What are general damages?

General damage is compensation for pain and suffering, diminished quality of life and loss of life expectancy.

How are general damages calculated?

There is no fixed method of calculation.  Each case is individually assessed by the Judge hearing the case.

What is a threshold?

A threshold is a no go zone in which the claimant receives nothing for general damages. Compensation is only paid something for general damages once the claimant reaches a certain level of impairment.

Why have a threshold?

Thresholds were introduced by Government to cut out smaller claims and to reduce the cost of insurance.

What thresholds are in place in Western Australia?

As at the time of writing threshold in Western Australia is $20,300.  This applies to motor vehicle accidents and other civil claims.

Do thresholds apply to workers compensation?

No.  Workers compensation has its own rules and restrictions but no threshold.


It seems fundamentally unfair that a person can be injured yet have no right to make a claim for the loss.

Thresholds apply to all civil claims across the board. In effect the threshold amount is deducted from each and every claim.

Thresholds introduce a new form of risk to litigation: is my claim worth more or less than the threshold? This is a matter of opinion. It puts a claimant in the unfair position of having to make a guess.

The threshold applies only to general damages so a claimant will always be entitled to loss of earnings and out of pocket expenses in full.

Please note that any information included in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.