Part 2: How much is my claim worth? – Care Costs

Ashley Tulley

Chief Commercial Officer

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?

It's a big question. And one that is asked by every claimant we see.

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 before reading this article.

What are care costs?

Care costs relate to an injured party inability to complete daily living tasks.

The idea is the amount of money received under this category 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.

How much can you get for it?

Again, this is dependent on the level of care that is required based on your unique circumstance.

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What factors influence it?

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    The extent of injuries and their lasting impact on your ability to complete daily tasks
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    What daily tasks you completed before the accident
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    The ability to PROVE the above two factors

Example 1 – head-on collision, hard injury, permanent damage

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.

His claim for compensation included daily care to assist him in completing daily tasks. His care cost totalled $2.5 million.

Example 2 – rear-end collision, soft tissue injury

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.

What care is covered?

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    Domestic tasks – including general household chores such as cooking, cleaning, mopping, vacuuming, taking out rubbish, changing bed sheets, laundry, ironing, cleaning windows or mirrors, dusting, scrubbing out bathroom areas, grocery shopping etc.;
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    Personal care tasks - such as helping you out of a chair or bed, or helping you to the toilet, helping you bathe, helping you dress, changing bandages or cleaning wounds, helping with hair care, obtaining your medications or medical aids for you, cutting your toenails or shaving, even providing you with massages to relieve pain etc;
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    Travel tasks – such as driving you to appointments or helping you run personal errands. Even taxi services can be considered paid care where you are unable to drive due to your injuries.
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    Vehicle maintenance tasks - such as cleaning your car, or undertaking your car repairs or maintenance that you did yourself before the accident;
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    Home maintenance - such as cleaning down gutters or eves, washing down walls or outside windows and screens, house repairs and general maintenance to your home such as fixing gates or even changing light bulbs etc, as well as yard maintenance such as mowing the lawn, undertaking the gardening, weeding, whipper snipping, lopping back trees, pruning bushes etc.

Did you know you can also claim for the help your friends and family provide?

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:

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    The care is different from any help previously provided
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    The care was/is provided for at least 6 hours a week and for at least 6 months.

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.

Ashley Tulley

Chief Commercial Officer

What evidence will you need?

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:

  • Tax invoices and receipts for commercial care post accident
  • Quote for commercial care (such as a gardener, cleaner, nanny etc.)
  • Record of help provided by friends and time allocated
  • A medical note from a medical professional on your ability to complete daily tasks
  • Written testimony from friends and family of the hours worked and tasks that were undertaken.

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Keeping a record of care provided since the accident is crucial

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:

  • Type of care (paid or unpaid)
  • The service provider (company or person's name if unpaid)
  • Kind of service provided (i.e. mowing, laundry, cleaning)
  • Date and duration of service
  • Cost of service (if paid)
  • Will the service be required in the future and how often

To help ensure that you keep an accurate record, keep in mind the following helpful tips:

  • Keep receipts for any services that you have paid for;
  • Photocopy or scan those receipts, in case they get lost or destroyed;
  • Consistently fill out the table as each service is provided;
  • Ask the service provider to give you an "Itemised Account" that details the dates and costs of each service when they are performed

No good compensation claim is without Future Economic Loss.

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: How much is my claim worth? – Future Economic Loss
Ashley TulleyCheif Commercial OfficerMost people have heard of personal injury claims but very few would understand what quantum is.…and they[...]
Part 3: How much is my claim worth? – Medical Expenses
Ashley TulleyChief Commercial OfficerMedical Expenses are a crucial part of all claims for compensation. Why? Well apart from the obvious fact[...]
Part 4: How much is my claim worth? – Pain & Suffering
Ashley TulleyChief Commercial OfficerIt is a significant part of a compensation claim.Particularly for those who cannot claim wage losses.For stay[...]

Written by Ashley Tulley | Chief Commercial Officer