Frequently asked questions
1. Will I get my doctor and medicine cost refunded?
Yes, in most cases these expenses should be refunded. Your lawyer will assist you in getting them refunded.
2. Can I have my travel expenses due to medical treatment refunded?
Yes, in many cases you are entitled to a refund for travel expenses relating to medical assistance or when you need to travel for appointments with physiotherapists. Ask your lawyer to help you.
3. What is meant by fault?
When law or an agreement doesn’t stipulate stricter liability, a person is responsible for the damage he/she causes on the basis of the principle of culpability. Culpa is the Latin word for fault. One of the requirements for a person to be made liable to pay compensation is that he/she caused the damage by acting in a culpable manner. This means that he/she caused the damage by acting wilfully or negligently.
4. What is the Compensation Commission?
According to Act No. 69, 1995 on the payment of compensation from the government to victims of offences, the government pays compensation to those who suffer injuries due to violations of the General Penal Code. There are several additional requirements that must also be met. A claim for payment from the government must be filed officially and it is advisable to have a lawyer assist you in doing so. The committee which decides on whether the government is liable to pay compensation is called the Compensation Commission.
5. What is medical invalidity?
Compensation for medical invalidity is calculated based on an evaluation by doctors on how much physical invalidity you have suffered. Medical invalidity is not dependent on how much influence your permanent invalidity has on your chance to earn income (permanent invalidity is based on the Act on Torts). Medical invalidity is the basies for calculating compensation from voluntary insurances.
6. What is an evaluation meeting?
At an evaluation meeting assessors (usually doctors or a doctor and a lawyer), appointed either by your lawyer and the respective insurance company or by a court, meet you to evaluate your condition. You will be given sufficient notice of the meeting in advance. During the meeting you will need to answer questions about the accident you had, your health prior to the accident, your employment history prior to, and following the accident and your leisure activities. Finally, the doctors conduct an examination.
7. What is “harm” ?
The term “harm” in torts law (Ice: miski) is sometimes called non-material damage and refers to emotional discomfort, fear, nightmares and other such ailments suffered by victims of accident or assault. Compensation is not paid for harm when the victim has a right to claim payment from voluntary insurance.
8. What is the point of stability?
The term point of stability refers to the date on which it is considered that your medical condition is stable and that further recovery is not to be expected.
9. What is temporary loss of income?
Temporary loss of income refers to the income that you miss out on from the date of your accident to the point of stability.
10. What is permanent invalidity?
Permanent invalidity is measured as percentage indicating how much your ability to earn income is reduced during your lifetime. This means, for example, that a person who has 10% permanent invalidity due to an accident is believed to be able to earn 10% less income during his/her lifetime than he/she would have otherwise earned, either by working 10% less on average or by having to retire that much earlier. A person who cannot work at all after an accident is considered to have 100% permanent invalidity.
11. What is permanent harm?
The term permanent harm refers to the permanent emotional and mental harm. When such harm is evaluated it is assessed how much your day-to-day life is affected by an accident, for example, your reduced ability to spend time outdoors, difficulty in movement and reduced capacity to participate in leisure activities. Simplifying somewhat, it could be said that permanent harm reduces your quality of life and you may be entitled to compensation for that. Permanent harm can at most be deemed 100%, in cases when the victim is nearly incapable of taking care of him-/herself. Permanent harm due to a neck and/or back injury resulting from a car accident is commonly evaluated as 5-20% invalidity. Permanent harm is not compensated when payments are granted by voluntary insurance.
12. What is voluntary insurance?
Voluntary insurance refers to insurance that is purchased freely and without any compulsion, for example, accident insurance for employees (purchased by the employer), accident insurance that is a part of a larger, family insurance package, travel insurance and more.
13. What is compulsory insurance?
Compulsory insurances are those insurances which are mandatory according to law, such as accident insurance for drivers and vehicle insurance according to the Icelandic Traffic Act.
14. What are pain benefits?
Pain benefits are a fixed amount, paid for each day that you are sick due to an accident. If you are confined to bed as a result of your accident the amount is twice as high as if you were sick without being bedridden.
15. How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation usually depends on your age, your income during the last three years prior to the accident and the percentage of invalidity. Compensation is rarely lower than ISK 1,000,000 and more often several million. When compensation is paid from an accident insurance (for example a family insurance or the insurance of your employer) the amount is usually much lower and depends on the amount specified in the insurance policy’s terms and the percentage of medical invalidity. If the insurance amount is, for example, ISK 7,000,000 for an invalidity percentage of 100% and your invalidity is valuated as 20%, your compensation will be ISK 1,400,000. If you are the victim of assault or a sexual offence the compensation you are entitled to is decided by a court, if the assailant is charged and a settlement is not reached. In those cases compensation usually varies according to the severity of the offence and its consequences. Generally, compensation for harm caused by physical assaults range from ISK 100,000 to 500,000 and compensation for sexual offences range from ISK 300,000 to 2,000,000.
16. How long does it take to have compensation paid?
An invalidity assessment is usually not carried out until at least a year has passed since the accident. This is because your condition has to be stable so an accurate assessment of your permanent damage can be made. It is common for compensation to be paid 2-3 years after the accident. If you delay seeking the assistance of a lawyer it can take even longer and can often be harder to establish the claim and prove your right to compensation.
17. How much do I have to pay my lawyer before the case is started?
In most instances you will not need to pay anything as the attorney’s fee is settled when compensation is paid out. The largest portion of the lawyer’s fee is usually paid by the respective insurance company in case of an accident. A lawyer’s fee when appointed by the court in assault and sexual offence cases is paid by the government.
18. Who evaluates the physical injury caused by an accident?
Usually the injured person’s lawyer and the respective insurance company agree on two assessors, either two doctors or a doctor and a lawyer, who evaluate the damage suffered by the injured person. It is also possible to have the invalidity commission, which operates according to the Act on Torts, evaluate the damage. Yet another possibility, is to have assessors appointed by a court, usually doctors or lawyers, to perform the evaluation. An evaluation of court-appointed assessors usually has more weight than the assessment of the invalidity commission or an evaluation made by assessors that your lawyer and the insurance company agree on.
19. How is compensation for permanent invalidity calculated?
Permanent invalidity is calculated as a product of the percentage of invalidity (for example 10%), your average income for the past three calendar years prior to the accident, and a special index that is provided in the Act on Torts. The index used depends on your age at the time of the accident.
20. How much permanent invalidity have I suffered?
That depends on the results of the invalidity assessment that is usually carried out by two doctors, or a doctor and a lawyer. Permanent consequences of a neck sprain often leads to 5-10% permanent invalidity and 10-30% if further injury is sustained, such as a bad sprain of the back or shoulders. If permanent consequences are more severe the permanent invalidity is higher, for example if you suffer spinal cord injury, lose a limb, lose your sight or suffer reduced mental capacity. Permanent invalidity is evaluated by how much it affects the injured person’s ability to earn income.
21. Does it matter if I was to blame for an accident?
It is a common misconception that people are not entitled to claim compensation if they are to blame for the accident in question, for example, a car crash. Usually this does not matter at all. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may, however, lead to a rejection of a claim for compensation.
23. What is deducted from my compensation?
The following are deducted from compensation for temporary loss of income:
- payment received while on sick leave,
- 60% of payments from pension funds,
- payments from sickness benefit funds,
- daily allowance from Social Security.
The following are deducted from compensation for pain and permanent harm and compensation for permanent invalidity:
- compensation from a driver’s mandatory accident insurance according to the Traffic Act,
- compensation from similar insurance carried by a person who is injured as a passenger in his own vehicle,
- compensation from Employeer’s insurance when a claim is made because of a work-related accident,
- compensation according to the Act on Patients’ Insurance.