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What are the categories of damages used by the courts?

With Australian roads exposing drivers to a number of hazards, it is important to stay safe when you use them. Unfortunately, road safety is not always within your complete control – especially, if the other driver's negligence caused the crash.

In the event of an injury stemming from a car accident, you may be able to seek damages if the opposing driver was negligent. As such, it is important to know what damages are and the categories that structure them.

What are damages?

The legal concept of damages is defined as an attempt to measure or quantify in a financial nature the level of harm a plaintiff has suffered due to the actions of a defendant. The aim of damages is to restore the injured plaintiff to the position they were in prior to the injury or illness.

As with all remedial forms of justice, they do not always fix everything that has happened. Yet, they can offer plaintiffs a way to move forward with their lives and ensure their standard of living is not negatively affected by the injury.

What categories of damages do New South Wales recognise?

To ensure that the damages received by the plaintiff are fair, the law tends to recognise a number of categories. There are three heads of damages that are recognised under New South Wales law that affect car accidents. These include:

  1. General damages – Loss sustained as a result of pain, disability or disfigurement that does not include economic or medical-cost loss.
  2. Pecuniary loss – Out-of-pocket expenses that relate to medical or other healthcare expenses, including domestic and personal care.
  3. Income loss – Economic loss due to the injury up to the date of the trial, as well as future income loss.

When someone seeks damages after a car accident, it is up to them and their lawyer to come up with a schedule of damages. This will outline what they believe best represents their loss.

During the development of a schedule, it is essential to avoid instances where damages are duplicated or form part of multiple heads. For instance, a court will need to determine the balance between plaintiff's inability to execute domestic duties and any allowance for the provision of commercial carers.

If you are looking to learn more about damages and how they determine the settlement a plaintiff can receive, talk to the experts at Gerard Malouf and Partners today.

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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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