This article will provide general information for survivors about bringing a claim.

1. Does the person who caused the injury pay the compensation? ​

You are the claimant/plaintiff who is making the claim.  The respondent/defendant is the person/entity who defends the claim.  Many people think that the person who caused the incident pays the compensation. This is not always the case. If they are insured, their insurance company will cover the cost of appointing solicitors to defend your claim, and if you are successful, it is the insurance company who pays the compensation – not the person at fault. 

2. How much compensation am I going to get?

In assessing your damages, the following considerations are relevant:  

  • How the injuries have affected you, including the pain and suffering you have experienced and are likely to experience in the future; 
  • How much money you have lost in income since the incident/s, and the impact of your injuries on your future earning capacity; 
  • How much money you have spent on medical treatment, medications and other out of pocket expenses resulting from your injuries; 
  • Care and assistance you have received from other people whilst recovering from your injuries; 
  • Refunds you will have to pay to Medicare, Centrelink, public hospitals, WorkCover, and other government departments as a result of your injuries and claim; 
  • Any future costs you may have for treatment, medications and other out of pocket expenses.   

These are the main heads of damage on which your claim will be assessed.  An assessment of the value of your claim is not able to be done until your injuries have stabilised and all of the relevant evidence has been received.   

3. Will I have to go to court?

Most cases settle out of court.  In order to be successful, you need to prove that someone else caused the incident.  If it is unclear who caused the incident, or there is a dispute about how much compensation you should receive, we need to be ready to go to court if necessary.

4. How long will it take?

Each case will be different and depend on various factors, including but not limited to: 

  • Your medical treatment and when your injury stabilises; 
  • How long it takes to obtain critical evidence about your claim; 
  • The procedural steps required by legislation; and  
  • Whether we are required to commence court proceedings.   

5. What do I need to pay out of my compensation?

If you are successful in obtaining compensation, there will be amounts you may need to pay from the compensation you receive. These things include: 

  • Refunds to organisations and government departments such as Medicare, Centrelink, Private health funds, WorkCover, etc. 
  • Disbursements such as barrister’s fees, medical report fees, etc. that have been paid on your behalf throughout your claim. 
  • Legal fees (some fees may be recoverable from the respondent in certain circumstances). 

Another common question is whether income tax is payable on the amount of compensation received.  Whilst this is not generally the case, we recommend that if you have any concerns about this, you obtain advice from an Accountant. 


We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim, please reach out to the author and Littles Lawyers today. 

Like? Share it with your friends.