Published: 02 June 2023
Author: RCT Injury Law team
Did you know that, in addition to the more well-known types of compensation (such as the cost of treatment and care, pain and suffering damages and compensation for economic loss) which can be claimed in Negligent personal injury claims (excluding workplace injury or road accident claims) you may also be able to claim compensation for unpaid care assistance that you have received and continue to receive as a result of your injuries? This is called gratuitous or attendant care.
It is important to note that you can only claim for this type of compensation for unpaid care. If you have had to pay for care, then this can be claimed separately as a medical expense in your claim.
Care for you
If you have suffered from a personal injury, you may require assistance from family members or friends to look after you or to do various tasks for you that you are unable to do as a result of your injuries. This could include helping you with activities of daily living such as showering, toileting, eating, taking you for appointments, as well as household chores like shopping, cooking, cleaning and gardening, even feeding and looking after your pets.
Care for others
You can also claim for the cost of providing care to others that you are unable to do as a result of your injuries, including looking after your children or other members of your family such as an elderly or disabled relative or other person under your care.
Requirements to Claim
Entitlements to gratuitous care are set out in the Wrongs Act of Victoria 1958 (‘the Act”) which is the legislation which deals with personal injury claims in Victoria.
In order to make a claim for gratuitous care the following requirements must be met:
- there is or was a reasonable need for those services
- the need has arisen solely because of the injury to which the damages relate; and
- the services would not have been provided but for the injury
The Act also provides that the gratuitous care must reach a threshold in order to be claimed, which is either at least 6 hours a week OR for at least 6 months. Once the thresholds are met, then the Act allows for this to be claimed and assessed on a commercial rate, as if they were a paid service.
Evidence of care
While friends and family are often happy to help to look after you after an injury, trying to work out what help they’ve provided and for how long, may not be that straight forward. If this is not given adequate consideration you may lose out on claiming considerable amounts for care that you would otherwise be entitled to.
As such, we recommend that you keep a daily diary or logbook of all the care that you have received, or that has provided to others on your behalf, due to your injuries. It is important to detail dates, the type of care and the amount of time spent on the care. This should be done as soon after the injury as possible in order to provide good evidence of the care claimed and thereby maximize your claim for compensation
It may surprise you how much the hours of care received can add up to!
It is very important to get early legal advice about claiming for this type of compensation, meeting the relevant thresholds and collating the information needed for making a claim.
Please contact Stringer Clark lawyers on 1800 641 743 for a no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers.