Care and Assistance for Accident Victims
Injured persons bringing a claim for damages may be able to seek compensation for care and assistance if their injuries mean they require help with such things as domestic tasks, personal care, vehicle maintenance and home maintenance.
This can apply even if those services are provided free of charge.
Under the Civil Liability Act, both paid and gratuitous care and assistance are claimable.
However, the legislation which applies to non-work injuries (including motor vehicle accident claims and public liability claims) has certain thresholds.
For example, an injured person can only claim for gratuitous care or assistance if the need for care has been at least six hours per week over a six-month period.
In practice, consideration of gratuitous services often contributes the largest portion of an award, even if they do not cost the plaintiff a cent.
Gratuitous attendant care services are defined by the Civil Liability Act as services that have been or are to be provided by another person to a claimant for which the claimant has not paid or is not liable to pay.
These services may include travelling to a residence to provide care, spending time with and communicating with the injured person, and taking him or her to medical appointments and shopping.
It does not include hobbies such as caring for pets and gardening for pleasure.
The Court must be satisfied that there is (or was) a reasonable need for the service to be provided; the need has arisen (or arose) solely because of the injury to which the damages relate; and the services would not be (or would not have been) provided to the claimant but for the injury.
A plaintiff may also claim damages in respect of the loss of capacity to continue to provide services to others, such as caring for children.
Paid care will be awarded where it is reasonable to incur and where it is a reasonable amount.
Claimants can also claim out of pocket expenses for items such as home and vehicle modifications and special equipment
It is therefore very important for injured persons to keep a record of the care and assistance they receive following their accident, and a record of any payments made.
If you, your family or friends wish to enquire about a similar circumstance, please email us via our "Ask Us a Question" feature or call 1800 681 211 to speak to one of our specialist compensation lawyers.