Are Compensation Payout Calculators reliable?

Calculating economic loss

If you do a Google search for “compensation payout calculators Qld” the results will include the websites of several plaintiff personal injury law firms with online compensation calculators. These calculators walk you through how to estimate the value of your personal injury claim in just a few simple clicks.

Why? Because these law firms know that people who are seeking compensation want to find out whether it’s worthwhile making a claim and what the “average payout” is for their injury.

Injured individuals turn to tools like online compensation payout calculators and so called, “instant claim checks” for a fast answer, without the need to speak to a qualified professional. These law firms then capture your contact details and ta-da – you’re in a marketing funnel and according to the compensation calculator results – you may recover A LOT of money for your injury.

Can compensation payout calculators be trusted?

But just how reliable are these online calculators? Well, we’re sorry to break it to you but the answer is, not very reliable at all.

To be frank, they provide junk results and you should not rely upon the figures “assessed” or be enticed to communicate with a law firm to get the results.

You might’ve heard the saying, “garbage in, garbage out”. Well, that’s the best way to think of compensation payout calculators. 

We tested several of these tools and here’s what we can tell you:

1. Compensation payout calculators artificially inflate figures

Many of the calculators we tested inserted exaggerated lump sums, based upon little or no data.

In reality, a personal injury claim requires careful analysis of all of the information and evidence relevant to assessing each head of damage and all amounts claimed must be proven. 

2. The legal basis for the assessment is often wrong

In Queensland, some clients are entitled to have their damages assessed: 

  • “At large”, meaning according to caselaw; or 
  • With reference to legislation.

The way that damages should be assessed depends upon: 

  • The nature of the incident.
  • The parties to the claim. 
  • The date of the injury. 

Online compensation calculators do not provide for damages assessed both at large and with reference to legislation: they usually adopt one method or the other. In some instances, the online calculators do not resemble Qld damages at all. 

3. The injury descriptions don't match the legislation

There are 2 pieces of legislation under which most Queensland personal injury damages are assessed: the Civil Liability Regulation 2014 (Qld); and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 (Qld).

The online calculators do not generally list all of the injury descriptions or even the various categories of injury. 

4. The date of injury is not factored in

Each year the scales of injury under the Queensland legislation are updated and increased. This means that payouts for pain and suffering vary and must be assessed with reference to the dollar value of an injury scale value as at the date of injury. 

5. Lawyers don't use these compensation payout calculators

Perhaps one of the most telling things about these calculators is that personal injury lawyers do not actually use them to assess their client’s entitlements.

Why? Because they’re fundamentally flawed and cannot hope to capture all of the factual information or law required to provide a remotely accurate assessment of a person’s entitlement to compensation. 

6. Compensation payout calculators leave out heads of damage

In personal injury law, the categories of damage to which a person may be entitled is not closed. These calculators often only list a small number of the types of damages that a Court may award. 

7. Care is not properly accounted for

Care that is provided due to accident related injuries is required to be assessed having regard to a number of matters including: 

  • The time over which the care is provided.
  • The number of hours per week for which care is provided. 
  • Whether it is paid or unpaid care.
  • The commercial rates applicable for such care.
  • Statutory and common law tests applicable to claims for care. 

In several of the online calculators that we identified, care is not accounted for at all. 

8. Ummm - what if liability is denied?

In a claim for personal injury you need to prove (a) injury; and (b) liability on the part of the respondent. 

If you have a claim where liability is denied or contributory negligence is alleged, this is likely to impact the level of damages recovered. Compensation payout calculators assume 100% success, however, real lawyers don’t. 

9. There is no substitute for expert advice

Compensation claim calculators play to what many people want in this day and age – convenience. The ability to get instant access to information that they would otherwise get from an expert is irresistible to people and this is more so, when they are injured. 

However, there is no substitute for considered advice from an experienced lawyer, who is familiar with your matter. Personal injury law is highly specialised and specialists undergo additional training, making them best placed to provide advice about the value of a claim. 

What would a real lawyer say?

If you were to ask a lawyer what your claim was worth in your first meeting with them, you can expect that their response would be along these lines: 

  • It is not possible to provide that advice from an initial meeting.
  • There are a number of heads of damage under which compensation can be claimed in these cases and in your case, you might be entitled to claim XYZ. 
  • A number of investigations must be undertaken to identify all amounts that can be claimed on your behalf.

So instead of spending time online trawling through information which is invariably wrong and arguably misleading, injured individuals are best to speak to a lawyer about their entitlements.

Delays in gathering evidence in support of a case can affect the ultimate outcome. 

Need more information?

This article is not legal advice. 

If you require legal advice with respect to your rights and entitlements, contact Denning Insurance Law

To read about recent CTP compensation payouts in Queensland, see this article. For information on how whole person impairment compensation is calculated, click here. To understand how pain and suffering compensation is calculated in Queensland, read our article on the topic.