In cases of personal injury, attention is often given to medical expenses and loss of earnings, but those who have been seriously injured will generally require help in all areas of their lives.
What is domestic care and assistance?
A claim for domestic care and assistance covers the cost of everyday tasks that an injured person can no longer perform themselves. Domestic care and assistance covers the following tasks:
- Household tasks such as meal preparation, doing the dishes and grocery shopping
- Cleaning tasks like vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms and taking out rubbish
- Household chores including laundry, ironing and changing bed sheets
- Gardening work like mowing, weeding, watering and cleaning windows
- Home maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters, changing light bulbs, cleaning drains and conducting repairs
- Personal care such as helping an injured person in and out of bed, with showering, using the toilet, dressing and changing, hair and body care, personal errands, transport to appointments and changing bandages or cleaning wounds
- Vehicle maintenance including car washing and repairs that the injured person previously did themselves
The tasks covered under domestic care and assistance are broad and decided on a case by case basis. In some cases, care and assistance may extend to dependents of an injured person.
Who can claim domestic care and assistance?
Claims for domestic care and assistance can be made as part of a public liability claim, motor vehicle accident claim, medical negligence claim and as part of some workers compensation claims.
What is meant by ‘paid care’ and ‘gratuitous care’?
Domestic care and assistance in a personal injury claim may be paid care or gratuitous care. When a person pays for domestic care or services such as cleaning, cooking, laundry or gardening this is classified as paid care. If a family member or friend (or any other person) provides such services without payment that is classified as gratuitous care.
In a personal injuries claim if a claim is to be made for care, the care must be reasonable and provided to the person only because of the injury. If the care is provided generally to all members of the household, only that part of the care relating to the injured person can be claimed. Where a claim for care can be made, the care can include the future care needs of the person. If the injured person was already receiving some care prior to the injury but requires increased care as a result of the injury, the injured person can only claim for the additional care required.
Do thresholds apply?
In common law claims if care is paid at commercial rates, the cost of that care can be claimed. Paid care cannot be claimed in a claim for work injury damages.
Gratuitous care is dealt with differently. There is no entitlement to claim for gratuitous care or services in relation to injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents or in claims for work injury damages. Almost all other claims for personal injury will be brought under the Civil Liability Act. The Civil Liability Act specifically provides that a claim can only be made for gratuitous care and services where such care is provided for at least 6 hours per week and for at least 6 consecutive months.
Claims for gratuitous care may be made in limited circumstances where injured workers are covered under the NSW workers compensation legislation. Unlike common law claims where the damages are recovered by the plaintiff, under the workers compensation legislation, the payment for gratuitous care is made to the person providing the care. The injured worker must be assessed as at least 15% whole person impairment and the care must be provided by direction of a medical practitioner. The person providing the care must have foregone employment or earnings in order to receive any payment. Temporary care may be available as part of a treatment plan.
If you have been injured and require domestic care and assistance, speak with the specialist personal injury lawyers at Taylor & Scott Lawyers for advice and assistance when making your claim.
Call today on 1800 600 664 or contact directly through the Taylor & Scott website.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.