Final report - Adjusting the Balance: Inquiry into Aspects of the Wrongs Act 1958
On 2 September 2014, the Government released the Commission’s final report for the Inquiry into Aspects of the Wrongs Act 1958.
The Commission has identified a package of changes to address several anomalies, inconsistencies and inequities arising from limitations to personal injury damages introduced in the early 2000s, without having an unduly adverse impact on the price and availability of insurance. Based on detailed analysis and extensive consultation with participants, the Commission estimated that this package is likely to improve compensation for some claimants, and increase public liability and professional indemnity insurance premiums by up to five per cent.
The Commission’s recommended package of changes to the limitations on personal injury damages would:
- widen access to damages for non-economic loss (pain and suffering) by reducing slightly the existing injury thresholds for spinal injuries and psychiatric injuries
- provide for additional compensation for pain and suffering to severely injured persons by slightly increasing the cap on damages for non-economic loss
- ensure that more injured people and their dependants are able to receive compensation for economic loss (loss of earnings and earning capacity)
- allow injured people to claim for a limited entitlement for loss of capacity to care for others.
In order to offset the impact of its recommendations on the Medical Panels and the courts, the Commission also recommended some changes to the process for referring personal injury claims for assessment by Medical Panels Victoria.
The Commission also recommended that damages for mental harm caused by aircraft accidents are only recoverable — under a strict liability regime — if the mental harm is accompanied by personal or property damage caused by an aircraft.