What Are Heads Of Damages In A Claim?

People discussing heads of damages in court

Heads of damages are a number of elements in a compensation claim that the Court awards a monetary amount towards. All of which make up your total ‘damages’ or the amount of compensation awarded.

We’ve broken it down below, but if you need help, just chat, call or email and we’ll be glad to explain more.

Pain and Suffering (Also Called ‘General Damages’)

This includes physical suffering, mental distress, increased pain and anxiety created by medical treatment, and the deprivation of the ability to participate in normal activities and thus to enjoy life to the full.

Pain and Suffering is the only part of a claim that seeks to compensate an injured person for the very injuries themselves, as opposed to the losses and increased costs created by their injuries.

The amount that is payable for this component, in most cases, is unfortunately limited as it has been capped under legislation. When this legislation was first introduced, the maximum amount that anyone could claim for Pain and Suffering, for the most severe of injuries, was $294,500.

Loss of earnings Or Loss Of Functional Capacity

This head of damage refers to your past and future loss of income resulting from your injuries and the ability to perform functions. The Court normally will assess your net average monthly wage prior to the accident, in order to calculate your average salary.

In most cases this will be multiplied by the time you were unable to work in order to calculate your loss of weekly earnings. You may also be entitled to claim for the loss of any superannuation. Also you need to take into consideration aspects such as;

  • A 2nd job,
  • A business
  • A loss of overtime
  • A loss of allowances
  • A loss of promotional opportunities
  • A demotion resulting in decrease of pay
  • A loss of expected increases per enterprise bargaining agreements / performance reviews / appraisals

Care and assistance

By this head of damage we generally mean help with domestic, personal care, vehicle or home maintenance tasks. This can be helping you out of a chair or bed, helping you to the toilet, bathe, shop etc.

As you can imagine when injured, simple tasks can become huge obstacles. This care can be provided to you by friends, neighbours or relatives. Or you may engage paid services to undertake the tasks you could not perform yourself due to your injury.

Medical expenses

This head of damage refers to any past and future medical expenses you may face as a result of your injury. If you have incurred or will incur expenses for medical or rehabilitation treatment, pharmaceuticals, medical aids, vehicle and home modifications, or any other reasonable out of pocket expense because of your injuries, then you are entitled to claim reimbursement for those expenses.

Aids and equipment

Let’s say for example you have a spinal injury. If so, you might need a manual or power wheelchair and or other mobility equipment. You may need specialised clothing, continence equipment, adjustable beds, physiotherapy, home ramp access or vehicle modifications. All of these aids and equipment for your injury can be claimed.


Where you have suffered past monetary loss or incurred expenses due to your injuries, then generally you are entitled to claim the interest on those losses from the date they are incurred, to when your claim resolves. This can be on past medical expenses, past care, past pain and suffering or loss of past income.

Legal Fees

In Queensland, you are covered by firstly our No Win No Fee Guarantee, and we make you aware of any fees up front and send you a fee agreement, but you are also covered also by ‘the 50/50 rule’. You’re welcome to chat or call us on (07) 5531 4444 if you have any questions.

In short, it’s where damages or the settlement sum of your claim is less than the legal professional fees that could be charged. Or where the professional fees became so high, that you would be left with very little in-hand from their settlement sum.  If this happens, then the 50/50 rule kicks in to ensure that you always achieve a fair share of their recovered damages.


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