Care costs can be the single most significant component of a claim.
Particularly when the injured party doesn’t work (therefore doesn’t have much income loss) but is seriously injured.
How much is my claim worth?
Unfortunately, the answer is never straightforward – mostly because there are many factors that significantly influence the overall amount awarded.
The amount of compensation that a person receives is known as quantum.
As we learn through this four-part series, there are a number of areas under which you can determine what your quantum is and in turn, discover how much your claim is worth.
The second topic we will be covering is care costs. Be sure to read our first article on future economic loss first.
Care costs relate to an injured party inability to complete daily living tasks.
The idea is the amount of money received under this head of damage will pay for another person to assist with daily living and maintenance tasks.
The care can be provided to you by friends, neighbours or relatives, or you may have engaged paid services to undertake the tasks you could not perform yourself due to your injury.
Legislation in Queensland imposes threshold care requirements in cases of motor accident injury or public liability claims, and there are increased restrictions on care claims when claiming for a work injury.
Again, this is dependent on the level of care that is required based on your unique circumstance.
Jack was an 18-year-old, travelling home from a party late one evening. He hadn’t drunk anything because he had upcoming university exams on Monday.
He was travelling along a main road at 80 km/hr when a car coming in the opposite direction crossed the double line and slammed head-on into Jack.
Jack developed quadriplegia. For the rest of his life, will require assistance with feeding, toileting and bathing. All movement around his house, getting in and out of bed, and any daily errands will need help from another person.
Angie was driving along a suburban street on a Saturday morning. She indicated to turn right onto another road and slowed to a stop to give way to the oncoming traffic.
The car following Angie didn't stop and slammed into the back of Angie's car. As a result, Angie suffered significant whiplash and ongoing pain in her neck and back. Because of this constant pain, Angie struggled to complete tasks that required substantial bending such as cleaning the bathroom, doing her laundry and mowing.
He doctor recommended that she continue avoiding these tasks for a year while she recovered.
Angie’s claim for care totalled $35,000. The money covered the cost of a cleaner and gardener the time her doctor indicated she was unable to complete those tasks.
It’s known as gratuitous care.
Confusing title aside, it relates to any voluntary work of third parties (like your friends, family (including your partner), neighbours, and very kind strangers) who assist you in any of the above tasks.
IMPORTANT: Under legislation in Queensland, a person can only claim for gratuitous care if:
Take for example....
If your mum helped look after your children one day a week while you work, that assistance could not be claimed for after the accident.
However, if she helped out an additional day (over 6 hrs of unpaid work) after the accident and that help continued for six months or more that care can be claimed for.
You will need to prove that you completed the tasks before the accident.
For personal care tasks (such as showering, cleaning your teeth), it’s assumed you would have completed tasks those tasks yourself.
For jobs such as cooking, cleaning, garden care and child care, evidence is needed to show that you were responsible for some or all of these tasks within your household.
Some examples of evidence might include:
Keeping a record of the care and assistance provided to you due to your injuries is very important, as it can mean the difference between having a claim for care and assistance, or not having such a claim at all.
Keep a spreadsheet that details the following:
Like the saying – don’t put all your eggs in one basket - don’t forget to read the rest of the articles in this series on the other areas of compensation available to you.
Part 1 on future economic loss.
Part 3 on medical expenses
Part 4 on pain and suffering.