If a person is injured by motor vehicle accident, and they require assistance from their family and friends with domestic tasks that they used to complete themselves prior to the injury, then the injured person can usually claim gratuitous services. Like non-pecuniary loss, there is a threshold for gratuitous services of $6000, if this threshold is not exceeded then the injured person will not be able to obtain an award for gratuitous services.
Some tasks for which assistance is required by way of gratuitous assistance include mopping, vacuuming, driving to medical appointments, doing the laundry, hanging out the laundry, making food and going to the toilet.
At first it may seem strange that the injured person can recover the cost of other people helping them as part of their common law claim as they have received the services rather than supplied them, but the availability of gratuitous services as a head of damages in a common law motor vehicle accident claim reflects the fact that damages are supposed to compensate the injured person and put them back in the position they were in prior to the accident.
Example – Gratuitous Services
Margaret is injured in a motor vehicle accident which she breaks her arm. Margaret is a retiree and normally does not work. Normally, Margaret does her own vacuuming and laundry around the house. She also drives herself wherever she needs to go. As a result of the motor vehicle accident Margaret is unable to do these things, and is assisted by her husband Steve. Steve assists Margaret for 7 hours a week for a year. Margaret would be able to claim for the assistance provided by Steve as part of her motor vehicle injury claim.
If an injured person incurs costs due to the motor vehicle accident, then they would be able to claim those cost from the defendant.
Some such claims where an injured person mows the lawn themselves prior to a motor vehicle accident. As a result of the injuries that they suffer as a result of the motor vehicle accident they can no longer mow the lawn, and therefore they need to pay someone else to do so.
In more serious motor vehicle accidents the amount for the carer of the injured person can also be claimed.
Injured people should keep receipts regarding paid services so that they can prove that they intend the expense as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
Example – Paid Services
Tyrone is injured in a motor vehicle accident in which he suffers injuries to his lower back. Prior to the injury, Tyrone mowed his lawn every month. As a result of his accident injuries, Tyrone attends his general practitioner who advises him that he should avoid mowing the lawn given that it flares up his symptoms that he suffered in the motor vehicle accident. Tyrone lives alone, and does not have any family or friends who can help him to mow the lawn. Tyrone pays $40 a month for his lawn to be mowed. Tyrone could claim the sum of $40 a month as a paid service that is required as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
Foyle Legal specialises in the area of personal injury claims and provides no win no fee legal services regarding motor vehicle accident injury claims. If you have made a claim for motor vehicle accident injury compensation you can contact Foyle Legal on 0408727343, by email at [email protected]
or you can visit our website at foylelegal.com.
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