The amount awarded for cost of future care can be adjusted up or down to take into account the availability of other benefits. In this Court of Appeal decision the court reaffirms this principle as it relates to the likelihood of continued publicly funded home care from Alberta Health Services (AHS).
The injury claimant was involved in an extremely serious motor vehicle accident on Highway 5 near Kamloops. Her vehicle was struck by an oncoming semi-truck/trailer which had crossed into their lane. Her husband and their two friends were killed in the collision and the claimant suffered major injuries, the most serious of which was to her spinal cord, which has left her paralyzed from the waist down.
The claimants requires 13 hours per day of home care, with incremental increases at ages 64, 70 and 74, at which point she would require 24-hour care. The total present value of this award was $3,135,902
In affirming the reduction of her future homecare by 60% due to her benefits from AHS the Court of Appeal had this to say:

[75]   It is important to prevent double recovery for future care costs where all or some of those costs may be publicly funded. In Krangle, the court deducted from an award for future care costs the value of the services the plaintiff was expected to receive from publicly funded health care but then awarded an amount to reflect the contingency that such benefit would not be available in the future (assessed at 5%). Other cases have made an award for future care costs that took into account the possibility that some of those costs would be provided by public funds: see, for example K.A.K. v. British Columbia, 2011 BCSC 1391 (the award included a 40% contingency that the government would not continue to fund independent living support services); and Ward v. Ward, 2010 ABQB 654 (the award was reduced by 50% of the estimated amount of government funding that was available for persons with disabilities). Warick v. Diwell, 2018 BCCA 53

In this case the trial judge made an award for increased future care costs and then deducted an amount he considered appropriate to reflect the contingency that some of these additional costs would be covered by AHS. The Court of Appeal found that as a whole the trial award was reasonable and fair to both parties.

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

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