury is a result of an accident where no party is deemed responsible for the harm incurred.

Personal Injury

Defining Factor: Broad Encompassing Term with Liability
On the other hand, personal injury not only involves physical harm but also entails psychological or emotional damage. Moreover, the injury typically arises from the negligent or intentional actions of another party.

Coverage Scope: Extensive Injury Types
Personal injury casts a wider net, encompassing physical injuries, psychological trauma, emotional distress, and more, ensuring a comprehensive purview of the impact of the incident on the individual’s life.

Liability Aspect: Negligence or Intentional Wrongdoing
Critical to personal injury claims is establishing the negligence or intentional misconduct of another party, linking it directly to the injury suffered by the claimant.

Practical Implications in a Legal Context

Typically, personal accident insurance policies might provide compensation without the need to establish fault, focusing purely on the physical harm suffered.

But with personal injury claims, a detailed exploration and establishment of fault, negligence, or intentional harm by another party, provides a pathway to compensation for both physical and psychological injuries.

How to Know if You Have a Personal Injury Claim in QLD

In Queensland, to have a valid personal injury claim:

  • There must be evidence of another party’s negligence or wrongful action.
  • The injury suffered should be directly linked to this negligence.
  • You should have incurred damages, be it medical costs, loss of earnings, or other financial or psychological impacts.

Most Common Personal Injury Claims in Queensland

According to Worksafe, the most common types of personal injury claims in Queensland are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Public liability accidents
  • Medical negligence
  • Product liability accidents

The most common injuries sustained in personal injury claims in Queensland are:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., back pain, neck pain, sprains, and fractures)
  • Psychological injuries (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression)
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

The average time it takes for a personal injury claim to be resolved in Queensland is 12 months. However, this can vary depending on the complexity of the claim and the willingness of the parties to settle.

How long after an injury can you claim?

In Queensland, the general limitation period for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the injury. However, there are exceptions and varying circumstances which can affect this timeframe. It’s always best to seek legal advice promptly after an injury.

How to Prepare for a Personal Injury Claim

  • Document everything
  • Seek medical attention
  • Engage a lawyer
  • Preserve evidence

1. Document Everything

Chronicle the Incident: Ensure that every detail of the incident is documented meticulously. From the event’s timing, location, and the circumstances leading to the injury, everything needs to be chronicled in detail.

Witness Details: Collect the names, contact details, and statements from any witnesses present during the incident, as their accounts may be crucial in validating your claim.

Photographic Evidence: If possible, take photographs of the injury, the accident scene, and any other elements that might have contributed to the injury (such as a faulty staircase or wet floor).

Communication Records: Save all correspondence related to the incident, including emails or messages exchanged with the involved parties or insurance companies.

2. Seek Medical Attention

Immediate Medical Care: Ensure that you seek medical attention promptly post-incident, even if injuries seem minor initially. Latent injuries may manifest later, and immediate medical documentation establishes a connection between the incident and subsequent health issues.

Detailed Medical Reports: Make sure that all your injuries and their impact on your lifestyle and work are detailed explicitly in medical reports. Keep a record of all medical appointments, diagnoses, prescribed treatments, and incurred expenses.

Follow-up Care: Stick to all medical advice, attend follow-up appointments, and participate in prescribed therapies or treatments, as non-compliance can be viewed as negligence towards mitigating damages.

3. Engage a Lawyer

Specialist Insight: Go with a lawyer or a legal team specialising in personal injury claims to ensure apt expertise and experience in navigating through the legal intricacies.

Case Evaluation: A capable lawyer will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, advising on the feasibility and the best course of action moving forward.

Legal Strategy Development: Leveraging their expertise, your lawyer will formulate a legal strategy tailored to the specifics of your case, making sure it aligns with Brisbane’s legal framework.

Negotiation and Litigation: Your legal team will be pivotal in negotiations with the involved parties or insurers and will represent your interests strongly in court if litigation becomes necessary.

4. Preserve Evidence

Safekeeping of Artefacts: Store any physical items that might serve as evidence safely, such as damaged goods, clothing, or any other relevant artefacts from the incident.

Organised Documentation: Make sure that all documentation is organised systematically, whether it’s in digital or physical form, so you can quickly retrieve it when needed.

Compensation Expectations for Personal Injury

The amount of compensation varies based on the nature and severity of the injury, the level of negligence involved, and the financial or psychological impact on the victim. In Queensland, compensation may cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future care needs.

90,424 personal injury claims were lodged in QLD in 2022. Of those, 92.3% were approved. The average payout for Queensland personal injury claims in 2022 was $23,000, according to data from Worksafe.

Need to Know if You’re Entitled to Compensation?

As a Recommended Work Injury Compensation Law Firm, Recommended Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Law Firm, and Recommended Public Liability Compensation Law Firm in 2022 and 2023, we at Best Injury Lawyers know how to pave the path towards rightful compensation for your personal injury claim. Speak with our expert team today to explore your options.

Ryan Stehlik

Principal Lawyer

With nearly two decades of experience in insurance, personal injury, and compensation law, Ryan is the driving force behind Best Injury Lawyers. His legal journey has taken him from corporate corridors to founding a practice that is all about making a real difference in people’s lives.