*written by Vic Maan, Associate Lawyer at Holness and Small Law Group
If you are injured in an accident, you have the right to sue the negligent (wrongful) party for compensation for your injuries and losses. Examples of losses that are commonly claimed in an ICBC settlements include income loss, future care costs and special damages (reimbursement of your out of pocket expenses).
One type of damage award that is often overlooked and that is less common is the claim for loss of housekeeping / homemaking capacity. This type of damage award takes into consideration an injured claimant’s inability or disability to perform household chores both inside (cleaning, cooking, etc.) and outside (yard work and home maintenance).
An award for past loss of housekeeping capacity takes into consideration the loss from the date of the accident until settlement or trial. Future loss of housekeeping capacity takes into consideration the loss from the date of settlement or trial into the future.
In order to be successful in an ICBC settlement in obtaining compensation for loss of housekeeping capacity, the following are examples of must be proven:
- what duties or chores was the injured claimant was in charge of before the accident
- how many hours per week or per day did the injured claimant spend performing those household chores and duties
- what injuries prevented or limited the injured claimant from performing those household chores and duties after the accident
- what household chores or duties was the injured claimant unable to do because of his or her injuries
- who provided assistance with the household chores and duties after the accident (family member, friend or paid housekeeper) and what chores specifically were performed by that person and how many hours did it take to complete those chores per day or per week
The recent 2020 case of Ali v Stacey 2020 BCSC 465 summarizes the law of loss of housekeeping capacity:
“…a plaintiff’s claim that she should be compensated in connection with household work she can no longer perform should be addressed as follows:
a) The first question is whether the loss should be considered as pecuniary or non-pecuniary. This involves a discretionary assessment of the nature of the loss and how it is most fairly to be compensated; Kim at para. 33.
b) If the plaintiff is paying for services provided by a housekeeper, or family members or friends are providing equivalent services gratuitously, a pecuniary award is usually more appropriate; Riley at para. 101.
c) A pecuniary award for loss of housekeeping capacity is an award for the loss of a capital asset; Kim at para. 31. It may be entirely appropriate to value the loss holistically, and not by mathematical calculation; Kim at para. 44.
d) Where the loss is considered as non-pecuniary, in the absence of special circumstances, it is compensated as a part of a general award of non-pecuniary damages; Riley at para. 102.”
In the recent case of Xu v. Balaski, 2020 BCSC 940, the injured claimant was awarded substantial damages for loss of housekeeping/homemaking capacity because her role in her household before the motor vehicle accident was to perform most, if not all, of the household chores in addition to caring for an elderly parent. The award for loss of housekeeping capacity is broken down as follows:
• Past Loss of Housekeeping: $70,000
• Future Loss of Housekeeping Capacity – House Cleaning: $125,000
• Future Loss of Housekeeping Capacity – Childcare: $375,000
For more information on this issue, see our past blog post on loss of housekeeping capacity for ICBC settlements.
The personal injury lawyers at Holness and Small Law Group collectively have over 45 years of experience prosecuting personal injury claims against ICBC and other insurance companies including obtaining substantial housekeeping/homemaking awards for our clients. If your daily activities/chores have been restricted or limited due to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident or other type of accident, we are pleased to offer a free initial legal consultation.