The Victorian Government today released the final recommendations of the Wrongs Act Inquiry and its response to those recommendations. The response largely favours plaintiffs. There are, however, no real surprises from the draft recommendations released in November 2013.
The Government's response supports reforms to:
- adjust the psychiatric impairment threshold for general damages to injuries assessed at 10% or more;
- apply the 3x average weekly earnings cap on economic loss to the difference between pre- and post-injury earnings;
- deduct a deceased person's personal expenses from their earnings for the purposes of dependents' claims for loss of expectation of financial support before applying the economic loss cap;
- provide an entitlement for damages for the loss of capacity to care for others;
- increase the cap on general damages so that it aligns with the Accident Compensation Act;
- require that claimants for general damages serve the information required by the Act in a prescribed form;
- amend s 31 of the Act to provide that damages for mental harm caused by an aircraft are only recoverable on a strict liability basis if accompanied by personal injury or property damage.
The Government has agreed to give further consideration to certain other recommendations, including that the impairment threshold for spinal injuries be 5% or more. It has announced its intention to prepare a Bill to implement its response to the Inquiry's report and, if re-elected, will introduce the Bill to Parliament in early 2015.
Further details of the Inquiry's full list of recommendations and the Government's response are available here.